Return to Worship Protocol

Revised August 23, 2020

As we anticipate returning to gathered worship on June 7th your Leadership Council has developed the following protocol for the safety and reassurance of our members and attenders. Even though June 7th is several weeks away, we are releasing this information today so that you will have sufficient time to become familiar with the Return to Worship Protocol and plan accordingly.

Please note that this protocol is based on what we know right now and is subject to modification as more information becomes available. On Friday, May 8th, Governor Ivey lifted the portion of the public health order that restricted non-work gatherings to 10 people or less. This action makes it possible for us to proceed with our plans for returning to gathered worship.

We will follow all applicable state, county and city guidelines when returning to gathered worship. Please note, the City of Birmingham currently requires the use of masks or other face-coverings when in a public venue. You will be required to wear an appropriate face-covering while on our campus. The Birmingham City Ordinance has expired. We are currently under a statewide Health Order that exempts churches from compliance. We will continue to require face coverings except during the preaching portion of the worship service.

For those who are in an at-risk category or who are unable or uncomfortable returning to gathered worship at this time, we will continue to provide the modified on-line worship experience. If you are showing any symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell) or have been around someone who is sick, please continue participating in our on-line service until you have been tested, cleared, and pose no obvious health concern for others.

As previously announced, all other services and activities on our campus are cancelled until further notice. As the pandemic subsides and other restrictions are lifted, we will complete and implement other phases of the reopening plan. Visit our church website at for the latest updates. We are exploring the possibility of resuming on-campus Sunday School classes in October and will provide updates when they are available.

  • Parking
    1. We will reserve the Welcome Center parking lot for those who require use of the elevator.
    2. All others should park in the Worship Center lot or one of the Recreation Center lots.
    3. Because the ability to visit in the Worship Center will be limited, we encourage you to visit with one another in the parking lot while maintaining social distancing.
  • Enter via Worship Center and Welcome Center doors.
    1. The Worship Center and Welcome Center doors will open at 10:00. All other doors will be secured.
    2. The Welcome Center entrance is reserved for worshipers who require use of the elevator.
    3. For others who are not comfortable or who cannot climb the stairs, we encourage you to use the ramps at the front of the Worship Center. Please use the handrails for your safety.
    4. We ask that you maintain appropriate social distancing as you approach the entrance.
    5. We will have three Greeters at the Worship Center doors and two at the Welcome Center.
      • Our Greeters will wear facemasks and gloves and will open the door for you.
      • If a Greeter is not available to open the door for you, please wait for one to return or proceed to another door that has a Greeter present.
    6. As a matter of utmost caution, someone will scan your temperature and gently turn you away if you have a temperature of 99.5 or higher.
    7. Since our goal is to provide you with a “no-contact” entrance into the worship center, we will have no bulletins to hand out.
    8. We will have hand sanitizing stations inside the Worship Center and Welcome Center lobbies for you to use prior to entering the Worship Center.
  • Hallways, bathrooms, and the elevator.
    1. If you must use a hallway, please follow social distancing protocols by maintaining six feet of separation.
    2. Bathrooms on the first floor of the A Building, the Choir Suite, and the Fellowship Hall will be opened for emergency use.
      • We ask that no more than one person be inside the restroom at the time, unless it is absolutely necessary.
      • Please wash your hands upon entering the restroom and prior to leaving.
      • Bathrooms will be cleaned and disinfected prior to the service.
      • Bathrooms will not be cleaned or disinfected during the service.
    3. We will limit the elevator to those who must use it and to one person or family at a time.
  • Worship Center
    1. We will have two hosts inside the Worship Center to assist worshipers with understanding and following these guidelines.
    2. We will not have children’s church until further notice. Families will need to sit together.
    3. Every-other pew will be closed to seating in order to maintain appropriate distancing.
    4. The transepts and balconies will be closed to general seating. Members of the worship team and their families may sit in the lower transepts as long as they follow social distancing protocols.
    5. Hymnals and pew Bibles have been removed from the racks and placed in the seats of closed pews. Please do not handle them.
    6. The knitted shawls have been taken to the cleaners and will be stored for future use.
    7. Sit beginning at the ends of the pews that are open with everyone maintaining six feet of separation from others except those who reside in the same household.
    8. We will greet one another with a holy wave (no physical contact).
      • We want you to enjoy conversations with one another from your seats.
      • Only the church staff, worship team, greeters, and worship center hosts should be walking around inside the Worship Center.
    9. Our Greeters will prop open the exit doors at the end of the service so that you may leave the Worship Center with no contact.
      • We will dismiss in an orderly manner, much like we left the cafeteria when we were in elementary school (except we won’t be holding hands}.
      • Following the service, ushers will be stationed at the exit doors to receive your tithes and offerings without contact.
      • Please use the handrails as necessary for your safety as you leave.
    10. Please visit with one another in the parking lot as you maintain appropriate distancing.

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