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What will worship look like?

What will worship look like?

I know you are eager to get back to worship soon. I wanted you to know what getting back together is going to look like in Phase 2.
I share this with you so you will not be surprised. We will have meaningful and enriching worship experiences, but these worship gatherings will not be what you are used to. The re-opening plans are based on the recommendations of the Holston Covid-19 task force led by Bishop Taylor. You can find the Bishop’s plan at www.holston.org.

Worship – Phase 2
1 – Before worship
Numbers in worship:  We will have a maximum number of 100 in each worship experience including staff and volunteers.  You will be asked to sign-up online or call the church office. When we have reached the maximum number allowed in each service, you will have the option to choose another worship service.
Parking places:  There will be designated entrances and exits for both worship experiences.
The Sanctuary entrance will be at Houston Street only.
The Vine worship entrance will be at back and side of the Oak Street parking lot entrance.
The Mustard Tree evening service will enter at the Oak Street entrance.
*Please note no other entrances will be open.
We will have limited access to the building for cleaning and sanitation purposes. We will have a professional cleaning crew to clean the worship areas and bathrooms after each worship experience.

2 – Entrance into the building
We will have ushers assigned to each designated entrance to assist you in answering Covid-19 questions. Ushers will be available, as well, to give you instructions and answer any other questions you might have.
Please remember, everyone 2 years and older will be required to wear a mask to enter the worship space. This is a non-negotiable requirement mandated by Bishop Taylor and the Holston Covid-19 Task Force. Thanks to the UMW and others, we will have masks available if you happen to forget yours.
In Phase 2 there will be no coffee, snacks, or meals available.

3 – During the service
You will be asked to sit in designated areas and observe social distancing. There will be staggered seating.
In the Sanctuary, bulletins will be available for you at each pew.
Online giving will still be encouraged.
Offering plates will be available near entrances and exits.
Offering plates or attendance pads will not be passed during the service.
We will not be observing the “Passing of Peace” as we normally do.
There will be no congregational singing in the worship area.
Those leading worship will be singing so that those online can participate.
We will not have Children’s Time or childcare available during the first 3 phases.
Worship participants will not be required to wear masks while exercising their responsibilities.
Please bring your Bible as Bibles have been removed from pews.
Worship services will still be live-streamed at 10:45.

4 – After the service
Attendees in the Sanctuary will enter and exit by side aisles. The center aisle will not be used.
In The Vine, instructions will be given upon entering and exiting the worship area.
Attendees will be asked to refrain from gathering after the service.
After reading all of the things that we cannot do, here are some things that we can do.
We will still enjoy gathering together, as the body of Christ.
We will still have prayers, responses, and children’s moments.
We will still be listening to music that will help us turn our focus to God’s, grace, mercy and love.
We will still have Scripture readings and sermons.
We will also still be offering new and creative ways to be together as the body of Christ.
We will still encourage one another with smiles and waves and gestures of love. Remember, even at a distance, we can still share our love for one another.
Hopefully, we will not be in Phase 2 for very long. These are strange and unusual times but God is still at work and we will gather together to remember how good God is to us each and every day.

5 – Survey
If you would, please fill out the survey.  It will help us in planning how best to serve you.
The results of the survey and data from the Hamilton County Health department, directions from the District Superintendent of the Scenic South District, Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor, Governor Bill Lee, the Executive Team of FCUMC, the Trustees, Church Council, the Staff of FCUMC and local medical professionals, will all have a voice in when we re-open or move from one phase to another.

Thanks again for helping us continue to proclaim the Good News of the Risen Christ in our world today! Be patient and stay the course!

Blessings, Mark

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Re-opening Plan

Re-opening Facilities for Programs and Worship

Phase 1   Very Restrictive - Online Worship only

Phase 2   Restrictive Gatherings
In Phase 2, the building will be open for limited numbers in worship services, church related small groups of 10 or less, and church staff.  If small groups choose to meet they will be asked to meet in the hours listed in the Re-opening Guidelines.  We will encourage small groups to continue to meet online.  We will also strongly encourage those who have underlying health conditions or who because of age, might be greatly affected by this virus, to continue to support the church from the safety of their own home.  Outside groups will be unable to use the building in Phase 2.


Church Hours of Operation
Main and Oak Street Center
Staff (alarms off)               Monday thru Sunday         7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Members and Public          Monday thru Thursday       9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Available Entrances
Main Building
Welcome Center          Monday thru Sunday
Narthex                      Sunday

Oak Street Center
Parking Lot doors        Sunday
Rear Handicap door     Sunday

Available Use Areas
Main Building
All offices
TV Studio
Level 2 Restrooms
Prigmore Room
Conference Room
Restrooms near Parlor
Mohney Hall

Oak Street Center
The Vine

  • Other areas will be opened as needed with approval from Senior Pastor and/or Director of Facilities

Non-Staff Entering the BuildingPhase 2

Non-staff will be able to enter the building Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Contractual workers will need to coordinate schedules with the Director of Facilities.

