Frequently Asked Questions
Who should come?
If you or others in your household are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, please continue to watch the service online. Also, if you are not comfortable coming to the in-person service under the conditions we’ve outlined here, please feel free to participate online until conditions change. In this season where many are providentially hindered from attending corporate worship, please feel the freedom to participate when and how you can.
Will we continue to have services online?
Yes! We will continue to present a pre-recorded service online every Sunday just as we have been for the last several months. The sermon, songs, and announcements will be the same as the in-person service. Also, we recently ordered video equipment that will allow us to provide a high quality live stream in the coming months. We're not the only church buying cameras, though, so they are still on the way. Stay tuned!
What has been done to prepare for a safe indoor worship service?
We commissioned Healthy Buildings International to conduct a Proactive Pandemic Site Inspection as part of a Re-occupancy Building Inspection Program. During the inspection, the heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems were examined, the ventilation rates and filtration standards were reviewed, overall maintenance levels and janitorial effectiveness were assessed, and representative samples of indoor air and water were collected for analysis. The conclusion of their investigation includes the statement,
"All qualitative and quantitative analysis conducted during this proactive inspection indicate excellent indoor environmental quality in this building. Covenant Life Church demonstrates a commitment to providing high standards of indoor environmental quality and janitorial effectiveness for building occupants and staff."
You can read their executive summary here.
In addition, we’ve intensified cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation throughout the building. We’ve ensured we can and will meet the CDC and Montgomery County guidelines for religious services. And we’ve consulted with church members who have medical and public health expertise on every aspect of our building reopening plans.
Why do I need to register?
Pre-registration will help us ensure we are within the 130 household capacity in the auditorium. If it appears we may exceed our present limitations, we will explore alternatives for expanding capacity. Registration also enables us to contact anyone who has attended a particular service if contact tracing or other notifications become necessary.
What’s up with social distancing and face coverings?
For many, this will be the toughest part about gathering under the current conditions. Physical expressions of warmth, friendship and affection are a natural and God-glorifying part of our normal life together. And nobody likes wearing masks. But due to the way COVID-19 spreads, the near universal guidance from public health officials and civic leaders is that we should maintain social distance from each other, especially in larger gatherings. Directives on face coverings have only been expanded both nationally and in Maryland over recent weeks.
We are complying with these directives not because we are ceding the church’s authority to the state. We have not and will not. We are complying out of love for neighbor, respect for government, and witness to the world. Religious communities currently have significant latitude for gathering compared to other groups and organizations in our area. We don’t want to squander this opportunity to be good witnesses and good neighbors as we move ahead with in-person gatherings. We want to do our part as good neighbors to slow the spread.
While we navigate the public health protocols, we are also navigating relationships. Individuals in the church will have varying levels of comfort with physical proximity and contact. While you may be completely fine with closer proximity or touch, many others aren’t. We can love our brothers and sisters well in this season by expressing friendship and warmth in ways that don’t violate another’s conscience. As we’ve heard, “there is a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.” (Ecclesiastes 3)
What about singing?
Public health organizations have warned that congregational singing may pose greater risks for the spread of coronavirus. For this reason, we are moving our time of singing to the end of the service and will dismiss everyone from the auditorium at the conclusion. This will limit exposure and allow those who prefer not to participate in singing to exit the auditorium early. For now, we will also sing fewer songs.
What about Sunday Serving Teams?
Sunday Serving Teams are the backbone of normal Sunday services. However, in this unique season, we have simplified our Sunday operations so that every member can decide, without any pressure, whether he or she is ready to attend and serve in-person. The same criteria as shown above in “Who should come?” applies to serving teams: if you are in a high-risk population or simply are not ready to return, we want you to participate online without any reservation. However, if you are ready to serve in-person, we could definitely use your help. Contact Dave Wilcox or your team leader if you'd like to be involved.