After eighteen months of virtual worship, Park Avenue will be reopening for in-person worship in our sanctuary on Sunday, September 26th.
We will begin with a capacity of 38 congregants, not counting the church staff, choir, and livestream support team. All attendees will be required to register to attend (more information below) and will be able to select their seats in advance to ensure social distancing. The New York Annual Conference has asked that anyone considered to be “at-risk” for COVID-19 infection because of age, physical conditions, or any other reason not attend in-person worship at this time. Each service will continue to be live-streamed.
All attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination for entry and wear a face mask for the duration of the service. For this reason, we are limiting attendance to those 12 years and older. Children’s Sunday school will remain virtual.
We are following all guidelines from the conference, CDC, and New York City Department of Health regarding the sanitization of all surfaces, and the church staff is fully-vaccinated and will undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
How to Attend: Registration
All who attend will register via Eventbrite, and any information provided will be used for contact tracing. Registration will begin on Mondays at 6:00am and will end on Fridays at 5:00pm. You should expect to receive a reminder in your email inbox each Monday morning. Registration is first-come, first-serve, and only registered attendees will be permitted entry.
Sunday Service: Gathering
Because of health-check requirements, we are asking that all registered attendees arrive by 10:15am. The health check will include questions about potential exposure and any recent symptoms, a temperature, and confirmation of full vaccination. When you arrive at your pew, that morning’s bulletin will be waiting for you on your seat. At 10:55am, the front doors will close in preparation for the start of service and worship livestream.
Sunday Service: Worship Together
Worship will begin at 11:00am. For the time being, we ask that those who are gathered not sing aloud during service. Instead, the hymns will be led by four fully-vaccinated, socially-distanced choir members on the chancel. During service itself, we will not be collecting a physical offering. However, time will be provided for worshipers to donate online via PayPal or credit card. Any cash or checks given at the end of the service, dropped them in a box at the back of the sanctuary. And while we will still share Christ’s Peace during worship, we ask that you remain in your pew, sharing peace with one another in ways that do not require physical contact or excessive movement.
Sunday Service: Depart in Peace
All congregants are asked to depart immediately after worship, and there will be no line to greet the pastors. If you test positive for COVID-19 within ten days after attending an in-person service, we ask that you inform the church office for contact tracing. If any of the church staff, technical support team, or fellow congregants receive a positive test, we will contact you to let you know of potential exposure. Those who shared a service with anyone testing positive will be asked to not register for in-person worship for two weeks.
Please know that the church staff will be closely watching the COVID-19 data for New York City, reading any guidelines from governmental or church leaders, and be evaluating the safety of our service. In some instances, this may mean that the capacity will be increased or that other protocols will be lessened. In other instances, this may mean a decrease in capacity, stricter guidelines, or even suspension of the in-person aspect of worship. While we are all certainly excited to return, the health, safety, and wellbeing of our entire Park Avenue community remains our priority. If you have any questions about our reopening, please contact the church office at email@example.com.