FBC is in Phase One (Modified)

We’ve modified Phase One, inviting our entire Church family to join us at your individual discretion. 

Phase One Specifics For You

Below are answers to some of the most common questions about reopening. We recommend all Church members read the comprehensive and official plan, click here. It’s been updated with Phase One (M).
What's the "Modification" to Phase One?

We reopened for in-person worship June 7, and were delighted to discover that our safety-minded preparations did not inhibit the Church worshiping together in a safe manner. We’re ready to invite the entire Church family to join us at your individual discretion

What does “individual discretion” mean? It means we trust you to choose wisely based on your situation:

  • You might be over 65, but are in good condition and feel the risks are acceptable. You are welcome to come and worship.
  • You might be 25 and battling an autoimmune issue and know the risk is high. You are welcome to stay home and watch the livestream.
  • You might be unsure of your situation and what to do. Please stay home and watch the livestream.

We have safely prepared, and trust you to make a wise decision for yourself and your family. We support you either way!

What about Virginia being in Phase Two?

Governor Northam recognized the importance of churches by establishing a special status for churches during Virginia’s Phase One. Unfortunately, when Virginia moved to Phase Two, churches are still in our Phase One.

It’s confusing, we know!

While we are pursuing answers, we’ve modified Phase One as discussed above. Make sure you are getting our official newsletter, The Tie, to find out when we move to Phase Two.

What If I am still not sure what to do?

We want the return to worship to be a joyful one! To answer the question of what you should do, here’s what Pastor Rob had to say:

Some of you are going to Bodo’s, Walmart, Chick-fil-A, and Lowe’s every week. Your experience here at church is going to be similar to that, only stricter (because, unlike those places, we’re actually going to enforce social distancing once you’re inside). So, if that’s you, you might want to come attend in person.
Some of you are going to all of those places, wearing a mask, and maybe a mask and gloves. Maintain your personal status quo. You’re absolutely welcome to attend our worship service wearing all of those things.
Some of you have been inside your house since March 15. You’ve had your groceries delivered. You’ve had Amazon deliver everything else. You’ve cooked all your meals in your kitchen. If that has been your practice, then I’d recommend that you maintain your personal status quo and let us deliver the worship service to your home via live-streaming over the Internet.
We aren’t trying to change your personal status quo. We’re just giving the opportunity for people who have all along been going to the stores to come on Sunday, to an experience that will be like the Walmart experience, only quite a bit stricter about social distancing.
Everyone can make their own decisions, but my advice to people has been for them to maintain their own status quo. I hope that helps those who are uncertain about what to do.

What should I expect in a worship service?

It is definitely going to be different! While continuing our livestream, we’ve added in-person worship, limiting our seating to below 50% capacity. 

We are using the CDC recommendation of 6’ per person separation guideline both side-to-side as well as front to back. Seating will be limited to the main floor. Pews will be clearly marked indicating where people can sit and the space that is “unavailable,” just as stores are trying to do with placards / stickers indicating where to stand. Family units can sit together, provided they are residing in the same home.

We’ve anticipated using the youth worship space as an overflow. Essentially, people would have a group livestream experience there. Entry would be through a separate outside door at the back of the building. Because we use chairs in that space, we can implement the 6’ per person separation guideline fairly easily.

We will also limit access into and out of the building to the front wood doors for the sanctuary and one set of lower rear doors for the youth worship area. Doors will be clearly marked. There will be no internal access between the two worship locations. In addition, all external and internal doors will be propped open or held open by a Greeter / Life Safety Team member, to ensure a “touchless” entry.

We’ve thought through every aspect of the worship service with safety, preparation, and trust in mind. For example, offering plates will not be passed between congregants. Ushers will hold offering plates at the exit doors at the end of the service to receive the offering.

If you are in a vulnerable population, please use your individual discretion on whether to attend worship or not. We trust you will make a wise decision for yourself.

Make sure you are signed up for The Tie, our weekly newsletter to get all the updates.

Get The Tie

How do I know if I'm in a "vulnerable population"?

The term “vulnerable population” means any one of the following:

  • Individuals 65 years old and older
  • Individuals with serious underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and those whose immune systems are compromised (such as by chemotherapy or cancer and other conditions requiring such therapy)
  • We’re following the CDC guidelines on this, so for further questions, go to the CDC site
What if I think I have symptoms of COVID-19?

