Plan for September & October

Dear Friends and Members of The Community,

This is a special addition newsletter to keep you up to date on what to expect as we look to the fall season.

In short, after reviewing the data, consulting with medical professionals, and assessing the needs and comfort levels within the church community, Consistory has decided that we will continue our online worship services through Sunday, October 25. In September and October, the Elders will plan and implement outdoor, mostly small-group gatherings to foster the sense of connection that many in the congregation are hopeful for.

Four primary reasons for this decision rose to the surface:

  • A desire to continue to offer an inclusive worship experience to the majority of our congregation, especially families with children.
  • State and CDC recommendations and guidelines.
  • The realization that even if we did host worship in the sanctuary, most would not come.
  • This will allow the building renovation team to continue the sanctuary upgrades.

It is clear that we’re all weary of this. None of us desire to prolong this experience, and yet we acknowledged that we must continue to remain patient, vigilant, and mindful of how we can serve as many as possible during this time. As leadership, we are balancing a host of concerns, including physical health, mental and emotional health, competing needs, and staff capacity to name a few. We were grateful that the survey results provided clarity in how we move forward. Consistory will be evaluating next steps on a monthly basis, and we will do what we can to care for each other and foster community as we journey toward the end of this pandemic. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or needs.

For a summary of the survey, and the official motion passed by Consistory last night, please read on:

COVID-19 Worship and Connection Survey

August 2020

Executive Summary

Purpose of the Survey: To gain a better understanding of the needs and desires of the congregation in regards to in-person and online gatherings during the COVID-19 global pandemic. While decisions about in-person gatherings will be driven by scientific data, CDC recommendations, and state and federal policies,  results of the survey will also add weight to decisions moving forward.

Response Rate: This has been the most successful survey response we have ever received.  103 adults participated out of 140 adults who were invited to take the survey.  All adults who were participating regularly or semi-regularly in in-person gatherings before mid-March were invited to participate. In total, we heard from 91% of our households.

Current Trends:

  • Zoom Worship Attendance: 39.2% of the congregation regularly participates in Sunday morning Zoom meetings.  37.3% sometimes attend Zoom meetings, and 23.5% Rarely or Never attend.

  • YouTube Worship Viewing: 52.9% of the congregation regularly watches worship on YouTube, 33.3% watches sometimes, and 13.8% rarely or never watches.

Personal Level of Comfort (In regards to in-person gathering): Two things became clear in these results.  Our congregation is ready and willing to begin to gather in small groups outdoors, and that it will be a while before our congregation is ready to gather as a large group indoors.  For both small group indoor gatherings, and large group outdoor gatherings, the data is mixed.

(1: Very Uncomfortable 2: Uncomfortable 3: On the fence 4: Comfortable 5: Very Comfortable)

Small Groups

Outdoor Gatherings                                                  

Indoor Gatherings

Large Groups

Outdoor Gatherings

Indoor Gatherings

Worship and Gathering in the Fall:

  • Online & In-Person Small Groups: 51% of the congregation desires to be mostly physically distanced from one another, with occasional opportunities for in-person gatherings with a few select people.  23.5% would like a mix of online and in-person small group meetings more regularly.  13.7% of the congregation would like to remain completely physically distanced at this time.  12% of the congregation would like mostly or completely in-person gathering opportunities, with limited online options.  Key Takeaway: 75% of the congregation would like regular or occasional in-person small group opportunities.

Narrative Questions: Responses were varied, as would be expected, but the main recurring theme is that our return to normal, in-person gatherings is correlated to a vaccine development and distribution.  Many are not expecting that we will return to in-person worship until 2021.

Recommendation regarding gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic

From: Strategic Advisory Board

To: Consistory

Date: August 17th, 2020

 

Based on current virus conditions, directives from Governor Whitmer and the Kent County Health Department, and results of the recent survey of the congregation, the Strategic Advisory Board recommends:

  1. Worship: That The Community Church in Ada continue to provide online worship services via Zoom and YouTube through Sunday October 25th.

  2. Church Building: That the church building remains closed to group gatherings through Sunday, October 25th.

  3. In-person gatherings: That the Elders create various opportunities for people to gather outside the church building in both indoor and outdoor settings.

    1. Guidelines for gatherings:

      1. Size of groups: Since groups would not be gathering inside of the church, the Governor’s Executive Order will apply: Indoor groups may not be larger than 10 people, and outdoor groups may not be greater than 100.

      2. Masks are required for indoor gatherings, social distancing and hand sanitizer must be utilized for both outdoor and indoor gatherings.

  4. Caring Connections:

    1. That Elders would continue to reach out to those on their care lists, focusing on people who do not have access to the internet, and those in need of social connection or spiritual/emotional support.

    2. That Deacons would continue to care for those with financial and material need and monitor the financial health of the church.

  • Sunday Schedule

    10:00 am – Service
    Nursery - infants through age 3

    Partway through Service - Children’s Worship: Ages 4-10

    After Service – Cookies and Coffee Social Gathering