What to Expect at Corporate Gatherings
What a strange and challenging time this is! As we joyously gather again, we also recognize that we will need to alter some of the ways we interact during our corporate gatherings due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time that we assemble once again, we will strive to make Bridgeway a safe and healthy place for all our people, especially the more vulnerable. There are many differing opinions on what should and should not be done, so I’m asking all of us to acknowledge that we are a diverse spiritual family that is committed to honoring and loving one another, even when we may disagree on how to proceed.
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others”
Below are our current tentative plans in moving forward. We emphasize the word “tentative” here. A decrease in the prevalence of Covid-19, together with changes in the government’s recommended guidelines, could lead us to make substantial changes to this plan. The same may be said if there is an increase.
1) SERVICE TIMES AND LENGTH
We will continue to hold two services at 9:00 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. Service length will be shortened from 90 minutes to 75 minutes. The shortened length of the services is only temporary. Once conditions are improved, we will return to each service being 1 ½ hours in length. The shortened service will give us more time between services (one hour) to thoroughly cleanse and disinfect the building in preparation for the second service. It will also be more accommodating to families with young children attending the service with them.
2) FAMILIES WITH SMALL CHILDREN
All children are invited to join their families in the auditorium for the regular service There will be no Bridgeway Kids classes (birth – 6th Grade) during the months of June/July. We hope to once again provide our regular BW Kids classes beginning in AUGUST. It simply isn’t possible at this early stage to ensure the best practices to accommodate our children safely in classrooms. We will also use this time to prepare our volunteers to ensure that our classes are properly staffed. Our Bridgeway Kids team will provide family worship bags at the entrance as a gift to each household that will include age-appropriate activities and other items to keep our children engaged during the service. Two nursing mothers’ rooms will be available for families that need to step out of the auditorium. We will do the best we can to limit the number who make use of these somewhat small spaces at any one time.
3) LIVESTREAM AVAILABLE
We will live stream both services (including announcements, worship, preaching) beginning 10 minutes prior to the start times on YouTube. It will then be immediately available to replay at any time afterward. This is in recognition of the fact that many will likely stay home until they feel safer in venturing out into crowds. If needed, we can extend the live stream into July (and perhaps beyond), but this will not be a permanent practice. Of course, we will continue to provide a video and audio of the entire Sunday service on our website by the Monday following.
4) COMMUNION & PRAYER MINISTRY
We will serve communion by means of self-contained packets of juice and bread.We have also decided to temporarily suspend all personal, face-to-face prayer ministry at any time during the service. We will continue to emphasize and practice prayer but will do so from the platform in order to maintain proper social distancing. We hope to return to our normal practices as soon as possible.
5) SOCIAL DISTANCE SEATING & OVERFLOW ROOM
We will be closing every other row in the auditorium and asking households to sit together. We strongly recommend that you leave two seats between your family and others on the same row. Please be aware that by closing off every other row we are limiting the number of people who can be seated in the auditorium. We would encourage you to come early to secure seating for you and your family. Our best estimate is that we can seat 250 people at each service under these guidelines. We have opened the Backroom as an overflow room with closed-circuit screens and audio if we reach capacity in the Auditorium.
6) SHARE LOVE NOT GERMS
We will do our best to maintain high levels of cleanliness throughout the building, with plentiful supplies of hand sanitizer. The staff and our volunteers will make generous use of disinfectant wipes to keep surfaces and other objects as clean as possible. We will modify the way we greet people when they arrive, avoiding all physical contact while trying to be as hospitable and welcoming as possible.
We encourage everyone to continue to observe recommended wellness guidelines: wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze, don’t touch your face, etc. We suggest that you avoid physical contact like handshakes and hugs and not congregate in close proximity with others either in the Lobby or in the Auditorium. We encourage everyone to visit outdoors in the parking lot. While not requiring that you do so, we ask that you seriously consider wearing a face mask while in attendance in the building. Let us strive to honor one another in the body of Christ.
7) FOOD & DRINK
We will not be providing coffee or snacks for the near future. People are free to bring in their own coffee. We will close access to the water fountains but will provide water bottles in the Lobby.
8) STAYING HOME
We also urge you to stay home if you have any symptoms of Covid-19 (fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea) OR if you have been in close contact within 14 days of someone who has tested positive or if you have been tested and are awaiting results OR if you are especially vulnerable and more susceptible to infection, we recommend that you stay home and avail yourself of the service Livestream.
9) FUTURE EVENTS
We will bring you additional information in the days ahead regarding other events and ministries at Bridgeway. Check the website often. Student Ministry will move to Wednesday nights beginning June 10. Prayer and prophetic training classes and other gatherings are being evaluated. Our focus, though, at least for the foreseeable future, is on our Sunday morning corporate assembly and our community group meetings.
10) START TIME
I want to emphasize one more thing. Since we are shortening the service by 15 minutes and there are no children’s classes, we strongly request that you do everything possible to arrive on time, even a few minutes early if possible. We will be largely reducing the time given to announcements, mission spotlights, and testimonies, in order that we may devote the bulk of our time together to the preaching of God’s Word, worship, and prayer ministry.
11) POSITIVE COVID-19 CASES
If you have attended any Bridgeway event (Sunday Gatherings, Student Ministry, Community Group, etc.) within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, please call (405)749-8044 or email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. Unless you provide us with written authorization to release your identity, we will keep your information confidential and help you to inform anyone with whom you were in close contact.
IF YOU WISH TO BE NOTIFIED if there has been a positive case of Covid-19 in our gatherings, please use the ChurchCenter App to CHECK-IN at the gatherings you attend. This is how we will know who to contact. This information is voluntary and completely private.
12) PLEASE PRAY FOR US
Please pray for us, as we also are praying for you! This is a difficult season in our world but also in the church. Pray for the staff and elders of Bridgeway as we navigate new territory day by day. Pray for us to lead with wisdom and humility. We love and care for you deeply and pray earnestly for the physical and spiritual health of the body.
We will continue to post updates here as needed, check back often.