Posted by Bobette Hatteberg, Children’s Ministry Director
There’s something so special about my annual family reunions – reminiscing, laughing, seeing how much the little ones have grown, catching up on family news, meeting new additions to the family, sharing what God has been doing in our lives…the list goes on! It’s a sweet, sweet thing!
Sunday, June 7th will no doubt be the same kind of day – a family reunion for our Cornerstone Church family! After twelve Sundays of not being together we will be regathering!!!! I cannot wait to see each of you, to see how the kids have grown and to worship side-by-side. What joyous praise will ring out on the church lawn and throughout our community!
I want to come alongside you as you prepare your family for this regathering. Things will be different – but no less sweet! We need to help our families be ready for the adjustments so we can all feel safe, enjoy the time worshiping together, and be a testimony to our community that we care about the health of our neighbors.
Safety practices and Set up:
- The church service will be outdoors behind the church: Services will be held on the lawn behind the church, south of the building. The stage will be set up next to the wall behind the classroom wing. An area will be marked off in front of the stage so that no one is sitting too close to the singers/preacher. Bring your own lawn chairs, tarp, blankets to sit on.
- Stay with Mom and Dad at all times: Walk directly to the lawn behind the church as soon as you exit your car. Households should stay together once they exit the car, during the service, and as they leave. There will be no Children’s Ministry.
- We’ll all be together, but further apart: Show your kids what a 6-foot distance looks like. We’ll have 8-foot aisles marked in the grass to allow for safe movement. Households will sit together, spaced 6 feet away from other households. Households are encouraged to remain at this 6-foot distance as you visit with other households.
- Masks are encouraged. Decide ahead of time if you will wear masks. It’s a good idea to practice wearing them for a while at home if you will be wearing them on Sunday.
- Go to the restroom before you arrive! We ask that no on enter the building except for emergency use of restrooms. Services will be only one hour long.
- Sanitizer stations will be available. Do not touch others. Use a Kleenex or your elbow if you need to sneeze.
I will be providing a worship bag for each child. This bag will contain sermon-related activity pages, crayons, a pencil, a bagged snack, and a sturdy piece of chipboard to use as a writing surface. These will be on a table labeled Preschool and a table labeled Elementary as you enter the south lawn from the parking lot. Bags will be spread out on the table so you can grab one for each of your children. (I’ll continue to send the resources I have been to use during the week.)
How to prepare your family:
- Talk through the safety practices and why these are important. Answer any questions your children may have. Some of the questions I’ve heard kids ask are:
- Can I talk to my friend? (Yes, but you’ll need to stay with us as a family to do that and we’ll have to stay apart from them.)
- Can I hug my friend? (No, but let’s make up a fun greeting we can use instead.)
- Is my friend coming to the service? (I don’t know, let’s call them and ask them to come.)
- Can I play carpet ball or gaga ball while we’re there? (Unfortunately, not yet. We’ll just be there for the church service.)
- Will we have Sunday School? (No, we’ll all go to church together. But I bet you’ll see some of your Sunday School teachers there!)
- Think of scenarios you may encounter and talk about how to handle them.
- e.g.: another child is running around, away from their family seating area. Your child wants to join them.
- e.g.: another person approaches you and starts to hug you.
- Role play ways to greet friends. Maybe you can have a special wave, a little dance or a gesture to use instead of a hug or high five.
- Discuss how they can participate in the service.
- Walk through the service order and instruct them in how to participate: Eyes closed during prayer, singing joyfully during praise and worship, sitting quietly during the message, taking notes, or coloring the related page provided.
- Learn the memory verse for the week and listen to the worship songs ahead of time that will be sung. It will be much easier for them to participate when they are familiar with what they will hear. Sunday Worship Play List
- Pray for the service. There are many set up details and plans that are going into this to make it successful, but there are also many variables we cannot control, such as the weather.
- Pray for people who live on the streets around the church. We have invited them to join us and have let them know what safety precautions we are taking to keep our community safe. We want to be a good testimony and also make them feel welcome. If they don’t come they may hear some of our service since it’s outside!
- The night before, remind everyone of the safety practices and put things in the car that you’ll need: Lawn chairs, Bibles, and masks if you will be wearing them.
- After the service encourage your child in the things they did well. In areas where they still need to grow, practice and role play how to improve in those areas for next week.
- During the week apply something from the service. Work on a specific area of character mentioned during the message. Send a card to someone mentioned during family prayer. Learn the songs for next week.
How to decide if your family should attend our gatherings?
- Only you can decide: Each family has to make a decision about their own comfort level regarding regathering. As a church we have put into place safety practices that we believe will lessen the chance of spreading the virus. But with any interaction outside your household there is risk. Only you can decide your comfort level in attending a large group gathering. We encourage you to attend, but trust your judgment for your particular situation.
- You should NOT attend if you or anyone in your household has symptoms, is ill, has a fever or has been exposed to the COVID 19 virus in the past two weeks.
- Children will be less distracting than you think. Because we are outside and distanced from each other you may feel your children are a little less distracting than you think. Preparing them for what to expect, the guidelines they need to follow, etc. will go a long way toward helping your family enjoy the morning. This is an opportunity to train your children to be flexible and to learn a new (temporary) way to worship the Lord.