Only groups of 10 (or less) will be allowed to meet at FCUMC.  

Administrative teams will be encouraged to continue to meet online.

Each person who enters the building (including contractual workers) will do the following in Phase 2:

  • Sign in. A staff person will be there to welcome and assist guests.  This includes church members and contractual workers.  (This will assist in narrowing down potentially exposed people if contact tracing is needed.)
  • Answer entry questions which are attached to this document. If a person answers “yes” to any of the questions the person will be asked, kindly, not to enter the building.
  • Have temperature checked – If someone has a temperature of 100.4 or greater, the person will be asked to NOT enter the building.
  • Sanitize hands
  • Proceed to the meeting space and be asked with grace not to move about the building or make drop-in calls on staff.
  • Be assigned to a classroom with chairs spaced at least 6 feet apart.
  • Be offered a face mask if they do not have one. Please remember face masks are not optional in Phase 2.  Please help us keep everyone safe!
  • Be encouraged to follow safety guidelines of washing hands frequently, covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and avoid touching eye, nose, mouth

If we become aware of someone who has been to church with Covid-19, we will follow CDC guidelines to cease In-person gatherings, close for additional cleaning, or change protocols.

Staff Entering the BuildingPhase 2

  • Scan temperature upon arrival or have temperature checked at the entry point. If temperature is 100.4 or greater, staff person will be sent home.
  • Clean work station daily – those frequently touched objects like desk, keyboard, and door handles.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Abide by the following guidelines:

If you feel sick, stay home.

If you have fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, stay home.

If you come to work with fever, cough, shortness of breath, or loss of taste or smell, you will be sent home.

If you have sick family members with any of the above symptoms, stay at home.

  • Minimize face to face contact – staff will wear mask outside their own office or when others enter their office.
  • Keep social distancing - 6 – 9 feet apart – not optional.
  • Do not use other employee’s phone, computer, pen, pencil, desk etc.
  • Remember to sanitize or wash hands often - remember not to touch your face.
  • Take home and wash any dishware that has been brought in. (Please do not leave any dishes in sink.)
  • Please limit number of persons in bathroom at the same time.
  • Please remember, only one person at a time in the copier room.
  • Must wash hands before and after using machines in copy room..
  • In Phase 2, if you have a visitor, please greet them in the Welcome Center and escort them to your office.
  • All staff will need to use the Welcome Center entrance or the Houston Street entrance during the week.
  • All staff need to be aware of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Training will be provided to custodial staff by outside janitorial service.

Staff bathrooms and doorknobs will be cleaned according to Safety Plan.

(Note - we will have a professional cleaning group to clean worship spaces, bathrooms, and other rooms used on Sunday morning and other areas as needed throughout the week.)

WorshipPhase 2

We will have a limited number in worship. 100 – for each service.

We will possibly have 5 - 6 worship experiences – (people will sign up online or call the church office).

  • Restrooms and worship areas will be cleaned after each worship experience.
  • Greeters will be assigned to each entrance for worship to provide guidance and information.
  • Hymnals and Bibles will be removed from pews that are to be used for worship.
  • There will be designated entrances and exits for both worship experiences.

(The Sanctuary entrance will be at Houston Street only.  The Vine worship entrance will be at the back and side of the Oak Street parking lot entrance.  Please note no other entrances will be open.  The Mustard Tree evening service will enter at the Oak Street entrance.)

(Please see attendance addendum at the end of the document.)

In the event that an attendee at one of our services tests positive for COVID-19 we will alert all individuals in that service through the online registration platform via email or by phone depending on how you registered. All participants in worship must provide either an email or phone number in case contact tracing is necessary.

  • There will be limited access to the building in Phase 2.
  • Children will not be asked to come forward for Children’s Time.
  • Participants will be asked to leave row by row.
  • We will continue to encourage online giving.
  • Doors will be propped open in both worship venues.
  • Coffee stations should be closed and no hot meals will be prepared or served.
  • Two persons will be assigned at each worship experience to keep a list of names of all who attended for contact tracing if needed.
  • No offering plates or attendance pads will be passed. Offering plates will be available near entrances and exits.
  • We will have no congregational singing in worship services.
  • Serving Holy Communion in Phase 2 will need to be approved by the Senior Pastor.
  • Masks will be required to enter worship space to protect the safety of others. Masks will be available if needed.  (See Mark 12:30-31)
  • Worship participants will not be required to wear masks while exercising their responsibilities.
  • Worship services will still be available online.
  • Bulletins will be placed in the pews.
  • Social distancing in pews and rows will be observed – please sit in designated areas only.
  • No childcare will be provided in Phase 2.
  • Police personnel will help ensure safety measures are followed.
  • Funerals and Weddings – dependent on State and Conference guidelines

Other Programs – Phase 2

There will be no on-site children’s activities.  As one said “If you wear a mask, it’s too soon to have your children’s areas open.  Masks may scare children.”

