College Hill Presbyterian Church’s Mission

College Hill Presbyterian Church exists to glorify God by making, maturing, and mobilizing disciples of Jesus Christ our Lord who advance the Great Commission in our community, University, and around the world.
 
 
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COVID-19 PROTOCOL
 

Announcement of Re-Opening CHPC for In-Person Worship

 

Dear College Hill Family,

It is my pleasure to inform you that, after lengthy consideration and deliberation the elders, with input from deacons, congregants, the CDC, MSDH, Gov. Reeves’ office, city and county government, the PCA, and other churches and denominations, have decided that we will resume in-person worship on Sunday June 7, 2020. As you might suspect, and as we have indicated in previous communications, our gathered worship will look, sound, and feel very different than it did the last time we were together. As we look forward to reconvening, we wanted to communicate the steps we are taking to ensure the cleanliness of our facilities as well as the logistics involved in returning to worship.

As it relates to our facilities:

  • The church will be deep-cleaned and disinfected, sanitizing pews, chairs, bathrooms, doorknobs, light switches, etc., according to CDC guidelines.
  • Bibles, hymnals, information cards, and pencils will be removed from the sanctuary.
  • Bulletins will be placed in pews or chairs by one person prior to the worship service.
  • Signs will be displayed at each entrance discouraging entry by any who:
    • Have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
    • Are experiencing cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat.
    • Have had a fever in the last 48 hours.
    • Have had new loss of taste or smell.
    • Have had vomiting or diarrhea in the last 24 hours.
    • Offering plates will not be passed, but receptacles will be available into which people may place their tithes and offerings. The option of online giving will also be maintained for the foreseeable future.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available at each entrance.

 

As it relates to Sunday morning logistics:
  • For now, corporate worship will be the only activity held at College Hill on Sunday morning (no Sunday school, youth, or children’s programming).
  • No nursery or childcare will be available (though the nursery building will be open for emergencies).
  • Every other pew will be cordoned off and a social distance of 6 feet will be encouraged between families (no handshaking, hugging, etc.).
  • Face coverings are strongly encouraged except for children under two years of age.
  • Two worship services will be held: one at 9:00 AM, one at 10:30 AM. Based on the response we have received so far,
    • Last names A-L should plan to attend the 9:00 AM service;
    • Last names M-Z should plan to attend the 10:30 AM service.
  • Congregational singing will be significantly reduced, though not omitted.
  • Audio (and potentially video) of the worship service will be made available online.
  • Worshipers are encouraged to use the restroom prior to arrival so as to minimize unnecessary traffic and congregating.

Undoubtedly, some of the above will raise questions. I’ll try to answer some of those here. Please feel free to direct any others to your elders.

 

Concerning the two services, based on the response we have received thus far, roughly 100 people have indicated that they would attend worship. Strictly speaking, that would put us below 50% capacity. However, restricted seating and social distancing guidelines would be impossible to maintain. For example, someone worshiping alone will need an entire pew to themselves in order to maintain 6 feet of social distance. Thus, the two services best enable us to accommodate those who want to worship in-person as well as any potential guests. Also, the A-L, M-Z division (currently) gets us closest to an even distribution of worshipers.

Concerning the wearing of masks, we are well aware that opinions vary widely as to their effectiveness, etc. That said, the CDC currently asks gatherings such as ours to encourage them which is why we are. They also afford peace of mind to some. This is an area where Christians should consider a passage like Romans 14-15:7 and, specifically, our obligation to “walk in love” and “not to please ourselves” but “please our neighbor”.

Concerning those who wish to delay their return to worship, we completely understand and respect your decision. We do not want to bind anyone’s conscience in any way, acknowledging our Christian liberty to hold a variety of views on this issue. We love you, miss you, and will look forward to seeing you in person as soon as you are comfortable returning.

In conclusion, we all wish that worship would resume on June 7, 2020 looking, sounding, and feeling exactly as it did the last time we were together. However, at this time, that does not seem like the most prudent course of action. The plan outlined above seems to us the best way to balance compliance with governmental guidelines, concern for our community and our reputation within it, and our deep desire to no longer neglect to meet together (Hebrews 10:25). It is a plan that will be regularly re-evaluated as time goes on and, as circumstances change, so will the plan. Again, should  you have any questions, please do not hesitate to direct them to the elders.

We have sorely missed being with you in corporate worship, thank God that we will get to be together soon, and look forward to seeing many of you on that day!

Yours in Christ,

Justin (for the Session) 

 
 
 
 
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