See below for an update from Pastor Steve on behalf of the Board of Elders
Updated July 7, 2020
June 15, 2020
Dear Gateway family,
A week ago, I wrote to give you a preliminary idea regarding our plans to re-open in-person services in our church building when permitted. Since then, the province announced that it is permitting places of worship to meet at 30% capacity and Haldimand County has entered Stage 2 of the provincial plan. Since our priority is the safety of our church family and community, we are delaying our re-opening. We want to ensure that we can safely open, that the building is ready and that our staff and volunteers are prepared. If all goes as planned, we hope to officially open on Sunday, June 28, with two services at 9 and 11 am.
Before this official opening, we will be holding one (all video) in-person practice service at Gateway on Sunday June 21st at 10 am with 50 congregants who are willing to critique our practices and who are willing to respond to questions from other people in our Gateway family. If you wish to participate in this practice service, please contact Jenny (firstname.lastname@example.org).
When we open, you will notice a number of changes. Please note that our plans will evolve as new regulations and protocols emerge. We ask you to please pray for us and remain flexible as we work out these details. At this time, our plan for reopening is as follows:
1. Maximum Numbers: We interpret the provincial limitation to mean that a maximum of 115 people, including volunteers, will be allowed in the building at a time. For the first few weeks, as we learn how to provide services safely, we will be setting the number lower than permitted.
We ask everyone to pre-register for the service that you will attend so that you will be confident that there will be a seat available when you arrive.
If your preferred service is full, we ask that you choose a different service or join us online. Registration details will soon be available on our website.
We have heard some questions about how we will receive those who show up without registering. Please be assured that our staff and volunteers will manage this challenge with as much grace and gentleness as possible.
2. Online Services: We will continue to provide Gateway Kids ministry online and our services will continue to be available on Facebook and YouTube.
3. Personal Safety: We will be excited to welcome you back into the building. However, we want to ensure that everyone is as safe as possible and that they feel safe.
Consequently, we urge you to stay at home if you are not well, if you are in a vulnerable category, if you have been recently exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with the virus or if you do not feel comfortable attending public gatherings at this time.
We want our Gateway family to know that we have assured our staff and volunteers that no one should feel any obligation, for any reason, to attend in-person services.
4. Best Practices: When you arrive, in addition to a warm “socially distanced” welcome, we will:
Open the doors for you as you arrive and seat you on the side of the auditorium that you choose as you enter. Congregants will be encouraged to use the available hand sanitizer.
Suggest, for now, that congregants wear a mask as they enter and exit the building. Masks can be taken off during the service.
Ask that you keep your household group together and that you maintain at least 2 meters between each group. (You may need to stand in line outside for a few minutes so that we can seat people safely.)
Request that our gathering be as “touchless” as possible: there be no handshakes, hugs or other physical contact with people outside your household group.
Help you be seated from front to back so that we can use our seating most efficiently and to reduce the need for you to step past people who are already seated.
Use every second row and request that four seats be left empty between each household group sharing the same row.
- Ask that you bring your own coffee and Bible and that you read our newsletters online.
Lead musical worship by video and not yet in person. Due to government regulations, we will not be singing out loud at thus time.
Request that you remain in your seat during the service and use the washrooms only if necessary. Hallway washroom doors will be open and we ask that only one person use a washroom at a time. Washrooms will be professionally cleaned throughout the morning.
Empty the auditorium from the back to the front. You will be asked to leave the building directly and to maintain physical distancing from other household groups as you leave. Currently, the government permits socially distanced gatherings of no more than ten people. To ensure a smooth flow of congregants entering and exiting the building, we request that such gatherings before and after our services would only take place on the grass.
Sanitize the used rows between services by professional cleaners and use the alternate rows in the next service. All other surfaces that may be touched will be regularly and professionally sanitized.
5. Gateway Kids: Parents please note that, while children are very welcome to attend our services with their parents, there will be no in-person kids programs provided during this interim period. Online kids ministries will remain and we encourage you to continue leading your children in spiritual growth.
If you choose to attend with children, we ask you to please keep your children with you at all times.
6. Giving to the Lord: In addition to online giving, e-transfers and preauthorized giving, our Gateway family will be able to bring an offering to weekend services.
Instead of passing the offering bags, you will be able to place your offering in the box provided near the entrance as you arrive or leave.
In this particular season of our church life, we ask you to please extend grace to others and pray that our church leadership will have wisdom as we navigate unknown territory. May Romans 12:12 be our guide:
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
If you have questions, or suggestions, please let me know. In the meantime, let’s meet in person or online!
On behalf of the Board of Elders
Sunday, June 28 from 7:30-9:00pm on Zoom
During the summer months:
In-person Sunday services at 9am and 11am
Online premieres will now begin at 9am.
JOIN A GROUP!
Small groups are where you can begin to grow in relationships, life, and faith. Investing in others and having them invest in you is not only impactful, but is faith-building and can be life-changing!
This is a great opportunity for prayer, Bible study, and support over Zoom!
WEEKLY PRAYER MEETINGS
This one-hour meeting is hosted by Pastor Steve from 6:30-7:30 pm on Thursday evenings using Zoom. We will be moving from meeting every week to meeting every month during the summer. The last weekly meeting date is Thursday, June 18.
There will be one monthly Pray First meeting in July and one in August
(dates to come!)
We invite you to join us for the Pray First meeting and stay afterwards if you would like to receive prayer.
This one-hour meeting will take place from 8-9am on Sunday mornings using Zoom. All are welcome to attend!
We invite you to join us for Pre-service prayer and stay afterwards if you would like to receive prayer.