Contact us My First Pres
Protocol for Resuming In-Person Worship
Revised:  May 6, 2021

The provisions of this protocol are requirements and are implemented to protect the health of all congregants.  Assuring compliance with all provisions of this protocol is the responsibility of all congregants.  Therefore, your attendance at in-person worship services indicates your acceptance of and commitment to comply with all provisions of this protocol. 

  1. SHOULD I COME TO WORSHIP? – No one should come to worship if they are sick, running a fever, or generally not feeling well.  Instead, join us online for the worship service.  See ONLINE WORSHIP below.  Our highest priority is protecting the health of all congregants. 
     
  2. WILL WORSHIP BE THE SAME AS PRE-COVID? – Until we return to normal in Phase 4 of our church’s COVID-19 re-opening plan, our service will feel a little different.  However, the quality of the sermons, music, and other worship elements will remain excellent. 
     
  3. NUMBER OF SERVICES – When in-person worship resumes, there will be only one Sunday service at 10:30 AM. 
     
  4. MAXIMUM SANCTUARY CAPACITY – 50 congregants initially per the requirements of Phase 3 of our re-opening plan.  This total includes 40 worshipers and up to 10 pastors, soloists, ensemble members, musicians, and any support persons such as soundboard operators and ushers.  This capacity limit will be reevaluated regularly by the Session, and the congregation will be notified when the limit is increased. 
     
  5. RSVP PROCESS – In order for everyone to have the opportunity to attend worship, we will use the sign-up website called Realm.  Beginning at 9:00 AM on Monday morning of each week, congregants may use Realm to RSVP for the coming Sunday's worship service by clicking a link on the FPCR website.  If congregants are unable or prefer not to RSVP using the Realm website, reservations may be made by calling Lisa Carter in the church office at 972-235-2316 or by sending Lisa an email at lisa@fpcrichardson.org

    Those submitting RSVPs agree to self-screen (1) at the time the reservation is made and (2) immediately before attending in-person worship.  Also, worshipers agree to notify the church office if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days of attending in-person worship.  We will resume in-person worship on Sunday, May 23 (Pentecost Sunday).  Specific RSVP procedures are as follows:

    For May 23 (Pentecost Sunday) – On Monday, May 17, beginning at 9:00 AM, you may RSVP using Realm, phone call, or email.  Please indicate the exact number of people in your family who will be attending.  Once our maximum of 40 worshiper reservations is reached, a waiting list will be created for additional reservation requests.  If a cancellation is received, the next person on the waiting list will be notified that their RSVP is accepted. 

    For Sundays after May 23) – Beginning on Monday, May 24, congregants who did not attend in-person worship the previous Sunday may begin to RSVP for the upcoming Sunday.  If you attended worship on the previous Sunday, you may not RSVP for the upcoming worship service until Wednesday of the week before the service.  Hopefully, using this RSVP method will give congregants the opportunity to attend in-person worship approximately every other week.  Laurie Wadleigh is our contact person regarding use of Realm for RSVPs. 
     
  6. ARRIVAL FOR WORSHIP SERVICE – You are requested to arrive approximately 20 minutes before the service so that appropriate distancing can be maintained in the parking lot, as you enter the building, proceed through the narthex, sanitize your hands, and take your seat.  Distance markers both outside and inside will aid in maintaining social distancing. 
     
  7. ACCESS TO THE SANCTUARY – The sanctuary will be accessed by two doors only at Entrance A near the porte cochere:  the south doors to the Welcome Center and the south door to the narthex.  The doors will open 20 minutes before the service begins, and you are requested to take your seat upon arrival.  Once seated in the pews, you should remain seated and not move about the sanctuary.  Doors to the sanctuary and doors between the Welcome Center and narthex will be propped open to minimize multiple touching of surfaces. 
     
  8. MASKS – Congregants age 4 and above are required to wear masks that cover both nose and mouth at all times while on church property (both inside and outside).  The only exception is when taking communion elements.  Pastors will be socially distant from other congregants when they speak.  Therefore it is the pastors’ choice whether or not to wear masks when they are speaking.  Extra masks will be available in the narthex for those who need a mask.  Neck gaiters and/or bandanas are not acceptable to use as masks.  Face shields without masks are not acceptable. 
     
  9. BULLETINS – Bulletins will be placed on a stand at the entrance to the sanctuary.  Congregants will pick up bulletins themselves when they enter the sanctuary.  Bulletins will not be distributed by hand by the ushers.  After the service, congregants shall dispose of bulletins in receptacles in the narthex or take the bulletins home for disposal. 
     