Youth can possibly meet with a limited number of 10 or less for each gathering.

SS classes will be offered an opportunity to use Church Zoom accounts or other online experiences instead of gathering in person before and during Phase 2.

 Safety, Sanitation and Security Protocols for Phase 2


  • Gatekeeper at entrance doors
  • Greeters on Sunday mornings
  • Individual screening upon entering building
  • Member and non-member sign in and out LOG
  • COVID-19 Entry Questions signage
  • Mandatory face masks
  • Mandatory hand sanitizing
  • Full face shield for Gatekeeper and Greeters
  • Separate Entrance and Exit
  • Limited hours for public access
  • Closed access to unused parts of buildings to help custodians better sanitize the building
  • Doors propped open at entry points
  • Welcome Center limited access
  • Sneeze guards in common office areas
  • Social Distancing setup in Nave and Vine
  • Social Distancing setup for meeting rooms
  • Social Distancing setup for offices and work rooms
  • Staff meetings via teleconference
  • Church Council via teleconference
  • Limited number of attendees for small group meetings
  • Limited number of attendees for Worship Services
  • Multiple Worship Services
  • No shared staff offices
  • No Sunday School
  • No childcare
  • No children’s activities
  • The Centenary closed
  • The Children’s Enrichment Center closed


  • Cleaning Checklist and frequency established
  • Normal routine cleaning will continue
  • Increased cleaning and wiping down of areas and surfaces most touched
  • Facilities staff provided necessary PPE
  • Facilities staff trained in proper and safe cleaning methods
  • Contracting an outside professional cleaning and disinfecting service.
  • Complete disinfection of Nave and related use areas before and between Sunday services
  • Complete disinfection of Oak Street Center before and between Sunday services
  • Hand washing and/or hand sanitizing signs posted around the church
  • Conversion to no-touch trash cans
  • Area rugs removed from OSC Lobby
  • Placement of hand sanitizer in multiple locations
  • Removal of Bibles, hymnals, offering envelopes, pens and other items
  • No offering collection plate passing
  • No food or coffee service


  • Limited access to all buildings
  • Inner City and Children’s Enrichment Center exterior doors OUT of SERVICE
  • Sunday Main Building access by Narthex or Welcome Center doors
  • Sunday Oak Street Center access by parking lot or rear handicap doors
  • Sunday Evening Service access by Oak Street doors
  • Exterior doors either key locked or codes disabled
  • Non-members will be met in Welcome Center by a staff member

COVID-19 Entry Questions

  • Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?
  • Are you experiencing a cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat?
  • Have you had a fever in the last 48 hours? (Fever over 100.4 or higher)
  • Have you had new loss of taste or smell?
  • Have you had vomiting or diarrhea in the last 24 hours?

(These are the questions listed in the most recent Governor’s Report)

Phase 3

Less Restrictive.

  • Children activities will resume when no mask is required.

- Pre-register children to limit number in each room

- Those teaching or helping in the children’s department should not have pre-existing conditions.

- Set up a system for parents to drop off and pick up children at a certain point.

  • Safety protocols will be more relaxed.
  • Worship gatherings will not be limited to a certain number.
  • We will still observe some type of social distancing in worship.
  • Sunday School classes may resume while practicing social distancing rules.
  • Ministry and Administrative teams will be able to meet on site as well as small groups, with the understanding that Social Distancing rules will still be observed.
  • Safety, sanitation and security protocols will be more relaxed
  • No outside groups will meet in Phase 3 at FCUMC

Phase 4

Go Go Go!

Everything goes back to a new normal.

Outside groups are allowed to use the church facility.

Attendance Addendum:

Attendance Guidelines

We will take on line attendance which will include name and contact information.  A designated staff person will make a list of those attending preferred worship service.

We will also take attendance by calling the church office.  A designated staff person will make a list of those attending preferred worship service

We will provide two designated volunteers in each worship service with a list of those attendees who have registered online and called in.

Those who show up without registering will be asked to provide contact information.

The list will have a place to check attendance and will be kept on file in the church office.

The designated volunteers will turn in the attendance sheets to Administrative Assistant.

419 McCallie Ave | Chattanooga | Tennessee 37402 | 423.756.2021