July 2, 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 11 in-person worship in English and Spanish on June 7 (with social distancing & masks).
As of June 27th we have returned to online only worship (not in person) until further notice.
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 are also expanding online offerings in the fall, details to come.
2. What services will be provided in July?
NO IN-PERSON SERVICES, Online Only…
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.
Praise in the Parking Lot:
June 28th- Is Cancelled
July 5th- Moved to Online (Time TBD)
Please follow this page, coker.org/coronavirus, and coker.org/events for continued updates.
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?
When the campus is open, the nursery will be open to ages 5 and under. Coker Kids and Coker Youth activities will remain primarily online. Parents will continue to be notified as things evolve and are invited to reach out to Family Ministries any time for updates Email.
5. What about Sunday School Classes & Recovery Groups?
As of June 27th, Sunday School Class leads and recovery groups as asked to meet online only. Once safe to do so once again, class leads can reach out to Gail Hatcher & Laura Pettit if they would like to resume meeting on campus. We have some larger rooms or outdoor spaces available and are asking that the groups rotate using them (example classes can do three weeks on Zoom and one week in person, or, meet outdoors, or meet at another day/time on campus, or classes can opt for a hybrid- in-person and online meeting… if you are in a class please contact the class leader for further instructions).
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?
Note that as of June 27th, we are back to online only worship until further notice. When we are able to meet again the following will apply:
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 (and if you do not have one, we will have a mask for you). 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, we will hold off in providing Coffee or water at this time. Please only use the restrooms if needed and we ask that you do not gather in the restrooms (and prefer if only one person is in the restroom at a time).
For the first few weeks after we re-opened in-person worship, music was designed to be listened to only depending on the current COVID cases in our city we may allow singing in masks at some point, so please follow the lead of the Worship Leaders, Pastors and/or Ushers.
9. Can I wear a mask?
As of July 2nd, it is required that you do so… if you do not have one, we will have some to hand out. 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).
11. What about summer mission trips? Sports Camp? VBS?
VBS is rescheduled to 2021, AO Sports Camp is cancelled as of June 27th, Submerge Mission Trips are cancelled as well. Please contact Cheryl.Kendall@coker.org to learn more.
12. 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.
13. What other outdoor events are coming up?
When it is safe to meet again, we will discuss outdoor worship options. Follow coker.org/events for details. 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.
14. 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.
15. What about support groups?
As mentioned in #5, when it is safe to be in person again, Recovery Groups can contact Laura.Pettit@coker.org for details on safely gathering. We ask that other groups continue their meetings online or contact Laura Pettit to ask about availability of outdoor spaces and/or larger gathering spaces. Any group meeting on campus will need to adhere to two of the three “best practices” when gathering. The Best practices include: -Wear a Mask, -Stay 6′ apart, -Limit indoor congregating.
16. 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.
17. 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).
18. 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.”