Dear Members and Friends of Hammond Presbyterian Church,
We hope that everyone continues to be safe and healthy. As many of you know, Hammond Presbyterian Church has been holding abbreviated services each Sunday in our pavilion. Services have been successful this summer.
The Hammond Presbyterian Church session members have been discussing how and when we will move into the Sanctuary for services. We will have the same restrictions and guidelines to follow inside as we do with our outside service in order to insure everyone stays safe.
The following guidelines continue be:
· A shortened abbreviated service
· No hymnals, no Bibles, no bulletins, no singing, no choir
· A power point projected on a screen will provide service highlights
· Mandatory masks and hand sanitizer will be available if needed
· Music will be played but no singing will take place
· Everyone will sit in the marked pews positioned 6 feet apart (Congregants will be ushered to a marked pew to maintain social distance)
· No collection of offering, but a basket will be available
· Individual prayer requests can be emailed or phoned ahead to Tara for reading at the service
· When exiting the Church, Congregants who are the closest to the back of the church will exit first followed by next row. Conversations between congregants can be held outside of the Sanctuary.
We realize that there are many of our friends and members who are still not ready to return. We respect your personal choices. You return when it’s the right time for you. Your session members continue to be concerned for the health and well-being of our congregation and our community is our primary concern.
Blessings to all,
Members of the Session
Lynn DeCondo, clerk
Rev. Betsy Westman, moderator
(pastor, Theresa Pres. Church)
Ten Best Practices for Doing Church in the Age of COVID-19
Recommendations from the Regional Synod of Albany, March 11, 2020
Here are some recommendations to make worship safer during these days when we are concerned about stopping or slowing the spread of the Coronavirus.
People who have other underlying health issues or are over sixty years of age should consider staying home from worship if there is an active outbreak of Coronavirus in the area.
These are interim guidelines, given the current severity of the situation. Churches may need to reevaluate and cancel worship temporarily if community leaders decide to implement a social distancing policy. Churches may also decide to temporarily cancel children’s programs, even if regular worship continues.
Churches should do their best to provide resources to help people worship at home, including streaming worship services (Facebook live makes this fairly simple), recording sermons or emailing bulletins and sermon notes.
1. Avoid shaking hands, kissing or hugging.
a. Bow or wave to bless one another during the passing of the peace.
b. Worship leaders and pastors should not shake hands with attendees at the start or end of worship.
c. If you do decide to hug or touch somebody, ASK FOR PERMISSION FIRST!
2. Sit, stand and talk at an increased distance from others. CDC recommends 6 feet apart.
3. Worship attendees should not pass offering plates.
a. Ushers should hold plates the entire time, or
b. Put collection receptacles at entrance to the sanctuary, so people can leave their contributions as they enter or leave worship.
c. After worship, counters should not touch their faces and should wash hands after counting the offering.
4. Worship attendees should not pass communion plates.
a. Use bread pre-cut into French fry shaped pieces, or crackers (which are easier to pass).
b. Use juice/wine pre-poured into individual cups.
c. Congregants should come forward and servers should hand them their elements, taking care to not touch hands.
d. Servers should thoroughly cleanse their hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before distributing the elements.
e. Servers should practice distributing elements before worship! Practice will make this change in communion less awkward.
f. Extra care should be taken to sanitize communion cups following worship.
5. If you have more than one worship service on Sunday morning, consider projecting worship music on a screen or inserting hymns in the bulletin, to prevent spreading Coronavirus by hymnbooks.
6. Make hand sanitizer, tissues and trash receptacles (with liners) available in multiple, visible locations throughout the sanctuary.
7. Encourage people to wash their hands. Post reminders over the sinks in the restrooms and kitchen noting that handwashing should be 20 seconds long (a verse or “Amazing Grace”).
8. A host with clean or gloved hands should serve all food at coffee hour.
9. Churches should follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting their buildings, especially worship spaces, kitchens, bathrooms and children’s areas.*
10. Leaders should talk in worship about the above changes, encouraging people to embrace these changes though they might feel unnatural at first. We are taking on these changes to be sure that people are safe and healthy, and because we love one another!
*CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting are here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html
CDC has handouts available on their website, which can be printed and distributed at church. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/factsheets.html
New York State information and updates:
More information and other helpful suggestions can be found in this article on fatihward.org.