Cherokee Baptist Association - Centre, Alabama
Cherokee Baptist Association
Tuesday, January 18, 2022

COVID Preparing to Meet in Our Churches Again

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Preparing for What's Next   
A guide for Alabama Baptist Churches
from the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions.

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Notes from Zoom Meeting with pastors and Zoom meetings with State Missionaries and other Directors of Missions from across Alabama.
 --Shared from Assoc Missionaries, complied by Chris Guinn

Before we gather clear and concise information will be needed.  
1. Use your phone tree, group text app, social media, mail outs, and flyers on the door to communicate when and how you will be returning.
2. Post signs about not shaking hands and doing non-contact greetings.  You can promote the hashtag #itsoktosmileandwave #iloveyoutoomuchtohugyou  (maybe even t-shirts for leadership or make them available to everyone with that message.)  Come up with a fun way to greet others in a no-contact way.
3. Talk to your greeters about reminding people to maintain a 6-foot distance from others.
4. Reinforce all the needed information from the pulpit at the beginning of the service.  Say something like I understand that some of you are huggers but it’s not about you, it’s about protecting others.  
3. Tell the congregation through flyers on the doors, email, and social media about how you have prepared the church for their arrival.  Be sure to use the words “clean, safe, and mindful of health needs and issues in preparation for a non-touch experience” or something similar.  Also say that if they are sick, then they should not be present and can join online instead.

Deep clean your entire church.  Consider where germs may be transferred.  Use Lysol, Vinegar, Lysol wipes, or Rubbing alcohol.  Products that are at least 70 percent alcohol will kill the Coronavirus with less potential for damage than bleach.  When using rubbing alcohol, don’t dilute it.  Consumer Reports says rubbing alcohol is safe for all surfaces.  
2. Consider shampooing carpets and cloth pews and clothe covered altars.  Sanitize wood pews surfaces, bathrooms, doorknobs, light switches, and microphones.  
2. Consider enlisting a group of volunteers that will clean before and after each service.
3. Remove songbooks and pew Bibles, they can be breeding grounds for the virus.
4. If you have chairs, then set them up in groups for families and you can move them, so you have the proper distance between them.
5. Pews would need to be taped off so you can maintain the proper distance.

1. Consider keeping an online meeting option for those who are afraid or unable to attend your service in person.  Some have said that they will not offer that live but delayed so people will not just stay home and watch online, and I understand your concern.
2. You can offer multiple services to encourage a greater chance of social distancing.  We are not sure if there will be a number like 50 or less, 100 or less, but we know that they will suggest the 6-foot social distancing.
3. To ensure your services are evenly spread is to have people sign up for a service.  You can use Facebook events and have people mark which event they will attend.
4. You could have one early service for SENIOR Adults & high risk.
5. Consider having one service for families will small children.


1. Restrooms: You must decide whether you will allow bathroom usage at this time.  If you choose to keep your restrooms open be sure to post signs about washing hands in bathrooms with appropriate guidelines to doing so.
2. Do not hand out bulletins.  Either place on the pew or just have your announcements on the screen.
3. It is recommended that we withhold coffee stations and fellowship meals at this time. You can stay attuned to the guidelines to know when is best to reintroduce these services.
4. Display hand sanitizer throughout the church.
5. Supply masks for those without one to increase comfort levels.  Consider having your staff to wear masks so others will be more comfortable to wear one.

1. Provide security and enlist ushers to be both inside and outside greeters.  Instruct them on how to greet post-quarantine: NO hand shaking or hugs.
2. If your bathrooms are open, have greeters monitor the bathrooms to wipe down surfaces after use.
3. Consider a temperature check on all staff and volunteers.
4. Know that some Senior Adults may not be comfortable in volunteering for roles that they have filled in the past.  

Some are considering delaying Sunday School and Small Groups for a few weeks after returning.
1. Consider whether you will have Sunday school or small groups (see previous point).  Make sure you are communicating when these classes will resume.
2. Consider dividing your groups to maintain the social distancing standards if you have small groups.
3. If you do have class, please know you should clean the doorknobs, water fountains, and other high traffic areas in between uses.
4. Pay attention to the preschool and children’s areas.  Consider removing everything nonessential from the room to limit surfaces for potential contamination and do a thorough cleaning in between uses.
5. Have a plan for your leaders and teachers.  Will they discuss what God revealed to them in the quarantine?  
6. If you do not have class, make sure you have provided an outline for your teachers and leaders to continue engagement for your groups.  This is still an excellent time to build classes and community.

1. Have church members enter the building and immediately go into the worship service to be seated.  Celebrate the return!  Hopefully, you have some time to plan a Comeback Service.  Some are even having a Resurrection Sunday since we were not able to gather on Easter Sunday.  
2. Have people from the same household sit together.  Consider spacing out other groups.
3. Change the way you offer communion.  You can order the individual packs for communion; they are about $45 for 250.  You can have the communion packs in the foyer to pick up or have each family to come to the front and be served taking precautions.
4. With social distancing in effect, traditional plans are probably not feasible.  Consider not having a choir for a few weeks.  Have Congregational singing and special Music.
5. Avoid passing microphones on the stage.
6. Continue offering online giving options.  Have stations in the church where people can drop offerings instead of passing a plate.
7. Discuss and make an announcement with how you will do your invitation and how you would like to handle folks who might come to pray in the altar during the service.
8.  Stress to everyone who gets on stage to practice the social distancing unless they are members of the same family.  People need to see that we are practicing what we are asking them to do.
9. Consider dismissing in an orderly way to ensure there is social distancing.  You may dismiss by sides or sections.