If you have, or may have, symptoms of COVID-19, stay home…and contact your doctor!

  • General Guidance: Each person has a responsibility to look out for the welfare of others. From the CDC – symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Or at least two of these symptoms
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Repeated shaking with chills
    • Muscle pain
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • New loss of taste or smell
Should I wear a mask?

Governor Northam has issues Executive Order 63 requiring adults to wear face coverings, commonly known as masks. All those who serve will be wearing a mask. You are welcome to wear a mask, gloves and any other personal protective equipment that you wish. We will have masks available for those who do not have one with them. 

Will my group/Sunday School class meet?

While classrooms on campus will not be available during Phase One of reopening, small groups/Sunday School classes may continue to meet online in Phase One, or meet in groups during the week practicing social distancing and high safety and health standards. 

Will there be restroom access?

Yes, but their access will be limited, particularly in Phase One. Also,  there will be attendants to ensure that all handles and surfaces are disinfected between uses. And, of course, signage reminding folks to wash their hands thoroughly.

Will there be Children's ministry for my kids?

There will be no Children’s Ministry available during Phase One. It is not possible to ask preschoolers to social distance! As such, we have determined that our “safest” approach is to follow the lead of the schools. Under the White House plan, schools are allowed to reopen in Phase Two. So, we anticipate some type of return to Children’s Ministry in Phase Two, although it will be limited in scope.

As always, you are welcome to bring your children any age to the worship service. Not only do we not mind, it’s a great way to introduce your children to worship. (And, yes, we know that means they will sometimes make noise. After this time of separation, we will all rejoice to have noise in our sanctuary once again.)

What about student ministry?

Most activities for the student ministry are limited to online. Some activities in our student ministry may return to normal, though those are limited by our below-50% constraint in any space. The best way to find out what’s happening is by signing up for the PSYM posts here:

PSYM Posts

Will the staff be available during the week?

FBC’s entire church staff have been hard at work this entire time, and will continue to be available by phone and email. During Phase One, our office will be open for limited operations. Please call ahead if you need a member of the staff.

What about the Worship Team & Choir?

During Phase One, our choir will not be singing as a group. We will have a worship team leading us from the platform as we sing in person and in our homes.

Will there be in-person ministry events?

Since most of our summer events take an enormous amount of preparation which we could not do, we had to cancel most summer activities. Like you, we want to get them going again! Want to know when an event will begin or open again? As always, our fun, fast, and informative weekly church newsletter The Tie will have all the details.

Get The Tie

Is there an "official" plan?

We tried to make this page answer your questions quickly. We know, however, that you may need a more comprehensive and official answer. Here you go:

Download the official plan

Best Practices in every phase

There is no question that we desire to gather in-person. But we are committed to doing so in a safe and responsible way. A phased plan will not only help avoid gathering too soon but also not hold our church in this online only era for longer than needed. Deciding how to move through the phases is rather complex. Although we are monitoring the situation and working in conjunction with our state and local authorities, the reality is our Governor will set the phases, the criteria, and precautions to be taken as restrictions are loosened. In addition, the White House has established a framework for a three phased approach to resuming activity and is probably close to what will be recommended. You can view that plan at the White House website at:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/#criteria.

In all phases of reopening we will use the following best practices for health safety:

  • Medical professionals: We will work with medical professionals to develop best practices related to the health of those attending in-person worship. Our Covid-19 Team will provide oversight and ensure we are adhering to basic health protocols.
  • General Guidance: Each person has a responsibility to look out for the welfare of others. From the CDC – symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Or at least two of these symptoms
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Repeated shaking with chills
    • Muscle pain
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • New loss of taste or smell
  • Appropriate social distancing: Since the standard is 6 feet for appropriate social distancing, we utilize that standard in calculating the distance between family units in pews, worship leaders, and all volunteers and staff.
  • Provide COVID-19 protection: We will offer masks, gloves, and hand sanitizing stations throughout the building and at exits and entrances.
  • Discourage personal contact: We will discontinue meet and greet times in worship and maintain social distancing.
  • Clean & clean again: We will do whatever it takes to ensure a clean building. Protocols have been implemented to reduce the spread of the virus on campus.
  • CDC Guidelines: Follow specific CDC guidance for childcare or educational programming for children and youth, as well as encouraging those with underlying health conditions to avoid in-person gatherings  

Detailed list from the CDC