Gathering Again during Covid-19

We have been worshipping scattered to our homes for the last couple of months and it has built within us a hunger for gathered worship. There is a special joy in worshipping as God’s gathered people and the Governing council of VCRC feels that time has finally come. So, beginning May 31st, Visalia CRC will gather for worship! Services will be held at 8:00, 9:15, and 10:30 am.

While we are gathering for worship again, we recognize that we do so in the middle of an ongoing pandemic. The virus has not gone away. Visalia and Tulare County both remain hotspots for outbreaks. So, we will gather for worship, but it will not be like in the days before the virus (not yet at least). There will be significant changes to worship here at VCRC in the short term. They are outlined below and we ask that should you decide to gather for worship, honor the guidelines laid out, even if you might think some of the precautions are overzealous and maybe even pointless. They are mere attempts to love our worshipping neighbor.

We also want to point out that though some will gather for worship, we are not ceasing scattered worship. We will be streaming our 9:15 am service live on Sunday mornings. If you do not feel comfortable gathering for worship yet for any reason, please use the livestream option Sunday mornings. Our children’s worship resources and messages will also continue to be made available online.

Please read the guidelines for worship listed below so that you know what to expect should you decided to gather for worship on Sunday and how to do so in ways that we hope will mitigate the potential spread of Covid-19.

Gathered Worship Guidelines

Morning Worship

  • We will be offering 3 Worship services: 8am, 9:15am, 10:30am.
  • The 9:15am worship service will be streamed live.
  • Attendance will be limited to 100 people, per State of California Regulations.
  • Overflow capacity of 30-40 people (if necessary) will be in the Fellowship hall where the service will be streamed to a large screen.
  • If capacity in both the Sanctuary and Fellowship hall is reached, hopeful attendees will be encouraged to come back for the next worship service.
  • Worship will be approximately 45 minutes long allowing time for volunteers to disinfect the pews.
  • Volunteers will be found from those attending each worship service.
  • There will be NO children’s ministries (nursery/children’s worship).

Before Coming to Worship

  • Wash your hands.
  • Use the restroom at home as VCRC restrooms should be used as little as possible.
  • You will be ushered to your seats, as you wait for this please maintain social distancing.
  • We encourage you to bring a mask. We highly recommend use of a mask and if you plan on joining in the singing we require it as singing is found to be worse than cough for spreading germs/virus.

If you or a family member has been sick in the last two weeks we ask that you stay home and enjoy our live-streamed worship services.

No one is immune to Covid-19, though some are at higher risk. Those to whom this pertains we encourage to remain at home and watch our services online. This includes:

  • Those who are immuno-compromised
  • Those with underlying health conditions
  • Our senior members
  • Those who are uncomfortable gathering in groups

What will be different at Worship on Sunday?

  • Doors will be left open the entire service to reduce common contact points
  • Sanitizer will be made available, though we have a limited supply so please consider bringing your own.
  • Seating will skip rows and be limited to 4 people per row allowing for social distancing (families exempt from social distancing).
  • Families should sit together and arrive together.
  • Worship Order handouts will be put on the ends of the pews.
  • Bibles will be removed from the pews so please bring your own. Scripture will be projected on the screen.
  • The offering will be for the general fund (the first week) and bags placed by the door. You may give as you enter or exit worship.
  • The ushers will seat people front to back and dismiss back to front.
  • The service length will be shortened per State recommendations, meaning we will sing fewer songs and the sermon will be shorter.
  • Water fountains will be unavailable, but you may bring your own water.
  • There will be no coffee, cookies or water after the services.
  • When you arrive and leave, please observe social distancing. (No hand shakes, hugs or kisses)
  • At the conclusion of worship we ask that attendees exit directly to the parking lot where social distancing can be observed rather than congregating in the lobby.

We all long to be back at worship and in each other’s homes and giving hugs to friends we miss. These days will return again. Until then know that these worship changes are meant to be a way we can love one another. As the situation in our county changes and the pandemic waxes or wanes the Governing Council will make adjustments to these worship restrictions.  

In Christ,

The Governing Council of Visalia CRC