September 18, 2020 UPDATE
Questions and Answers
Coker United Methodist Church
Returning to In-Person Worship Plan
1.When are we reopening in-person worship?
We reopened in-person worship in English and Spanish on June 7 (with social distancing & masks).
June 27th we returned to online only worship (not in person). Beginning on September 20th our in-person worship will be opened again at 9:30 & 11 AM in the sanctuary.
We have plans in place to loosen restrictions and offer more in-person opportunities AND/OR to tighten restrictions based on the current health of our city.
Please follow this page, coker.org/coronavirus, and coker.org/events for continued updates on in-person offerings.
Our online services continue to be offered at 9:30 & 11 AM (11 AM for Coker En Español).
We have expanded online offerings for the fall.
2. What services will be provided in the Fall?
Beginning September 20th, an in-person worship option will be available at 9:30 & 11 AM in the sanctuary. Nursery is available. Online services will continue as well at 9:30 & 11.
Online Services (Facebook, YouTube & Coker.org/livestream):
Contemporary Service at 9:30 AM
Traditional Service at 11 AM
Coker En Español at 11 AM in the Upper Room.
Will Continue through the end of September at 8:30 AM on Sundays.
3. What are the best practices Coker most closely looks at for in-person gatherings?
Our Top Three best practices are as follows:
1. Wear a Mask (as of July 2nd, masks are required indoors & outdoors in public places, in counties where the COVID numbers exceed 20 cases).
2. Keep a social distance of 6′ or more from one another
3. Limit indoor congregating (this includes limiting time and/or capacity, booking in larger spaces, etc).
4. Will there be childcare, Children’s Church, or Sunday School for kids?
The nursery will be open during in-person worship. Coker Kids will offer “Discovery Kids” (Sunday School Classes) in-person at 9:30 AM and 11 AM and online at 2 PM all on Sundays. Coker Youth will begin meeting on Sunday mornings in early October. Coker Youth also meet on Sunday evenings & Wednesday evenings. Parents will continue to be notified as things evolve and are invited to reach out to Family Ministries any time for specific times, dates, locations, etc… Email.
5. What about Sunday School Classes & Recovery Groups?
All Sunday School Classes and Recovery Groups are welcome to meet on campus, however many have decided to remain online- please contact your group leaders for details.
6. Will we continue on-line worship broadcasts?
Yes!!!! We mentioned it in #2 but it is worth saying again! Online worship will continue to happen at 9:30 and 11 AM on Sunday Mornings. We livestream on Coker.org/livestream, YouTube.com/c/CokerChurch, and facebook.com/CokerUMC. We have seen an abundance of people on the livestream and pray that our reach continues to touch individuals and reach the nations.
7. What will in-person church worship be like?
The focus will be on Jesus. Yet, we will practice social distancing. A cleaning team will be present to provide hand sanitizing upon entry. Likewise, we will ask you to space your family 6 ft. apart from other families for safety reasons- follow the guidance form the ushers on where to sit as every other row will be taped off.
Also, offering and bulletins will be different. Offering plates will be at the door and bulletins will be online only. We ask that, from within the building, you access our interactive bulletin elements at: coker.org/Register, coker.org/events, and coker.org/Donate to let us know you were in worship (register your attendance), see upcoming happenings, and to donate online.
Our Sanctuary has been optimized for live-stream worshipers so you will notice a camera, curtain behind the organ, and a few other changes. There will be no seating on far-left or far-right sections. We ask that you not walk in front of the cameras while they are videoing, and we ask you not to approach the organ or piano (for the safety of Valerie and our musicians).
Please wear a mask. Our usher team will direct you on the one-way to enter and exit. They will assist with seating your family and/or will advise that you space 6 ft. from the family beside you. Please stay seated until the postlude is complete and the ushers will dismiss you by rows.
Please bring your own water if needed. Please only use the restrooms if needed and we ask that you do not gather in the restrooms.
9. Can I wear a mask?
As of July 2nd, it is required that you do so. Please, remember, everyone will not have the same habits during this time so we ask that everyone be kind, sensitive, and accepting of all who wear or do not wear additional protective gear (gloves, and the like).
10. Will there be communion?
Yes!!! On the first Sunday of the month we ask that you have communion elements ready for in-home communion during online services, or, communion will be offered in services (note that it may not be the traditional way of receiving communion, please follow the lead of the Pastors, Worship Leaders and/or Ushers). We are also offering Drive-In Communion on Sundays at 8:30 AM through the end of September.
11. Why re-open and then close again?
We are following the city health trends and making the best decisions possible. We feel we are better together, but when it is safer to remain home we are okay doing so.
12. What other outdoor events are coming up?
Follow coker.org/events for details on all happenings. Note: Please follow this page, coker.org/coronavirus, and coker.org/events for continued updates on in-person offerings- all in-person events are subject to change based on the current state of our city.
13. Can I attend yet still give via mail or on-line giving?
Yes!!! We are grateful for your faithfulness to give during this time and celebrate the fact that God is providing for His church through His people and their faithfulness in giving. Giving online is available at coker.org/Donate.
14. What about the staff? The CELC? The Food Pantry?
The staff is working from home and/or onsite at a limited capacity. Temperature checks are required of the staff before reporting to work. Reception volunteers will be in the front office when it is safe to do so. It is best if you e-mail the staff directly to set up a meeting time if you need to meet with them- and they can meet via Zoom or in person. The CELC can be contacted directly for current operations. The Food pantry will resume and will continue to make necessary modifications to ensure safety.
15. We keep hearing about the Vulnerable Population, what are the rules for them?
We do not want anyone to feel marginalized, but we do need to encourage those who believe they fall into the vulnerable population to worship online-only. Vulnerable Populations, as defined by the COVID-19 Task Force of the USA, are those who are elderly and/or those who have serious underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and those whose immune systems are compromised (such as by chemotherapy or cancer and other conditions requiring therapy).
16. When will we return to “normal”?
We feel God is calling us away from the way ministry has always been done and into fresh expressions of what He wants ministry to look like now. So, moving forward, we may see more of a hybrid approach to ministry (Using both Online and in-person meeting options), worshiping outdoors, etc. Each ministry area is determining the best approach for their ministry, and the task force will continue to meet as long as needed to discuss developments in gathering during the pandemic. We want to keep the lines of communication open with you- so e-mail us anytime at Communications@coker.org for updates or to share your thoughts.
Pastor Adam continues to encourage us all to follow our calling in Philippians 2:3-4, and Romans 5:3-5. He shares that “the perseverance and resilience that we have and continue to develop in the season will not be in vain. The Lord is at work, and we are part of that- our reach has multiplied exponentially during this season and we praise God for it, and we do not want to waste a moment.”