I know we are all feeling a loss of connection to our beloved AHCC community of faith, and AHCC staff and leadership have been working on ways we can be together safely. This has not been an easy process to manage and I am grateful to the staff and lay leaders who have help guide and inform me. Friends, there will always be differing opinions on how I/we are handling the pandemic; some have let me know that they believe I waited too long to come to this decision, others I know will be confused as to why we are even considering in-person worship at this time. For me, leadership is about “minding the gap” as they say in the UK. It’s about standing in the tension, listening with both ears as well as with my heart – and then making decisions based on what I believe to be in the best interest of this community. With that in mind, I share with you a plan for Sunday worship at Asylum Hill Congregational Church beginning November 1, 2020. Registration required.
9:00-10:00am - Live-Stream Worship Service from the Sanctuary
10:30-11:05am - Indoor/In-person Worship Service in the Sanctuary (also live-streamed)
- Maximum capacity = 150 (including worship leaders & Welcome Team)
- All who plan to attend worship will be required to sign up/register ahead of time (for contract tracing)
- Registration will occur each week beginning on Monday morning and “close” on Friday at noon, or when capacity is reached
- Your registration will be confirmed by the Welcome Team when you arrive on Sunday morning
- All worship attendees will enter and exit the sanctuary through the blue doors on Asylum Avenue beginning at 10:15am.
- Worship attendees must be seated by a member of the Welcome Team
- Service length: 30-35 minutes
- One member of the clergy team will be present each week
- Music: instrumental or pre-recorded vocals
- There will be no bulletins, Bibles, or hymnals available
- Bathroom facilities will not be available
- There will not be space available for fellowship and/or socializing (traditional Coffee Hour) following worship
- We respectfully request that all refrain from hugging and/or shaking hands
- Temperature checks will be taken before entering the sanctuary
- Upon entry, hand sanitizer will be available and encouraged
- Masks will be required for the duration of the service
- Social distancing will be maintained (6ft minimum – pews will be roped off)
- Side aisle windows will remain open regardless of the temperature (so everyone needs to dress appropriately)
- Medical grade filtration units are installed throughout the sanctuary
- Sanctuary will be cleaned during the week
- Signage is in place to clearly identify available seating, entry, exit.
- Please stay at home if you or anyone in your household:
o is not feeling 100% healthy; always err on the side of caution
o has any of the following symptoms: fever/chills, cough, sore throat, body aches
o has come in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous 2 weeks
- Commandment 11: Notify the church immediately if you experience symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 within five days of being at church
Notes to the Body of Christ
1. Our collective theological calling is to protect the most vulnerable among us. By following these safety protocols, we are making real Christ’s mandate of love for one another during these days of uncertainty. Let us think of these actions (like temperature checks and mask wearing) as tangible and holy activities that protect people in our church family whom we love and cherish.
2. We want to be extremely clear and honest with you: Should the situation at AHCC, in Hartford or in Connecticut change, this plan will be amended to adhere to safety guidelines which may include going back to online worship only. Since March we have had to continuously adapt to this ever-changing environment and we will continue in this way, while being as transparent as possible in our decision making.