Connecting our Community in light of Covid19: Where we find ourselves.
Ever since the middle of March, our community has been adapting to living life with the threat posed by COVID19. No part of our day to day has been unaffected, including our ability to gather and connect as a church community. Over the past number of months we have done our best to be the church to each other and our wider community, through virtual services, podcasts, outdoor small gatherings and informal connections.
COVID19 and its impact will continue to be with us for the foreseeable future and we are faced with the challenge of being the church to each other and to others in as safe a way as possible. Although many of us have appreciated the opportunity for our lives to slow down during this time, on the downside, we have become more disconnected from those outside our “bubble.” This proposal outlines how we at Seeds will face the next season of this pandemic, with an eye to fostering relationships, taking time to listen and moving with purpose. (Further details of how this will all work will come next week in video form.)
The Plan – A Hybrid Model of Church
Beginning September 13th we will alternate each Sunday between gathering for Worship Services and connecting in Cell Groups Communities.
On Worship Gathering Sundays (every other Sunday beginning September 13) we will meet for a 45 minute worship service with the following characteristics.
- A capacity of 65 people for inside worship (30% capacity restriction)
- Physical distancing of 2 metres between people and households.
- No congregational singing for now. (Will be revisited as we learn more)
- Hand Sanitizer stations.
- Attendance registered to allow for contact tracing.
- A virtual option will be available for those at home. (Live or recorded video)
- Everyone is reminded to stay home if feeling unwell, even if symptoms are mild. https://manitoba.ca/covid19/updates/about.html
- To accommodate everyone we will have 2 services (sanitizing of the space and surfaces in between services.)
First service – Super Socially Sensitive worship – 10 a.m.
- Creating a space for people to gather to worship with an emphasis on making it safe for people who may feel more vulnerable to gathering in large groups.
- There will be tables for families and activities for kids.
- Masks will be required when physical distancing is not possible (ie. while entering and moving around the space)
- The expectation is that this service will be a more controlled environment to allow for a high comfort level of safety for those who attend..
Second service – Socially Sensitive worship – 11 a.m.
- Continuing to follow Provincial guidelines, while acknowledging that it is appropriate for families with small children to participate without anxieties about their children putting others at risk.
- Tables for families and activities for children will be available.
- Masks will be encouraged, but not required for when physical distancing is not required.
Cell Group Gatherings
On Cell Group Gathering Sundays (every other Sunday beginning September 20) we encourage present Cell Groups to gather during the Sunday morning period. Although encouraged, we understand that some groups may choose to meet at other times during the week to accommodate their group’s specific needs. Space will be available at the eXchange for groups to meet if they are looking for more space to gather. We will ask groups to let the office know if they want space, so that we can appropriately designate for groups.
We will also offer a Popup Cell Environment to make space for people who do not have a regular Cell Group to participate with on these mornings. These groups will begin at 10am and will be led by Darlene and/or Ted. We will encourage existing Cell Groups to send some people to these Popup experiences on a rotational basis, so that there is some interaction between regular and Popup groups. Creative small group opportunities may happen as time goes by. (Forest Church, Issue Conversations, etc.) Some suggested content for cells are the ‘Define the Relationship podcast’ or other podcast material that Dar and Ted will continue to offer.
This proposal recognizes that plans will likely shift and adapt as things continue to change with the impact of COVID19 on our community, so we invite your patience and your input as we learn to be the church in a very difficult and unpredictable time. We also value your feedback and ideas on how to continue to make Jesus real in the coming months in practical and relevant ways for you and the people of our community. Peace to you as you navigate our present world.