COVID-19 Updates

As we navigate the current pandemic, updates regarding in-person gatherings will be posted here. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


CURRENT PRACTICES – 9/15/2021
We will continue to share congregational updates on this page, but in an attempt to clarify our current practices, they will be listed below:
  • Masks are recommended. Extras will be available in the back of our sanctuary.
  • We are now worshiping in-person inside our sanctuary with windows and doors open for ventilation. We have a Zoom option for those who would prefer to worship online. Please contact us for the link to join.
  • Sunday School has resumed. As with worship, masks are recommended and windows and doors will be open for ventilation.
  • Outdoor carry-in lunches are determined month by month. These will be shared on our Events page.

UPDATE – 8/6/2021
Hey all,
I wanted to pass along a COVID-19 update from the Elders:
In light of the rising number of cases, the emergence of the delta variant, and that the CDC has deemed Stark County to have “substantial transmission,” we are recommending the use of masks for Sunday morning worship beginning this Sunday, August 8th.
As we processed this decision, we noted that:
  • We have a large number of children who are unvaccinated
  • Wearing masks will allow us to continue being together in-person and to continue singing
  • Wearing masks will help make others feel more safe and comfortable being together
Once again, we thank you for your continued flexibility, as well as your care for each other, our neighbors, and our city. If you have any questions, please let any of us (Darin, Deb, Kat, Maynard, Nate, Ramona, or Sean) know.
Grace and peace,
Sean
UPDATE – 6/15/2021

Meeting outside has provided unique experiences allowing us to be together in one space. At the same time, meeting outside has presented new challenges:

  • The heat and sun as summer months warm up
  • The pressure of set-up that largely falls to Sean. We’ve needed more volunteers to set-up than we have available. As a small congregation, many people are already volunteering in other ways.
  • The sound system has taken extra effort to incorporate all the elements involved in our service. Now that singing is part of our regular worship service, it has been even more difficult.
  • We lack equipment for setting up for music outdoors (keyboard, screen for song lyrics, extra microphones). There is concern that our current sound system can’t handle additional equipment like a keyboard.

With these added pressures, the Elders team thinks we’re better served by meeting indoors moving forward starting June 20th.

Indoor services will start with windows open, fans on, and seating spaced out (every other pew). For those still feeling vulnerable to Covid, we’ll reserve the rows of chairs on the back wall. While masks are no longer required at church, if you’re more comfortable in one, please feel free to wear it. We will also continue to have Zoom as an option.

We welcome and invite any feedback or suggestions.

