TRINITY’S PLAN FOR RESTARTING PUBLIC WORSHIP SERVICES
Restrictions have now begun to be lifted for public gatherings. As of Monday, May 4, Phase 1 of Memphis and Shelby County’s plan went into effect. As it relates to church and gathering for worship, we can begin meeting with 25% capacity, closely observing minimum 6-foot social distancing guidelines and gatherers wearing masks.
With that news, Trinity resumed holding public worship services. To comply with guidelines, we need to limit the number of people per service to around 50. In order to accommodate everyone, we will temporarily be having 2 services. The first service will be at 9:15 a.m., the second at 10:30. For now, we will continue not to hold in-person Sunday School/Bible class, choir, small groups, etc.
For the services, in order that we not exceed the number of people in either service who can be safely accommodated with adequate social distancing, we ask that you sign up for which service you intend to attend. You can sign up for service here: Trinity Service Sign up. (This is the updated link for Sunday, May 24th). If you prefer, you may email or call the church office to sign up, as well. Once we reach maximum capacity for a given service, we will be asking anyone wishing to sign up for that service to attend the other.
A few important further notes. First, the guidelines require worshipers wear masks. Please wear a mask to service! If you do not have one, we will try to have a few extra available. This is not optional at this time. … Second, we will continue to livestream the service during the 10:30 time for those who are unable to attend worship or are not comfortable attending yet. This obviously does not replace being gathered with the body of Christ in Church, but it does allow anyone to participate in worship who is not able to come for various reasons. As a reminder, you can go to our Facebook page – TrinityMemphis – to access the service. Also, we will continue to post the worship bulletin and Trinity Today on our website if you would like to use them to follow along with the service. … Third, for at least the first couple of weeks, we will not have Holy Communion. We are taking a measured approach to “reopening.” We plan to include Communion within the next few weeks. In the meantime, the option of scheduling private Communion with Pastor Croom is still available. … Fourth, if you have any symptoms of illness (coughing, trouble breathing, fever, etc.), out of respect for the health of others, we respectfully request that you not attend worship until you are well. … Fifth, if you are a person who is at higher risk to contract Covid-19, such as being immunocompromised, having other respiratory or heart conditions, etc., we encourage you to consider staying home and watching the livestream for your own health and well-being. … Sixth, we request that you maintain the minimum 6-foot distance with others at all times, avoiding shaking hands, hugs, etc. … Seventh, to ensure proper sanitization, the elders will be wiping down pews that are used between services, as well as doorknobs at entry points and the like. … Eighth, we ask that you take your bulletin home with you after the service or place it in the recycle basket on the floor just outside the sanctuary in the narthex. We will not be reusing bulletins for different services. Likewise, if you would please take or dispose of the bulletin yourself, then that will save the elders or ushers from having to handle them after you and dispose of them. … Ninth, for the time being the nursery will remain closed during services. If you need to take a young child out for a few moments, we suggest the fellowship hall. We will also not be making the “busy bags” for young children available for now until we can get a safe and quick disinfecting plan in place for between services.
Here are a few other requests / considerations.
Before Worship Services:
1. Handwashing – We request that everyone be diligent in handwashing, washing hands for a minimum of 20 seconds. This is one of the greatest defenses against the spread of this virus or any other illness. Please wash before and after the service. This obviously includes those who are serving at a given service. Please wash before, during (as necessary), and after the service, and regularly use hand sanitizer when washing is not an option.
2. Again, if you are sick or are someone who is at higher risk if you contract the virus (immunocompromised, respiratory or heart issues, other underlying health issues, etc.), please do not feel guilty about staying home for now. For your own well-being and that of others, we encourage it.
3. Greeters – We will continue to have greeters, mostly elders for the time being. We have, however, requested that our greeters not shake hands or have other physical contact with worshipers as they enter or exit the building.
4. Ushers – Ushers will continue to pass out worship bulletins to people as they enter worship. They will be regularly using hand sanitizer as they do.
During Worship Services:
1. “Social Distancing” – See above.
2. It may be necessary that an elder usher you to a seat if space is not being maximized or used safely. Please do not be surprised if this happens. We will only be using every other pew. Also, we can safely seat 3 individuals per pew when properly spaced out. This does not include families who have already been around one another and do not necessarily need to maintain the 6-foot social distance.
3. Use of Hymnals and Bibles – Handling of hymnals will not be necessary. All hymns will be printed in the worship bulletin for the time being.
4. Offering – Rather than passing the offering plates through the pews during the service, the offering plates will be sitting at the front of the sanctuary, one on the lectern side and one on the pulpit side. You may place your offering in one of the plates prior to the service or after the service. We do also offer an online giving option. This can be accessed through the church’s website at trinitymemphis.org. This is very secure. You may schedule automatic withdrawal or make a one-time offering. You may make donations through a banking account or using a credit or debit card. We ask that people considering giving online, especially during this time when we haven’t been meeting for several weeks and giving may continue to be lower as attendance is likely decreased.
5. Sharing of the Peace – Sharing of the peace is on hold indefinitely.
6. Tissues are supplied in the sanctuary should you need them. Hand sanitizer is available for your use in at least one of the windowsills on each side of the sanctuary and also in the transept area.
1. The pastor will be in his normal place to greet worshipers. If you normally stand in the “receiving line” to greet and be greeted by the pastor, please do not feel obligated during this time. Until the risk is lower, the pastor will greet you verbally but not shake hands or have other contact.
2. Fellowship – We will not provide food for fellowship during this time and ask that before and after services we have limited numbers of people in the fellowship hall at a time to maintain safe distancing.
3. If you attend the 9:15 service, we ask that you exit the building fairly quickly after the service. Worshipers for the 10:30 service will soon be coming in, and we want to try to adhere to capacity guidelines as best as we are able.
4. Again, please take your bulletin home with you or properly dispose of it. Please do not set it with unused bulletins for someone else to possibly use, and don’t leave it in the sanctuary or lying around anywhere that would cause someone else to have to handle it.