  10. COMMUNION – When the Sacrament of Holy Communion is to be celebrated, baskets of prepackaged communion elements will be placed on a stand at the entrances to the sanctuary.  A small number of gluten-free elements will be available.  Congregants will pick up communion elements themselves when they enter the sanctuary.  The elements will not be distributed to congregants by the pastors, serving elders, or ushers.  After the service, congregants shall dispose of used communion element packaging in receptacles in the narthex. 
     
  11. HAND SANITIZER – Dispensers on stands will be available in the narthex for use before entry into the sanctuary.  Congregants are encouraged to use hand sanitizer both upon entry to and exit from the sanctuary. 
     
  12. SEATING – Half of the pews in the sanctuary will be blocked off from use, i.e., every other pew.  Congregants are free to seat themselves in those pews that are available for seating.  We ask that all congregants seat themselves so that they are socially distant from other congregants, i.e., at least 6 feet apart.  Household groups may sit together shoulder to shoulder.  However, household groups must maintain at least 6 feet of space between their group and other groups or individuals. 
     
  13. ATTENDANCE – Ushers will use the RSVP list to record attendance at the worship service.  This process will provide both a headcount of persons in attendance and a list of attendees by name.  Ushers will take the RSVP list to the office at the end of the service. 
     
  14. MUSIC – There will be no choir—only a soloist or a small ensemble.  Singers will be wearing masks while they sing.  Singing by congregants is discouraged but is not forbidden.  Congregants who sing must wear masks while they sing hymns or other sung worship elements.  Hymns will be shortened in length by either selecting short hymns or by singing only one or two verses of a hymn.  Since hymnals and Bibles will be removed from the pews, hymns and scriptures will be printed in the bulletin. 
     
  15. WHEN CONGREGANTS SPEAK IN UNISON – When congregants are speaking in unison, such as for the Call to Worship, Prayer of Confession, Affirmation of Faith, or saying the Lord’s Prayer, masks must be worn. 
     
  16. PASSING OF THE PEACE—When we pass the peace, congregants are to remain at their seating location and wave or use some other non-contact gesture to greet others.  There will be no moving around the sanctuary. 
     
  17. OFFERING – An offering plate will be placed on a stand at the entrance to the sanctuary.  Congregants can place their offerings in the plate as they enter or exit the sanctuary. 
     
  18. USHERS – Ushers will minimize moving around the sanctuary for the protection of all congregants.  However, ushers are there to give directions, answer questions, provide assistance if needed.  Usher duties will also include opening Entrance A doors 20 minutes before the service begins, propping open the doors between Welcome Center and narthex, placing an offering plate on a stand at the center aisle entrance to the sanctuary, recording attendance by name and by headcount using the RSVP list and delivering the list to the office after the service, enforcing the mask and no moving about the sanctuary policies, watching the offering plate throughout the service and delivering the offering to the office safe after the service, and dismissing congregants row by row at the end of the service (beginning at the rear of the sanctuary).  There will be no more than two (2) ushers. 
     
  19. VISITING – There will be no refreshments or beverages in the Welcome Center.  Any informal visiting with friends must be conducted outside the building.  Masks must be worn when visiting outside, and appropriate social distancing shall be maintained outside the building as well as inside. 
     
  20. NURSERY CARE – There will be no nursery care during worship until we move to Phase 4 of our re-opening plan.  Children are allowed to be in the sanctuary with their family. 
     
  21. SUNDAY SCHOOL – Sunday school will continue to be offered online until we move to Phase 4 of our re-opening plan. 
     
  22. RESTROOMS – The only restrooms available for use will be those between the Welcome Center and the entry to the choir room.  No more than three (3) people may be in each restroom at any time.  A sign will be posted on each restroom door that the honor system is in use to limit restroom use to no more than three people at a time. 
     
  23. SANITATION PROCEDURES – Our church is committed to the health and safety of our faith community.  Enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols have been put in place.  The narthex, worship space, and the restrooms are cleaned and sanitized before and after use.  Sanitation procedure details are provided in a separate written plan. 
     
  24. ONLINE WORSHIP – For those who could not RSVP, had schedule conflicts, or preferred to worship online, the service will continue being live-streamed on Facebook Live.  The link to join online will be published each week in the ePress and on the church homepage.  Videos of the service will be available for viewing later on Facebook and YouTube. 
     
  25. QUESTIONS – If you have questions about these procedures, please contact Frank Camp at frankcamp74@gmail.com (214-315-5521 cell) or Shirley Latham at lathamshirley@att.net (214-460-5551 cell). 
Last Published: May 11, 2021 8:07 PM