(Edited December 3, 2020)
Approved by Session December 15, 2020
Central Presbyterian Church, Downingtown seeks to fulfill its mission to worship and serve Jesus Christ even in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Its leaders seek to balance the health and safety of our community with the spiritual needs of our congregation. To do so, the following parameters and protocols have been developed to support previous actions related to the current pandemic taken by the CPC Session in 2020.
Parameters for Opening CPC for In-Building Worship
The Session will consider in-person worship to be a safe possibility when each of the following conditions have been met:
· Chester County has the meets the following metrics for at least 3 consecutive weeks:
o The Incidence Rate for COVID-19 testing is declining and has averaged 8 or fewer cases per 100,000 persons over a three-week period as reported for Chester County by its Health Department
o The Positivity Rate is declining and has averaged under 4% over a three-week period in Chester County as reported by its Health Department.
· Clear communication has been established so that no person in attendance has received a positive COVID-19 test result within 14 days, is showing symptoms of Covid-19, or is an established contact with a person with known Covid-19 exposure.
· A process is in place for maintaining attendance and contact information for every person in should contact tracing need to be implemented
· CPC has a fully-functioning live-streaming (or similar delayed function) capability for worshipers who choose to worship from home
· A plan outlining the logistics for worship is in place (seating, flow patterns for movement, personnel and volunteer needs, signage, hand sanitation stations, screening, etc.)
Please note: all worship leaders on the chancel, as well as the sound board operator, computer/ screens tech, and camera/ streaming personnel must be separated by at least 6 feet.
· A plan outlining the responsibilities for individuals choosing to attend in-person worship is in place (wellness requirement, individual temperature screening, distancing, human contact, masking, etc.)
· A plan for properly maintaining the physical spaces of the church with regard to sanitization is in place (cleaning, sanitizing surfaces, allocating personnel resources, spacing out scheduled usage, user responsibilities, etc.)
The use of the church by committees, ministries and outside users will resume after worship has been resumed and must be done in a manner that is consistent with approved guidelines.
The Session will examine the church’s status with regard to COVID-19 within these parameters at each monthly meeting. As trends might indicate a return to in-person attendance, specific plans will be published by the Session.
Protocols for In Person/In Sanctuary Worship
· Sanctuary capacity is limited to up to 60 people, or less based on current guidelines, people including worship leaders and ushers/greeters.
· Advanced sign ups/ registration is required. An usher or greeter will check worshippers in at the door
o Before sign ups open 5 ushers/ greeters must be secured for the service, in addition to all personnel needed for the service (pastor/worship leader, sound board operator, computer tech)
· Temperature checks will be required for entry to the building. Those with temperatures at or above 100.4 or experiencing Covid-19 symptoms will be sent home.
· Participants will use hand sanitizer upon entering the building.
· All people over 2 years old are to be masked, with mouth and nose covered at all times-- including all worship leaders. Neck gaiters and bandanas are not permitted. Appropriate masks will be available for those who need them. Anyone who does not feel comfortable wearing a mask, or for whom wearing a mask is not medically advisable, should participate virtually.
· There will be no Nursery, Children’s in-worship programming or Worship Bags offered. All children are to stay with their parents.
· There will be no shared microphones
· There will be no live singing, either by congregation or soloists
· Non-wind instrument live music possible by masked players. If done by a group, 6ft distancing required.
· There will be no celebrating communion.
· Baptisms are permitted, with every effort to limit contact and exposure.
· Offering plates will not be passed, but instead place at entrance/exit. Ushers will need to take and place it in the safe.
· Services times will be kept to approximately 30 minutes.
· Ushers will assign seats to family units based on group size. At the conclusion of the service ushers will dismiss worshippers from the pews by rows directly to their vehicles.
· Bathroom use – is discouraged. If necessary, only 1 person/family at a time. When possible, doors should be opened with shoulders/elbows. All surfaces touched should be wiped clean by the user upon leaving. Custodian will deep clean after worship or meeting.
· Funerals and weddings are possible, but only if all parameters and protocols followed regarding capacity, duration, masking, distancing, music, ushers, contact information/attendance, etc.
· The sanctuary will not be used for group gatherings outside of worship. Worship leaders needing to record in the sanctuary will be permitted with advanced scheduling and special cleaning protocols enforced.
Use of CPC building space by CPC small groups
Virtual meetings will continue to be encouraged. However, if groups want to resume meetings in the building once worship has resumed the following conditions will be met:
· Group leader is responsible for keeping attendance/contact information for two weeks in case contact tracing is needed, and for enforcing all protocols regarding mask wearing, social distancing, and applicable policies from resuming in-building worship.
· Rooms to be used – Fellowship Hall (occupancy 30), Youth Room (occupancy 12)
o Time to be limited to 45 minutes
o Only one group per room per day
· Food and drink will not be permitted.
· Custodian will do deep cleaning following CDC recommendations before next group uses space.
· Bathroom use – is discouraged. If necessary, only 1 person/family at a time. Doors should be opened with shoulders/elbows. Surfaces should be wiped clean upon leaving. Custodian will deep clean after meeting.
· Trustees Calendar will be used for all groups meeting, and should be scheduled by email [email protected] The Custodian will be responsible for opening/closing. A schedule will be set for the custodian and groups are asked to schedule within the times
CPC Outdoor Gatherings
Outdoor gatherings continue to be permitted, as per the Pennsylvania Department of Health Guidelines as per, the Outdoor Small Group Gatherings Policy passed by the session on July 7, 2020.
Sunday Morning Outdoor prayer may be cancelled week to week for severe weather or unsafe driving conditions.
In all phases CPC will provide for the worship life and spiritual needs of the congregation through virtual opportunities.
If a staff-member or in-person participant tests positive or is a known-exposure
o A message will be communicated to all in attendance, maintaining the confidentiality of the individual.
o In-person, indoor services will be suspended for 14 days.
o Additional building cleaning/ mitigation will be performed in all affected areas, as per the Department of Health Guidelines
Exceptions to the policy
The CPC Session reserves the right to change or make exceptions to this policy at any time. It will follow any changes to requirements set by the PA Department of Health and the Presbytery of Donegal.
Members of the CPC community who would like to seek a one-time approval for their group or event may ask the Pandemic Response commission of the Session for that approval by emailing [email protected] The request must come in with enough time for the commission to act and possibly refer it to the session at their next stated meeting.