COVID-19: Update on Reopening

COVID-19: Update on Reopening

Dear IPC Members,

These are indeed crazy times. I keep having to remind myself that God is in charge, and this too shall all pass. One day at a time.

Your Staff and Worship Ministry and House & Properties have been meeting and planning extensively for our reopening. There is a subcommittee of H&P that meets (via ZOOM) weekly, reviewing best practices from other churches, government issued mandates and procedures, and medical advice from our own medical profession members. We still do not know for sure when we will be able to open the building for services, classes and other ministries, but we look forward to being able to worship together when the time comes. The consistent advice from medical professionals in our church is that we should not consider gathering in large numbers until there is a steady decline in new COVID cases in Alabama and the community. Cases are still rising as of this date (June 3, 2020). The irony is that many of us that wish the most to gather and see friends and enjoy fellowship, are the most susceptible to catching the virus, with possible dangerous results. So, we are studying the risks and rewards.

When we do come together, for the time being at least, service will be different in order to reduce the risk of exposure. Likely, there will be no congregational singing, books and pew cushions will be removed, no programs will be handed out, and above all, social distancing will be in effect. Elderly and other high-risk members also will be encouraged to stay home and enjoy the live stream.  Hopefully, a vaccine will be developed soon or other positive developments relating to the virus will occur that make these types of precautions short-lived.

As you probably know, day care has been suspended since the pandemic started in mid-March. If the virus was not bad enough, shortly after closing, the nursery and several church offices experienced significant water damage from a broken toilet in March. FYI - the “flood” was all fresh, chlorinated water, but it caused significant sheetrock, carpet and furniture damage. The restoration work will begin very soon thanks to our insurance company and Brasfield & Gorrie, with a likely completion date in August. While this water damage event is unfortunate, we are grateful that it occurred at a time that turned out to be downtime and look forward to reopening with a fresh start!

Overall, we anticipate a gradual phased reopening once the COVID case trends and other indicators improve, beginning with a single worship service, possibly outdoors.  In the interim, we are focused on finding other ways to safely bring our members together.  For example, we recently established guidelines for small group gatherings and activities in designated outdoor areas of the church and the Children’s Fresh Air Farm, as well as guidelines for small, limited attendance wedding and funeral services in the sanctuary.  

We all want to be together as a church, but your safety is a paramount consideration.

More details of a gradual re-opening will be forthcoming. We welcome your thoughts and suggestions.

Thank you for your patience, and your prayers for our church. 

H&P Subcommittee

Mike Graham
Alan Deer
Paul Leaver
Julie Rediker
Dr Steve Hunt
Dr Sean Vanlandingham
Lucy Turner
Bill McKelvey