May 26, 2020
Dear Iron Mill Church Family,
We have missed gathering for worship, and we now feel comfortable beginning to gather again as a church family. We are planning on reopening the church during the week of June 1st. On Sunday, June 7th we will begin holding our two regular services at 9:00AM and 11:00AM. The only exception to that will be Sunday, June 21 which will be one outdoor baptism service at 10:00AM.
Our services will be a “family style” service, meaning we will not be offering childcare. Instead we will be offering a discipleship experience through our service which will engage children, students, and adults. Our children’s ministry will also provide coloring sheets for children to fill in during the service.
As you know, Montour County, Columbia County and Northumberland County recently moved from Red to Yellow. Montour County will move to green on May 29th.
When we meet face to face, we will rope off every other pew so that we are social distancing indoors as best possible. All Bibles and pew pads will be removed. No offering will be passed, and there will be no one handing you a bulletin. Instead, you will pick up a bulletin off a table in the lobby, and there will be a bucket for you to deposit your offering, should you so choose.
We will continue to record our service and provide our online discipleship experience through Facebook, and our website www.ironmillchurch.com/sermons/.
We will follow these guidelines for gathering:
Persons over the age of 65 and those with preexisting conditions are considered most susceptible to Covid-19. If you fall into that category, the elders are recommending that you wait to attend public services until all restrictions in our counties are lifted. However, with that said, it is ultimately your decision and your responsibility. Anytime we go to a store or gather with others we are taking risks. You must personally and prayerfully decide what risks are wise for you to take. If you desire to attend, you will certainly be welcome.
If you are feeling ill, have a fever or are experiencing any symptoms related to Covid-19, please do not attend. For a list of symptoms go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html.
If you are not yet comfortable attending, don’t feel pressure to attend. We know that some of you may feel guilty about not being part of the first group to attend. We know you desire to be with God’s people, but that does not mean you need to attend right now. If you need help thinking this through, please contact Pastor Jason or one of the Elders
Face Masks: We ask all those who attend to wear a face mask in the building. We have both adults and children who are immunosuppressed and want to ensure a safe worship space for everyone. Be sure to bring your own face mask, if you have one. We will have a limited number to distribute. We know some may not be excited about this guideline yet we feel this is one way we can set aside our ideals and love audaciously by serving others through wearing a mask.
Childcare: We will not be providing childcare (nursery, Sunday School) until more restrictions are lifted. We ask that parents keep their children with them before, during, and after any gatherings. The Parents room will be available for those with infants.
Physical Contact: We want to discourage you from shaking hands and giving hugs until all restrictions are lifted. Once service is dismissed we ask that you gather outside on the grass to visit rather than staying in the lobby.
Cleaning: High contact surfaces will be cleaned after each service to ensure a sanitary worship space.
As the number of people permitted to gather increases, we will make adjustments to this plan accordingly. Just like reopening businesses and our economy will take longer than expected, so will the regathering of the church. We are prepared to have our plans changed by changing circumstances. We know we won’t get this exactly right, but we know that God will bless our desire to serve you, his people.
Let’s pray that the Lord would give us wisdom according to James 1:5 – “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.” Please pray for myself and the Elders as we make these decisions. We all need wisdom from God, and we need the Holy Spirit to lead us to make decisions and to live, not according to fear, but according to power and love and self-control.
May God enable us to love audaciously during this season,
Update: July 22, 2020
From the Elders and Pastor Jason
"We are aware of the recent changes Gov. Wolf has made concerning indoor gatherings. Religious Organizations are exempt from those orders so we will continue with our regular Sunday Morning services while still practicing social distancing and wearing masks."
Update: October 10, 2020
From the Elders and Pastor Jason
"We have noticed that our sanctuary is getting quite full with every other pew closed off. We are going to try to create more space by opening one more pew in the front of the sanctuary. If you are comfortable sitting in a closer space please sit in the front rows. If you feel you need more of a socially distanced space, please sit in the back pews. We are just experimenting with this, if we feel it is not helpful we will re-evaluate."