Health Team Guidelines
Comprising both members of the congregation and staff, the Gary Church Health team has been working this summer to find ways for us to be together in person, while following the safety recommendations of government agencies and the Northern Illinois Conference. Please know this information is subject to change if conditions regarding the coronavirus pandemic change. We will continue to offer a variety of virtual opportunities as well as limited in-person gatherings.
Return to In-Person Worship Safety Protocols
Beginning Sunday, September 13, we will have one in-person worship service at 9 a.m. To keep those who attend as safe as possible we will limit the service to 50 pre-registered participants. Please carefully read these guidelines in determining if you will attend or if you will continue to worship at home. If you are in a vulnerable population, we encourage you to watch the service at home. It will be live-streamed at 9 a.m. and will be captured, edited, and uploaded for viewing soon after.
Worship is going to look a bit different, but God will still be with us and we will still glorify God together...just a little farther apart than usual!
- Advanced registration is required. Register here. If you are unable to access the link or have questions, contact the Church Office at 630-668-3100.
- The registration form will include screening questions relating to COVID-19.
- If on the day of the worship service you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you should remain at home.
- Those returning from travel to any of the CDC identified states with elevated COVID-19 positivity rates should stay home for at least 14 days.
- Bring your mask and be prepared to wear it from the time you exit your car. We will have extra masks available.
- Plan to arrive during the registration period of 8:40–9 a.m. At 9 a.m., the outer doors will be closed and locked.
- Only door #5 (off west parking lot) will be open. There you will be welcomed by Greeters and Safety Hosts.
- Before leaving your car, put on your mask. Maintain a six-foot distance from others as you walk to the Safety Hosts’ table, near door #5.
- The Safety Host will take your temperature with an instant-read thermometer briefly pointed at your forehead. Your temperature must be below 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit to enter the building.
- The Safety Host will also provide hand sanitizer and a mask if you forgot yours and will direct you to the Greeter just inside the door.
- Give your name to the Greeter who will check it off the registration list and invite you to go up the stairs toward the Sanctuary.
- Look for your church name tag on the table at the top of the stairs.
- Inside the Sanctuary, give your name to the usher who will lead you to the seat you have been assigned, safely distanced from others.
- If at any point in this process there is a line, please maintain a six-foot distance from others.
- Once you are seated, please do not get up to move around, return to your car to retrieve something, etc.
- All exterior doors will be propped open before and after the service.
Safety Protocols During Worship
- Doors to the Sanctuary will remain open.
- Worship services will be no longer than 40 minutes.
- Information will be on our new Sanctuary screens since we are unable to use bulletins, hymnals, and Bibles.
- Verbal greetings and other non-contact greetings will replace shaking hands, hugging, or other physical contact.
- Instrumental music as well as new ways to corporately participate with the music will take the place of congregational singing.
- An offering plate on the Welcome Desk or giving electronically at garychurch.org/giving will replace passing the offering plate.
- We will still have a Children's Time which all will be able to see on the Sanctuary screens from the pews, although we will be unable to offer Kids’ Church and activity bags.
- Only the Sound Team will be allowed to enter the balcony where the new A/V desk is located.
- Keep personal items with you rather than using coat racks, etc.
- After the service, ushers will dismiss the congregation by rows.
- Upon dismissal, exit the building using the west (door #5) or Seminary Street entrances as directed by the ushers.
- Beverages and refreshments will not be offered and there should be no shared food.
- Restrooms will be available, with entrance doors to bathrooms propped open, where privacy allows. Bathroom surfaces will be sanitized before and after services.
- Water fountains will be closed or disabled.
- We are unable to safely offer nursery care. Young children are welcome in the Sanctuary. Those over the age of two should wear a mask.
- Due to the challenges involved in providing a safe Sunday School experience for children, youth, and adults, 10 a.m. classes will not meet.
- A variety of virtual and in-person studies and small group opportunities will be available for all ages at times other than Sunday morning.
Guidelines for Small Group Gatherings
The following guidelines must be applied contextually with discernment. What might be safe for one group or one individual may not be safe for another. Before scheduling any in-person gatherings, keep in mind John Wesley’s rule of “Do No Harm.” As the conditions in Illinois change with the coronavirus, these guidelines may change.
Groups of 50 or fewer may meet inside. Masks must be worn at all times. Wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently. Keep at least six feet of distance from each other. No singing. No shared food or drink. Participants must preregister with the event organizer and answer screening questions. All events and room use must be scheduled through the Church Office. Upon entering door #5, there will be a check-in/screening area and hand sanitizing station.
Funerals/weddings of 50 or fewer (including pastors and ushers) may meet inside. Masks must be worn at all times. Wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently. Keep at least six feet of distance from each other. No singing. No shared food or drink. Participants must preregister with the family and answer screening questions. Family must schedule the event through the Church Office and present the guest list to the Church Office. Upon entering door #5, there will be a check-in/screening area and hand sanitizing station.