How Constance Free Church in Andover, Minnesota Will Conduct Its First In Person Worship Service in the COVID-19 Era

Evangelical Free Churches it appears are preparing to re-open in Minnesota. One of them is Constance Free Church in Andover. They rolled out the plans they have for limited in person worship on June 20, 2020. This post is preserving their announcement. 

“Times of crisis, of disruption or constructive change, are not only predictable, but desirable. They mean growth. Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.”     

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.

Romans 14:20-21 ESV

Merced River in Yosemite National Park 

It appears as if some of the Evangelical Free in the North Central District of Minnesota are moving forward with in person service during the COVID-19 era. An agreement was reached between the Minnesota Governor and some clergy who threatened to open in defiance of the Minnesota government. Church can be such a form of love and understanding for your community (NOT! ) Constance Free Church is led Randy Discher who is the senior pastor. Teaching pastors include Sean McDowell, Greg Atkins and Randy Ahlbrg. This evening on May 28, 2020 Constance Free made an announcement on how they were going to conduct their first in person service. That announcement is published below.


We will be regathering for worship services on

campus beginning June 14 at limited capacity

with new service times:

Traditions:  8:00am

Main Auditorium:  9:30am
(with video overflow in the Community Room)

Main Auditorium:  11:00am
(with video overflow in the Community Room)

VOLUNTEER SUNDAY – JUNE 7

If you would like to help us as we regather for worship services in the weeks ahead, we are asking for adult volunteers to sign up and attend the 9am Service in-person on June 7 for a soft launch and some training afterward. Volunteers must not be in a vulnerable risk category.

During the first stage of opening our building, we will be observing the following measures:

RESERVATIONS

In order to maintain 25% capacity, we will need everyone planning on attending in-person to make a reservation each week. You will be able to reserve your spot on our website and App the Friday before each weekend. (Reservations for June 14 will be available on Friday, June 12, at 8am).

ENTERING AND EXITING

The Main Entrance doors and North Entrance near the back lot will be open on Sundays. All other entrances will be closed. Please arrive no more than 20 minutes before each service to allow for cleaning procedures and best flow for traffic turnaround. Once the Auditorium reaches 250, people will be directed to the video-based overflow in the Community Room. After each service, please exit the building and grounds as quickly as possible.

TOUCHLESS EXPERIENCE

As we reopen, it is our intention to provide a touchless experience. Doors will be propped open and paper communication materials have been removed such as weekend programs and brochures. All-important communication will be available on our website, app and eNews. Instead of passing an offering basket, drop boxes will be available near the doors to the Auditorium and Community Room. Online giving is encouraged. Kiosks, Connection Corner, Guest Services, and classrooms will be closed. Communication Boxes have been removed. There will be no food or beverage service available and drinking fountains will be closed, except for one touchless bottle filling station near Main Entrance doors.

SOCIAL DISTANCING

Participants will need to keep social distance. Smiles and waves are always great ways to greet each other. Basically, “No hugs, handshakes, or hanging out.” Seating will only be available in every other row in the Auditorium and every third row in the Community Room. This will allow us to alternate rows for each service. Participants will need to leave three empty seats between each household. Bathrooms will be limited to 25% capacity at one time. Signs and volunteers will also be in place to help guests maintain distance. Masks are recommended, but not required. We will have a limited number of masks available on-site and encourage people to bring their own from home when possible to help us maintain supply levels.

CLEANING PROCEDURES

There will be numerous sanitization stations located throughout the facility, and hard surfaces in the Community Room and Auditorium will be sanitized before each service. The use of rows will alternate between services, so chairs are only used by a single person each Sunday.

CHILDREN IN SERVICE

If you attend with children, be prepared to keep your kids close to you. The kids’ classrooms and Family/Cry Room will remain closed and they will need to maintain social distancing under your supervision. Kids activity packets will be available to use while at their seats during service. Tablets/phones with headphones are permitted for kids while at their seats during this time.

MID-WEEK PROGRAMMING

During the rest of the week, four gatherings of 10 or less will be permitted on campus at the same time in separate areas of the building. Gatherings will use separate entrance and exit doors as well as restrooms. Spaces will be sanitized before each use. Gatherings where volunteer leaders or the majority of people are in a vulnerable risk category will be requested to refrain from meeting together for the time being. All childcare and kids programming has been suspended.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  1. The church isn’t the Church without you, and we need your help! Sign up for Volunteer Sunday.
  2. Pray for wisdom, clarity, and discernment as we strive to support our whole congregation. Let our actions speak of our love and faith.
  3. Reserve your spot if you plan on physically attending.
  4. Help us follow these guidelines as a way to honor one another above ourselves.

PLEASE STAY HOME AND JOIN US ONLINE IF YOU HAVE:

  • Fever 100+
  • Cough or sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Compromising health issues or are in a vulnerable risk category
  • Experienced any COVID-19 related symptoms in the past 14 days
  • Been in contact with anyone confirmed to have COVID-19 in the past 14 days

ONLINE OPTIONS WILL CONTINUE

We will continue to broadcast our Auditorium Services online Sundays at 9:30am and 11:00am at constancefree.org/live and on Facebook. Services are also archived each Monday on our website for viewing as well. If you aren’t able to gather with us in-person or aren’t comfortable coming back right away, that’s ok. Whether your household chooses to join us online or on campus, you are always a valued part of our Constance community!
Thank you for remaining prayerful, faithful, and flexible in these times. We truly appreciate everyone’s patience, understanding and grace as we navigate as responsibly as we can.

Please Note: There is a possibility of contracting COVID-19 while attending Constance. Constance Free Church is taking necessary steps to reduce the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus and to protect those attending our services. However, we can’t guarantee we are preventing anyone from contracting COVID-19.

 

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