Update: Limited Seating Services
Beckwith Baptist Church is back to having live services, but due to provincial restrictions, we are having to change things up a bit. Please read carefully and generously as we’re trying hard to accommodate, protect, and serve everyone while staying within government regulations and using a healthy dose of common sense. This is, of course, going to be temporary until the next “stage” and then we’ll have to try to figure it all out again. So, here’s what we came up with as far as the ReOpening plan. I‘m afraid it‘s not in any particular order:
Sunday School: We won’t be having Sunday School for a while. Keeping children safe is a big priority for us and we feel that the best way at this point is for them to stay with their families during the service. We hope to start up Sunday School soon though.
Seating & Marked Pews: The maximum occupancy of our sanctuary is 70, therefore 30% is 21 people allowed in at once especially with trying to keep the “family bubbles” properly “socially distanced”. We’ve done some math and tried to take the “family bubbles” and distances into consideration, so when you arrive you’ll see a bunch of cushions and tape on the pews. Please sit on the cushions and avoid the tape. The idea is to let people sit in their usual spots while keeping 6 feet apart. That was a fun discussion… we did our best.
Attendance: Some people have said they need to stay home, for now, while others are looking forward to coming and even that they want to bring friends. So, if we get more than 21 people who want to come, we have an “Upstairs Overflow” where the service will be shown on video.
Bathrooms: The bathrooms will be open, but we’re encouraging folks not to use them unless it’s urgent. If you do need them, you’ll see some disinfectant wipes and instructions on the wall for what to do.
Sanitization: We’ve asked the custodian to sanitize the church on Saturdays. That way everything is safe and clean when people come. The “experts” say that the virus dies on a surface without a host after a day, so sanitizing on Saturday and having the week between services should make things pretty safe. If we end up having to go to two back-to-back services, then we’ll have to figure something out. Maybe a quick Lysol wipe of the pews in between? As I said, there are lots of details to work out. We’re doing our best. Any helpful volunteers would be appreciated.
Evenings and Events: We’re not going to have any evening services, bible studies, or outside groups using the church. It’s just going to be Sunday mornings for now.
Service & Singing: What will the service look like? Very much like it did on the streaming video. It hurts me to say this, but we (and various “experts”) don’t think it’s a good idea to sing right now. ☹ So Pastor Al will do the whole service himself and we’ll have a couple of selections of “canned” music play during the service. We’ll figure out how to start singing once Ontario gets into further “stages”. Why not have Pastor Al sing solos live or with one other person accompanying? Honestly, I don’t think it’s fair or right. The whole point of congregational singing is for us to sing together and I want to wait until we can do that. I hope you understand.
Entrance & Exit: Right now we think the best thing to do is for everyone to enter through the sanctuary doors and exit through the door by the stairs. We’ll post signs. We’re going to keep the side entrance door locked to ensure one entrance and one exit (unless someone needs to get in via the ramp). We’re also going to be posting someone at the door (Susan) who will ask you a couple of health questions, offer you some sanitizer, and have a pile of masks for folks who would like one.
Masks: We’re not required (or requiring) to wear masks, but if it makes you more comfortable then please feel free to wear them. If you don’t have one, we’ll have one at the door for you.
Post-Service Chats: We’re not going to have Overtime, Coffee Time, or anything in the Fellowship Hall after service for a while, but we do encourage people to hang out in the parking lot and talk in groups of up to 10 people while practicing social distancing. I certainly hope we can get back to normal soon, but we think it’s best to do that for a while.
Tithing: We can’t “pass the plate” right now, so we’re going to encourage people to keep giving electronically. For those who don’t want to do that we’ll have a “Tithe Box” set up. The counters are going to be given sanitizer, gloves, etc. to keep them safe while handling any money, cheques, and envelopes. But giving electronically would be best right now.
YouTube Streaming: We’re working hard to have the service available to stream live on Sunday mornings through YouTube for those who want/need to stay home. We’re 99% sure we’ve got it figured out, but you all know how it goes with computers. Please be patient with us.
COVID-19 Testing: We’re still chewing on the idea of the necessity of getting tested for COVID-19. I have been practicing social distancing and have never had a single symptom, so I figure I’m safe -- but I’m still thinking and praying about testing. If I feel convicted (or enough people pressure me into doing it!) I’ll go get tested. If you want to go get tested just to make doubly-sure you’re good to attend, then we leave that up to you.
Well, that’s the list of things we think you need to know. Feel free to ask any questions and we'll do our best to answer. Thanks for taking the time to read it and for being flexible and patient as we try to navigate this “new normal” for a while. I very much look forward to seeing you face-to-face!
(with the "ReOpen BBC Team)