Sunday, October 3 marked the first time in a year and a half that folks were invited into the Northwoods sanctuary to attend worship as well as via Zoom. I know many of you have questions about how to sign up to attend in person, and about what kinds of safety measures are in place, as well as wondering what to expect when attending worship. Read on, and hopefully those questions will find answers.
Signing Up to Attend
Attendance will be capped for worship, and folks will need to sign up for the services they wish to attend in person. This is to limit the number of people in the building at any given moment, but it also allows us to do thorough contact tracing in the unfortunate (but not impossible) event that someone attends worship and then tests positive for COVID-19. We will be using the service Eventbrite to sign up for in-person attendance. The link to signing up will be the same from week to week, and you will be able to find it several places:
- The direct link to the EventBrite sign-up is here.
- In your weekly Beacon Bits newsletter, sent out every Wednesday
- On our website, by clicking on the “This Sunday at Northwoods” button at the top of the home page.
- Posted In Zoom the chat following worship services
- Via Northwoods text reminders (reminders for signing up for services will be sent out every Friday morning). To sign up for text reminders, simply respond to this email with your name and cell phone number.
When you sign up, you will be asked for your name, number of people attending with you, and your email address. Deadline to sign up for a service will be the Friday afternoon before the service at 3 pm.
You will get a confirmation email after signing up. Please have your confirmation with you when you come to church that Sunday (on your phone or printed out) to show to greeters when you arrive.
Not everyone attending worship in-person is comfortable with the same levels of contact and closeness, and it’s important we respect the needs of all in attendance. When you arrive at Northwoods in person, you will be able to indicate your individual preference for levels of contact by choosing a silicone bracelet, which will be available at the church entrance (kids’ sizes too!). You will be able to choose between three colors:
- Red: Greet from Six Feet (highest level of caution, maintaining 6 feet social distancing, no physical contact or extended conversation)
- Yellow: Talking, Not Touching (okay with conversation while maintaining social distancing but no physical contact)
- Green: Hellos and Hugs Okay (Comfortable with conversation as well as some pre-COVID behaviors such as hugs or high-fives—but still ask first! Not everyone is comfortable with all types of contact.)
You will return your wristband following the service as you leave the building; they will be sanitized each week following service and reused.
It’s an exciting moment, but it’s also a transition to approach with caution as well as enthusiasm. Here are a few key precautions we are taking as a community:
- While in the building, attendees will be required to wear masks at all times, with the exception of worship leaders while they are speaking or singing. Outside the building, you may remove your mask if you wish.
- Whenever possible, mingling and conversation should take place outdoors. When service concludes, please leave the building before beginning to chat and check in with friends.
- To reduce risks of cross-contact, the offering basket will not be passed from person to person; greeters will hold the basket as they walk between the rows of chairs, which will be set wide apart for social distancing.
- No food or drinks will be served at Northwoods following services, although you are welcome to bring your own.
- Please maintain social distancing between households while at Northwoods, indoors or outdoors, unless explicit consent has been given in advance. When sitting in the sanctuary, please leave at least one chair between your household and the next.
To ease the transition to hybrid services and RE classes, we are postponing in person religious education until October 17. Until then, children can continue to attend online religious education classes. See the Religious Education section below for more information.
Some things will remain the same:
- Sunday service will be at 10:30 a.m. whether you attend online or in person.
- If you choose to attend service at home, the procedure is the same. Online worship will take place using the Zoom video-conferencing platform. You can use our custom URL to attend service (https://zoom.us/my/northwoodsuu) or join by Meeting ID: 766 833 5778.
Your Board, staff and worship leadership have worked hard to find a balance between safety, access, and building community during worship, but a lot of that will rest on each and every member of this community attending in person—to stay informed, to sign up, and to abide by safety guidelines while in the building. Like so much about Northwoods, when each of us does their part, we are so much greater together. Let’s celebrate this transition with joy and a commitment to continue to care for each other well, in body and in spirit.