Oakridge Community Church has resumed in-person gatherings. Click here for details.

Oakridge Updates

OCC Guidelines for In-Person Services

Who could have imagined at the beginning of 2020 that we would be dealing with these issues right now? Even when COVID-19 began to be reported as a pandemic, I am not sure that any of us could have foreseen the changes and disruptions to our daily lives that were to follow. We are thankful that the time has come for Oakridge Community Church to open her doors and hold public gatherings of worship again. Experiencing the joy and encouragement that comes from being together as God’s dwelling place is something we have been eager to see restored. However, hosting public gatherings during a pandemic presents many challenges. These challenges will require certain temporary precautionary measures to be put in place in order to ensure that when we gather together again, we are doing so in as responsible a manner as possible.  

Over the last couple of weeks, the elders of OCC have been working together to develop a plan to resume our public gatherings. We believe the following measures are the best way for our church body to move forward during this season. None of these measures are set in stone. We know that in time, changes in the current coronavirus situation will require changes to these policies as well. Our understanding of the best way for Oakridge to handle this pandemic may morph over time as well. But for now, we are asking all who attend worship services in person to abide by the policies below. We recognize that these measures will be awkward for all of us, but we do pray that we can implement them during this season in a friendly, considerate manner, and with much-needed attitudes of love, selflessness, and good humor.

Details about the Worship Services:

  • Two Services: We are going to begin having services again on June 7th. Depending on the number of people attending, our plan is to offer two services during this season, one at 9 AM and the other at 11 AM. If the numbers of those attending warrant only one service, it will be held at 10 AM.

  • Live Streaming: Our services will be live-streamed for those who choose not to attend the physical gatherings. More details will follow for how to connect to the streaming of our services online.

  • Condensed Services: Each service will be shortened to one hour long. This limits our time in the building and ensures that we have adequate time in between services to disinfect and sanitize. Plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to the start of your service. We ask everyone to enter in a timely manner so that our worship service can start promptly. Each row will be dismissed one at a time at the end of service. We ask everyone to exit the building in a timely manner as well so that work of cleaning/sanitizing can begin as soon as possible.

  • Service attendance: Again, depending on numbers and in order to accommodate social distancing recommendations in our seating, we will need to plan in advance for who will be attending each service. Prior arrangements with one of the elders will be necessary for any change in the service attended.

  • Seating: In an effort to follow social distancing recommendations, we will be limiting the amount of seating available in our sanctuary. In order to ensure proper distancing and maximized use of seating space, a plan for seating everyone in each service will be developed, and those attending will be shown where to sit as they arrive. We ask that everyone be mindful of spacing while waiting to be seated.

  • Air-flow: During the services, all windows in the foyer and sanctuary will be open, all fans will be turned on, and a/c units will be blowing. If it is a cool day, then only the fans inside the a/c units will be turned on. If you attend the gathering in person, please dress accordingly.

  • Masks: Masks are recommended for those who attend our physical gatherings. Masks are not so much to protect you as they are for the protection of those around you. Most community spreading of COVID-19 takes place through those who are asymptomatic, and wearing masks can help guard against community spreading in OCC. Please note that the CDC does not recommend children 2 years old and younger to wear masks.

  • Singing: As a vital part of corporate worship (Col. 3:16, Eph. 5:19, Psalm 95:1-2, Heb. 2:12), there will be singing in our services. However, all who attend the physical gatherings will be required to wear a mask to participate in the singing. As one pastor put it, “Yes, this will muffle our singing, but no more so than being muted on Zoom.” We greatly appreciate everyone’s cooperation in this.

  • Communion: As an essential part of corporate worship, communion at the Lord’s Table will continue (1 Cor. 11:17-34). However, we will not distribute the elements as we normally do. On Sunday’s when we worship in communion, pre-packed communion cups will be provided at the entrance of the sanctuary. We ask for everyone to throw their own cups away at the end of the service as you exit the building.

  • Giving: No collection plates will be passed around during the service. A collection box will be present in the back of the sanctuary where you can give. Otherwise, you can continue to mail your checks in or give online.

  • Nursery: There will be no nursery offered during the service. All family units are asked to stay together at all times.

  • Bathrooms: There will be two bathrooms available for use. The bathroom in the foyer will be reserved for women, and the downstairs bathroom directly below that will be reserved for men. Lysol will be available in each restroom. If you use the bathroom, we kindly ask that you sanitize the toilet seat and any handles that you touch. THANK YOU!

  • Water/Coffee: There will be no water or coffee available for public use in the OCC building. Everyone is encouraged to bring your own if it is desired (if brought into the sanctuary, we ask it to be placed in a spill-proof container).

  • Social Distancing: We are asking that no groups gather or linger within the church building on Sunday mornings during this season. All are welcome to fellowship together outside on the church grounds. However, we ask that while on church property, social distancing recommendations be followed and family units remain together. This is in order to safeguard the testimony and reputation of OCC in our community.

Recommendations:

  • Planning to Attend? Let us know so that we can make plans for seating everyone.

  • High Risk: The CDC identifies those who are 65 years or older, and those with serious underlying medical conditions (lung or heart disease, compromised immune systems, severe obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, liver disease) as being in the category of “high risk.” Being “high risk” means that you are more likely to experience severe illness (possibly death) from COVID-19 if contracted. The elders strongly encourage those who are in the high-risk category to take advantage of streaming the services online. Those who are in the high-risk category and still desire to join the gatherings in person will not be hindered from doing so.

  • Hand Sanitizer: There will be some hand sanitizer at the church building for those who need it. However, in order to help conserve what has become such a “precious commodity” in this season, we do ask for everyone to bring their own hand sanitizer if possible.

  • Feeling Sick? If any family members are feeling sick in any way, DO NOT ATTEND IN-PERSON GATHERINGS, PLEASE! Take advantage of our live-streaming option at home.

Assumed Liability:

  • OCC will labor to maintain appropriate levels of cleanliness and sanitation at all times. However, no amount of preventative measures can serve as a guarantee against the possibility of contracting coronavirus (no different than with any other sickness).

  • All who attend services at OCC in person do so acknowledging the risks associated with public gatherings. By coming inside the church building and attending our worship services, you are accepting the risk and possibility of being infected with COVID-19 for yourself, and those for whom you are responsible.

  • Again, we ask all congregants to sit only where directed and abide by social distancing standards while on church property.

We pray that this will help you make an informed decision about whether to attend our in-person gatherings at this time. In this matter, each one of us must be free to operate according to the dictates of our conscience without fear of being judged by one another. This applies to those who decide to stay home and to those who decide to attend. The only thing we ask from you all is to make sure that whatever you decide to do, you are not making your decision out of fear but in faith. For, whatever is not from faith is sin (Romans 14:23).

May the Lord be honored in all of this, and may He grant that we as individuals and as a corporate body conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

May the grace, peace, and mercy of the Lord be with you all,

Seth Beyersdorf

Loren Hubin

Erick Marshall

(May 26, 2020)

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