– The Elders Team

UPDATE – May 19, 2021

Hey all,

Our Elder team met last week for our regular monthly meeting. We spent some time processing and discerning how to move forward with our plans regarding COVID, especially in light of both Gov. DeWine’s update on May 12th and the CDC’s update on May 13th. Here is our most recent update and how we plan to move forward:
We will continue with our current plans and protocols through the end of May in accordance with Ohio’s current health orders. While the most recent update from Gov. DeWine and the CDC draws distinctions between those who are vaccinated and those who are not, we are choosing not to draw this same distinction recognizing the variety of reasons and factors that go into that decision. 
We will continue to meet outside on the lawn for worship each Sunday as the weather permits. We will move inside our sanctuary for inclement weather. An announcement to move inside will be sent out by email and posted on social media by Saturday at 8pm.
Beginning Sunday, June 6th, as we worship outside:
  • Masks will be optional
  • We will incorporate congregational singing back into our worship gatherings
  • Education Commission will begin offering Children’s Church (singing, crafts, games, lessons) on the first and third Sundays of the month during our worship gatherings for children ages 3 and up (those younger are welcome to join, but will need to be accompanied by an adult). Children, whose parents would like for them to participate, will be dismissed after worship through song to the basketball court area.
    • Children’s Time, as we’ve been doing it, with lessons up front and then the activity kits for the children to take back to their seats, will be offered during our worship gatherings on the off weeks
  • The Toddler Room in the church basement will be open each week for parents who would like to make use of it
    • Please note: We will not have volunteers in there at this time. A parent/adult will need to stay with their child(ren).
In the event of inclement weather, we will move into our sanctuary. As we do so:
  • Masks will be optional
  • We will continue congregational singing
  • Every other row will be open for seating
  • Windows and doors will be open for ventilation
  • The Toddler Room will be open for parents who would like to make use of it
  • Education Commission will offer Children’s Church and Children’s Time for the same age groups on the same rotation
As always, we will continue to have a Zoom option for both worship inside and outside.
While we are so grateful to be taking steps back to “normalcy,” we also recognize that all of us are experiencing this differently. We continue to graciously ask for your patience and understanding, recognizing that we are all in different places and that we are all continuing to process and respond to the challenges and difficulties of this past year in our own unique ways. Thank you for all of the ways that you have embodied this over the course of this past year!
If you have any questions, concerns, or just need to process these changes, both within our church and in our day to day lives, please do not hesitate to reach out to myself or one of our Elders – Nate Hand, Kat Gritter, Maynard Hershberger, Deb Miller, and Darin and Ramona Nissley.
Grace and peace,
Sean 
—-
UPDATE – March 6, 2021
I wanted to pass along an update from the Elders regarding in-person worship gatherings.
This year we will be celebrating the Resurrection together in-person! Beginning on Easter Sunday, April 4th, we will begin worshiping together in-person once again. We will do so each week at 10:30am outside on the lot across the street from the church building and will move into the sanctuary for inclement weather. If we move inside, we will send out an email and post on social media by 8pm on Saturday. Likewise, we will have the windows open to help with ventilation and airflow, so please dress accordingly.
For the time being, we will continue with the current format and structure of our service (reflections rather than corporate singing).
We will continue to have a Zoom option for those who prefer to worship with us in that way.
Much like when we gathered in the summer and fall, please:
  • Wear a mask
  • Keep distance
  • Bring your own seating
For those joining us in-person, it will be so good to worship together in-person again with you. For those joining us on Zoom, we continue to look forward and pray for the day when we can worship together in-person again with you. And, in the meantime, we are so grateful for the gift of technology.
Friends, this past year has been a difficult one. However, I am so incredibly grateful for your flexibility and understanding as we have attempted to pivot and make decisions that help us best love and care for our neighbors and community. Thank you.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of our Elders or myself.
Grace and peace,
Sean
—-
UPDATE – November 20, 2020
An update on the in-person option for our worship services – Beginning this Sunday, November 22nd, our worship services will be online only [on Zoom] for the foreseeable future, while we continue to evaluate as things progress.
The Elders came to this decision due to a revised order on mass gatherings that was issued from our state this past week limiting group sizes to 10 or less. Likewise, the Canton Repository published an article stating that our local hospital are currently at 90% capacity. Given these two realities, plus the increased number of cases in our state, we feel this is the most responsible, safest, and best way for us to love our neighbors.
While we will certainly miss seeing one another in-person for the time being, we are grateful for the continued opportunity to gather and to be together online.
I’m grateful for you all and am looking forward to worshiping with you all on Zoom this Sunday.
Grace and peace,
Sean
——
UPDATE – October 29, 2020:
In light of the cooler temperatures, the in-person option for our worship service will be moving inside our sanctuary full-time starting this Sunday, November 1st. As we move our in-person option inside, please remember our health and safety guidelines:
  • Masks (extras will be available)
  • Social Distancing (Every other pew will be open. Please maintain social distancing between households in the same pew.)
  • Hand sanitizer will be available

Likewise, please remember to dress for the weather as the windows will be open to help with airflow and ventilation. We will plan to have the furnace running during our service, but we still suggest dressing warm.

As always, we appreciate your continued flexibility. Please let any of our Elders or myself know if you have any questions. Thanks!

Grace and peace,

Sean

—————–

UPDATE – September 10, 2020:
Beginning this Sunday, September 13th, we will decide week-to-week whether we will be gathering in-person outside or in the sanctuary. This decision will be made by 8pm Saturday evening and will be sent out by email and posted on the church Facebook page. We will still have a Zoom option for those who choose to utilize that.

As we begin to gather in the sanctuary, we will continue to use the health and safety guidelines that we have been using while gathering outside:

  • Masks (extras will be available)
  • Social Distancing (Every other pew will be open. Please maintain social distancing between households in the same pew. The Lighthouse will be open for additional seating as needed with the Zoom feed projected.)
  • Hand sanitizer will be available
  • Same order of service (continuing with reflections instead of congregational singing)

High touch surfaces will be sanitized in between any other uses of the building and our service on Sunday mornings.

For those who will be gathering with us in the sanctuary, we encourage you to dress for the weather. We will have the windows open (and, as necessary, the furnace running) to help with ventilation and airflow.

Thank you again for your continued flexibility throughout this season. We are grateful to continue to have an option to gather in-person for those choosing to do so as we head into the fall. If you have any questions, please let an of our Elders or myself know. Thanks!

Grace and peace,

Sean

QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR COVID-19 UPDATES?

Would you like additional information about how we are addressing the global pandemic? Feel free to send us a message. We’d be happy to answer!