I am writing to you today to share the news that we are reopening the church building for worship on Sunday morning, May 10th. As Governor DeSantis laid out new guidelines for reopening the state, we believe that we can create a clean and healthy environment for us to gather for worship again. Through this letter I will share the measures we are going to take to follow the state guidelines and help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
First, to maintain social distancing we will begin holding two gatherings on Sunday mornings, one at 9:30am and one at 11:00am. Having two gatherings will help us keep the numbers to 50 in the building and less than 25% of our total seating capacity in the room. We have set up 12 tables around the room with appropriate spacing between them to help maintain a 6 ft separation between the tables. On each table you will find your bulletin and your communion for the morning. You can place your Connect Cards and offering in the collection boxes on the back tables on your way out.
Secondly, we will not provide children’s ministry classes at this time. We encourage families with children to join us and we have created bags with coloring pages and activities for all ages as well as a snack for them. We will also continue to post a link to the video curriculum and Parent Cue pages on the website for parents to use at home.
Next, we are putting together a cleaning team that can come in and disinfect the building during the week in preparation for Sunday, as well as a team that will disinfect the tables, chairs, bathrooms, and floors between the two gatherings. We are going to hold off bringing back coffee for the time being to help reduce the ways for any potential spread of the virus. While we cannot guarantee a 100% safe environment, we are working hard to keep the building sanitary and clean while we use it on Sunday mornings.
We are going to hold off the in-person meetings of ministry teams for the summer. As these meetings are meant to be more personal, it would be difficult to have these meetings and keep the social distancing guidelines required by the Governor. We will continue to hold Online Bible Studies on Wednesday night at 7pm. I’d like to invite more people to join and be a part of these times together studying God’s Word, fellowshipping, and praying together.
We will continue to stream the gathering online at 11am for those who are not comfortable returning at this time. We want to encourage those who feel they are at higher risk because of underlying health issues or who feel they fall into the vulnerable people category to stay home and continue worshipping online. We want everyone to feel safe returning to gather together for worship sometime soon but meeting together online is a good option that has served us well the last few weeks also.
Lastly, we want to encourage everyone who returns to follow the Governor’s guidelines and wear a mask in public. While it’s not ideal, it is a good way to help stop the spread of the virus to others or limit us from catching it while out in public.
I need your help as we finalize our plans for reopening the church building for worship. With a restriction of 50 people in the building, we will need commitments from you and your family to know how many will be attending with you and at which time. We don’t want to have to turn anyone away. Please keep in mind that we may need to ask you to fill a lower attended gathering to help us balance out the numbers.
I want to thank you for your prayers for the affected and those who have lost loved ones during this time, for those who have lost their jobs and had to close their businesses, for your prayers for the church family and our ministry in St. Johns County. Without your continued support and prayers, it would have been impossible to continue on during these last 6 weeks.
Please visit https://homeportcc.org/reopening to let us know which gathering you are committing to attending and how many people you plan will join you.
If you have not responded electronically, please call the church office 904-797-8921 to let us know whether you will attend the 9:30am gathering or the 11:00am gathering and how many people will be joining you.
Blessings on you and your family,
Florida Phase 1 Reopening
Beginning Monday, May 4th 2020
- Vulnerable individuals (60+ or previous health conditions) should avoid contact with people outside their home.
- All people should maximize physical distance wherever possible
- Avoid situations where physical distancing is not possible with more than 10 people.
- Face masks are highly recommended when in public.
- Schools will continue distance learning practices.
- Visits to senior living facilities are prohibited.
- Elective Surgeries can resume.
- Restaurants may now offer outdoor seating where 6 feet of space is possible.
- Indoor restaurant seating and retail can have up to 25% capacity.
- No change for Bars, Gyms, and personal services.
- Churches were never ordered closed, per say, but Homeport will operate at 25% capacity at this point, which is about 50 people.
This information comes from the official News4Jax report on the 44 page document detailing the Florida Phase 1 reopening plan. Churches were not specifically mentioned, but were never officially closed, and so should be able to operate at least at the restaurant level of 25% of total occupancy. To see the entire document put out by the state of Florida, please click this link to see the full PDF document: https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/covid19/Safe%20Smart%20Step_Templat4.29%20FINAL.pdf