Changes We're Making During Covid-19
Dear PassageWay Church Family,
We are very excited to hold our first service in our new building at 715 Grant Street in Blair! It will begin at 10am on Sunday, July 12. It has been such a long time since we have gotten together and we are delighted to swing open the doors and invite you in to celebrate and worship the Lord together.
We understand and appreciate there are many who will choose to refrain from coming on July 12 and in the following weeks due to a desire for continued social distancing. We would encourage you to continue to make your own personal decision about this for you and your family. Please do not feel any pressure from the Elder Board or PassageWay Church to go against yours or your physicians’ health recommendations. We recommend that if you are sick, or have had any symptoms of illness at all, that you continue to watch our services online from your home. If you are in any high risk category, you may consider the same. We have taken steps in recent weeks to ensure that online streaming of services will continue indefinitely on both Facebook and YouTube. We are excited to see you when you are ready.
If you are planning to attend on July 12, we want to help you know what to expect when you arrive. We have a need for expectation-building on two fronts, both with a new property and also for being in compliance with our local directed health measures. We have followed the guidance of expert medical advisories from UNMC and Three Rivers Public Health to thoughtfully prepare for public gatherings again.
There is one entryway for the new parking lot. As parking spots begin to fill up near the building, please be mindful of people walking through the lot. The doors to the building open to what will likely be a high traffic area of the lot and so continuous caution is encouraged, both as you arrive at church as well as when you are leaving. We would encourage anyone who is willing, to please park in the gravel lot to decrease congestion on the hard surface lot. The PassageWay security team will be helping to direct traffic as you navigate the new area.
Going with the current advice of Infectious Disease specialists, we are recommending that all attendees age 2 and over wear face masks. All pastors, staff, elders, and those volunteering are required to wear masks unless they are speaking from the stage, distanced from the seating. Wearing a mask may be uncomfortable, but it is only for a short time frame. Because up to 50% of those who are COVID-infected have no symptoms, simply talking spreads the droplets and a mask helps protect the vulnerable around you. We are going to ask you to set aside your personal feelings about this for the benefit of others. Paul encourages the church in Philippi to “in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Phil 2:3) It is this humility that we all seek to have and call each other to as we come together.
Both the CDC and World Health Organization suggest keeping individuals (or for worship services in Nebraska, family units) at a six-foot distance from one another and reducing the number of people with whom an individual interacts directly. Chairs will be set up for the service with every other row missing to create distancing for the depth of the seating. When a family chooses their seats together in a row, the next family is asked to leave 3 chairs between themselves and the already-seated family. Ushers will help guide this process to lessen congestion during seating. Families are invited to do any visiting outside the building, both before and after the service.
Sunday School & Nursery
At this time, parents will be asked to have their children sit with them during the church service. Sunday School and Nursery are not being offered at this time. It is our goal to serve families with these ministries soon, and we will provide an updated timeline at a later date.
Communion, Coffee, Bulletins & Busy Bags
Currently, there are limitations in what can be handled and passed from person to person. Single-use communion packets have been purchased and will be placed under chairs on the Sundays when communion will be served. The coffee counter and snacks will not be available. If you would like to bring your own coffee, we ask that you lift your mask only momentarily when you drink from it. Bulletins will continue to be emailed prior to the Sunday service. We encourage you to access these on your phone during the service or print them at home. Paper bulletins and additional handouts will not be printed at this time. Busy Bags will also not be available for children at this time.
We love to worship through music and look forward to christening the new facility with the praises of God’s people. We will be making some creative adjustments for the time being so that we can be conscientious of the shared airspace in our service area. It is expected that masks will continue to be worn during singing due to the shared space.
Our new facility will be cleaned weekly prior to Sunday services. All door handles, railings, countertops, and restroom areas will be cleaned at a higher frequency, following protective measures. In our new facility we have available 2 restrooms for men and 2 restrooms for women. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the building and restrooms.
It is a priority to continue to follow our county’s Directed Health Measure guidelines and restrictions to protect our congregation and to be above reproach in the community. Our church staff and elders will continue to monitor the situation and communicate with you as we know of any need for future church calendar revisions or changes to the social distancing guidelines, as we meet in the late summer, fall, and winter.
We greatly appreciate your patience and flexibility as we prepare to start meeting in person again. It is our privilege to be praying for all of you and to be co-laborers with you as God uses all of us to reach our neighborhoods and community with the Gospel. It is our desire and prayer that our weekly checkpoints of Sunday services, either in person or online, are a boost and encouragement to you as you seek to know God and make Him known to those around you.
PassageWay Church Elders - Joel White (Chairman), Tim Brown, Nick Bank, David Oldberg (Vice-Chairman), Curtis Isaacson, & Andy Petersen