COVID-19 WORSHIP PROTOCOLS
When reading over the following requirements, please remember that they have been put in place to keep you and your family safe. We love you and want you to be well. This is a terrible disease, and even a mild case can leave a person with other health issues, such as heart disease. IF YOU ARE ILL OR BELIEVE THAT YOU OR A FAMILY MEMBER MAY HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO COVID-19, PLEASE STAY HOME AND SELF-QUARANTINE FOR AT LEAST 14 DAYS. Click here to visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website for information.
1) You are encouraged to arrive at church at least ten minutes before the service starts in order to have your temperature taken and to be sure of finding a seat. Before exiting your car, if you haven't already put on your mask, please do so. (Don't feel guilty if you decide that, due to your risk factors, you should not attend in-person worship.)
2) Only the front door (southeast side, under the canopy, facing 160th Street) will be open from the outside. All entries and exits will take place there. Be prepared to walk around the church if you park in the west or north parking lot. Please leave the east side parking spaces for those who physically need to be closer to the entry. Please note: If you are a church officer and have a key to the church, on Sunday morning or when attending any other scheduled service, please do not let yourself into the church via a west side entrance using your key. Everyone attending services is required to use the southeast entrance and have their temperature taken.
3) The Sacristy is closed to everyone except Pastor, the altar guild chairperson, and the custodian and her assistant.
4) Your temperature will be taken by an usher with a touchless thermometer at the front door; if it is 99.5 or higher, you will be asked to return home and monitor your health.
5) Everyone must wear a mask while on church property; the only time masks will be lowered is to take Holy Communion. Please keep your mask over your nose. It does no good to wear one if your nose is uncovered.
6) You are encouraged to bring disposable gloves.
7) You are encouraged to bring your own hand sanitizer.
8) Physical distance of at least 6 feet must be maintained at all times, including in the pews occupied by non family members. There will be no handshaking or other physical contact. (We will miss passing the Peace, but we can still do so in our hearts.)
9) Service bulletins will be available, but you can also download the bulletin on your smart phone or pad, which is encouraged.
10) Please don’t linger/gather to visit in the narthex upon arrival or departure.
11) Every other pew will be blocked off. Please do not remove the barricade.
12) Family households will sit together; with a family of 5 or more, that will take up an entire pew.
13) We request that you continue to mail in or electronically transfer your offering; there will be a receptacle in the narthex to receive your mission offering (loose currency) and offering envelope, should you choose to use it. Please do not try to physically hand your offering off to anyone.
14) Singing and talking at full volume tends to spread particles farther; therefore, the liturgy will be spoken. Please make any responses quietly.
15) If the service includes a hymn, please sing very softly behind your mask; don't project your voice.
16) The "cry room" will not be available.
17) As you depart the service, you're welcome to recycle your service bulletin in the bin provided, as usual.
18) There will be no coffee hour and the lower level of the church will be closed and off limits.
19) One bathroom will be available on the east side of the narthex. The bathroom will be sanitized before each service, but we ask that each person who uses the bathroom wipe down the taps and sink, toilet seat, and handle before you use the facilities. That way you will know they have been sanitized for your use. (Wipes will be supplied.) We are trying to keep the service streamlined, which should not only minimize contact with one another, but also perhaps minimize people's need for the bathroom.
20) No baptisms, confirmations, weddings, or other rites will be celebrated at this time. We will reassess when Phase V reopening is underway.
Holy Communion is very important at MLC; sadly, we will not be able to resume our beloved tradition of kneeling at the altar in tables of twelve or so and receiving the bread in hand or mouth and drinking from the Chalice (Common Cup). But we will still be together, and partaking of the Body and Blood of our Lord each Sunday.
1) Pastor will preside at the portable altar in the front of the Nave laid with pre-packaged, self-contained elements of wine and a small wafer from World Communion Cups.
3) You will be invited to come forward to help yourself to the consecrated bread and wine. Please process up the center aisle, keeping at least six feet between you and other communicants, and return to your pew via the appropriate side aisle.
a. We ask that one family member come up to get Communion elements for each member of your family. Please take what you touch, and only touch what you take.
4) Do not open your bread and wine and partake until everyone has gotten their bread and wine and returned to their seats. After everyone has been served, Pastor will say, "Take and eat the body of Christ, given for you." Open your bread, cross yourself, as usual, and eat. Then Pastor will say, "Take and drink the blood of Christ, shed for you." Open your wine, cross yourself as usual, and drink.
5) Please hold on to your empty plastic "glass" and the lift off seals. A plastic bin will be available in the narthex for you to drop them in on the way out.