Covid-19 (CoronaviRus) update
Updated: May 21, 2020
Dear Lakeland Family,
We have not met for in-person worship since March 8. Who would have ever thought that we would need to suspend Sunday gatherings due to a global pandemic? We have missed seeing you, and we know that you have missed seeing us and each other. The good news, in light of Governor Abbott’s decision to begin reopening Texas, is that we have decided to resume in-person worship and open our building on Sunday, June 7. To be clear, at this early stage of regathering we will only be resuming our worship service. We want you to know what to expect when we reopen our doors for in-person worship. And, we want you to know the preparations we are taking to consider the needs and safety of our members and community. So, please read through this update carefully, and contact our church office if you have any questions.
The current social distancing guidelines will mean that our gathering will look different than normal. We will hold multiple services. We will be spread out on the main floor and throughout the balcony. Some people will be wearing gloves and masks; some people won’t be wearing either. Here’s what you need to know:
Service Times—We will provide two Sunday morning services. The first service will be at 8:30 AM, and the second service will be at 10:30 AM. Both services will be identical and will be approximately one hour in length.
Seating Capacity—To practice safe social distancing, we are allowing 150 people to attend each service. Each week, two digital forms will be posted to our website for you to sign-up for one of the services you plan to attend. You can begin signing up for the June 7 service on Monday, June 1. Registration will be available weekly from Monday morning at 9:00 AM until Friday afternoon at 3:00 PM. Click on the service you plan to attend (one of the rotating images on the main page) and then fill out the form. You will need to do this weekly. Once a service fills up, that form will be removed. We will reserve seating for guests who show up but did not sign up. You can also call the church office to register for a service: 972-436-4561.
Social Distancing—We will practice safe social distancing in all aspects of our Sunday experience. People will be allowed to enter the building 15 minutes before the start of each service. Everyone will enter the building through the West Entrance (all other doors will be closed). Our Greeters will welcome you as you enter with a friendly wave and smile, check you and your family in, and monitor restrooms to ensure social distancing is followed. Our Ushers will assist you in seating. We will maintain six feet of distance between rows of chairs and six feet of distance from parties not attending together. While it will be hard, please refrain from any kind of physical touch (i.e., handshaking, hugging, fist bumps, etc.) and keep a safe distance from others if you must leave your seat. At the end of each service, we will provide exiting instructions.
Sanitization/Health Protocols— Signs will be posted in the building to remind everyone to practice good hygiene, to be mindful of other’s health needs, and to prepare for a non-touch experience. All employees and volunteers will be trained on appropriate cleaning, disinfection, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette. And, most volunteers will be in gloves and masks. Before, between, and after every service, the worship center seats will be disinfected and all other regularly and frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected in the worship center, lobby, and restrooms. All loose standing items (e.g., Bibles, pens, bulletins, etc.) will be removed to maximize a touch-free experience. Hand sanitation stations will be strategically located for your use. You are also welcome (but not required) to wear masks and gloves. Those who are experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms should not enter the building (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath, known close contact in the past 14 days with a person who is confirmed to have COVID-19, etc.).
Offering Receptacles—We will not be passing offering plates. Instead, we will have offering receptacles located at the back of the auditorium for you to place your tithes and offerings in as you exit.
For those with vulnerable health situations and those who are still sheltering, we understand your concern about contracting COVID-19 and the steps you are taking to protect your health. If you are not yet ready to return or unable to attend, we want to continue to minister to you. We encourage you to continue to connect with us online. We will be live-streaming our worship service at 10:30 AM. You can access that service on our website.
Sunday School/Discipleship/Bible Study Groups
At this phase of reopening our building, we will not meet in Sunday School, Discipleship, or Bible Study groups. Until the guidelines for social distancing relax, we will continue to provide Sunday School/Adult Bible Study teaching videos each Wednesday and encourage you to connect with your Sunday School groups online via Zoom. If you are not currently connected to a Zoom Sunday School group, we want you to be a part of one. Please contact Pastor Jesse who will be glad to help connect you.
Preschool, Children's, and Student Ministries
For now, we will not provide preschool, children, or student ministries on campus on Sundays or midweek. Please be patient with us as we assess when it will be wise and safe to resume our children and student ministries in-person. As for Sundays, parents may bring their children and worship together as a family, which will allow parents to maintain full oversight of their children. You may request seating on the main floor or balcony. Our Children’s Minister, Morgan Goodrow, and our Student Pastor, Matt Wooster, will continue to provide online options and resources for our children and students to worship, learn, and connect during the week.
Your needs remain an important priority to us. For most of our membership care, we’ll continue to minister by phone calls or virtual meetings. If you believe an in-person meeting with one of us is necessary, however, please let us know.
Deacon and Other Committee Meetings
No in-person Deacon or Committee meetings will resume at this time. Any meeting that we need to have will take place virtually.
Our church offices will be open again beginning June 8. If you need to stop by the office, please continue to practice appropriate social distancing and hygiene etiquette.
Thank you so much for your patience and understanding as we navigate these unprecedented times. Let us aim to love and serve each other and our community well when we resume meeting on June 7. Also, be mindful that you will not see some familiar faces you are used to seeing, because some of our members are not yet comfortable returning to in-person worship at this time. We look forward to being with you again and worshipping with you.