Reopening Plans

We will begin gathering in-person on Sunday, June 14

The pastors are grateful to God for his provision and we are grateful for you, the people of Sojourn New Albany, for your continued support and patience. As we stated in our original re-opening plan, we are taking a deliberately slow and methodical approach to resuming in-person gatherings. This will continue even as we resume gathering in person on Sundays. The Lord has been generous and faithful to us these past few months and we are confident he will continue to provide for us as we seek his wisdom and direction.

Below is our plan to get us into August when we will resume all aspects of our in-person gatherings. What follows is subject to change as we hold these, as with all of our plans, loosely from a posture of trust in the Lord.

Through June and July we ask that vulnerable individuals continue worshiping at home (see CDC guidelines for definitions of vulnerable individuals). Additionally, please stay home if you are sick, have a fever, or have been in recent contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. We also ask children to stay home and worship online with either mom or dad until 6/28/20.

Finally, a member is an individual who has attended a membership class, completed their member interview, and been installed during a member meeting in accordance with our by-laws.

A regular attender is an individual who considers Sojourn Church New Albany their church home but has not yet moved forward in the membership process.

A visitor is an individual who desires to attend Sojourn Church New Albany gatherings but is unsure if they will continue to do so in the future.

Future Sundays

We will resume two in-person services with several temporary modifications:

  • Services times will be 9am and 11:30am to allow extra time for cleaning.
  • Dads should stay home and worship online with their children.
  • This service will not be open for visitors (unless brought by a member/regular attender)
  • We will maintain social distancing upon entering and exiting, with additional space provided while in the auditorium
  • We will refrain from touching one another throughout the service
  • Coffee and print bulletins will not be available
  • Communion will be available in single-serving containers at a table in the auditorium
  • Giving boxes will be available near the communion table
  • We request you wear a face covering while entering, exiting, and during the singing portions of our service during (they may be removed during the sermon)
  • Service times will be 9am and 11:30am to allow extra time for cleaning
  • Moms should stay home and worship online with their children
  • Vulnerable individuals are encouraged to continue worshiping online at home
  • This service will not be open for visitors (unless brought by a member/regular attender)
  • We will maintain social distancing upon entering and exiting, with additional space provided while in the auditorium
  • We will refrain from touching one another throughout the service
  • Coffee and print bulletins will not be available
  • Communion will be available in single-serving containers at a table in the auditorium
  • Giving boxes will be available near the communion table
  • We request you wear a face covering while entering, exiting, and during the singing portions of our service (they may be removed during the sermon)
  • At this time, Community Groups may begin gathering in groups of 25 or less. We encourage groups to continue following CDC recommendations for social gatherings.
  • Service times will be 9 and 11am
  • This will be an all-together Sunday (family style service with children in the auditorium)
  • This service will not be open for visitors (unless brought by a member/regular attender)
  • We will maintain social distancing upon entering and exiting, with additional space provided while in the auditorium
  • We will refrain from touching one another throughout the service
  • Print bulletins will not be available
  • Members of the Connect Team will provide full-service coffee before and after the Gathering
  • Communion will be available in single-serving containers at a table in the auditorium
  • Giving boxes will be available near the communion table
  • We request you wear a face covering while entering, exiting, and during the singing portions of our service (masks may be removed during the sermon)
  • Service times will be 9 and 11am
  • This will be an all-together Sunday (family style service with children in the auditorium)
  • Vulnerable individuals are encouraged to continue worshiping online at home
  • Visitors will be welcomed again
  • We will maintain social distancing upon entering and exiting, with additional space provided while in the auditorium
  • We will refrain from touching one another throughout the service
  • Print bulletins will not be available
  • Members of the Connect Team will provide full-service coffee before and after the Gathering
  • Communion will be available in single-serving containers at a table in the auditorium
  • Giving boxes will be available near the communion table
  • We request you wear a face covering while entering, exiting, and during the singing portions of our service (masks may be removed during the sermon)
  • Service times will be 9 and 11am, masks mandatory at entry, exit and while singing
  • No Nursery/SojournKids classes until further notice. Use adult classroom as "wiggle room"
  • All individuals are welcomed to gather in-person
  • Self-serve coffee will resume
  • Communion will be available in single-serving containers at a table in the auditorium • Giving boxes will be available near the communion table
  • Community Groups may gather without any recommended modifications

FAQs

For months now the pastors have wrestled with our desire to gather in person again and the kind of in-person gathering we would be welcoming people back to. We feel particularly concerned for our children who are in impressionable stages of life. We are concerned about welcoming our children back into gatherings that feel more scary than safe, more distracting than worshipful. We desire a way forward that would allow us to have the least amount of restrictions for the greatest number of people.

Our survey results suggested that the majority of our parents would continue worshiping from home until SojournKids resumes. Asking dads and then moms to stay home and worship online with their children provides us two additional weeks of time before welcoming our children back into the gatherings. This gives us much welcomed time to see how the virus is progressing (or dying!) in our area while also providing moms and dads opportunities to gather in person on Sundays.

The doctors in our congregation have encouraged us to spread out as much as possible due to the increased volume of air produced when singing. While 6’ is likely a safe distance during normal conversation, additional space is more appropriate for times of singing. We had to choose between no singing at all and creating as much space as possible for singing with masks on. Sitting further apart with our masks on allows us to sing in person. Though strange and uncomfortable, we preferred to sing together rather than not.

Our church prioritizes the well being of our members first. After that, we look to those who call Sojourn New Albany home and attend regularly. The Sunday Gathering is first and foremost a time for Christians to worship God and be formed into his image through the liturgy. We welcome visitors to participate with us, but they are not the primary goal of our gatherings. We are excited to welcome anyone and everyone as soon as possible, but limiting visitors for a few weeks helps us to stretch the timeline of in-person gatherings and prioritize the health of our members.

That being said, we realize visitors may not receive this plan or any of our regular church communication. We realize that a dad may show up with his family on June 14, unaware we are asking moms only to attend. We will inform visitors of our plan when they arrive and, should they choose to stay, we will ask them to watch the service in the Classroom across from the auditorium.

Masks are a necessary inconvenience at the time. It’s a small way we can reduce the risk of unknowingly transmitting the virus to our brothers and sisters. That being said, no one enjoys wearing a mask (not even our doctors). Given the risk involved while singing and the close proximity we may find ourselves in while entering and exiting, wearing a mask is a simple way we can care for our brothers and sisters. By spacing our seating out to allow for additional space, we believe we can safely listen to the sermon without wearing our face coverings.


Moving forward

As we said in our initial plans, part of what it means to belong to one another is to commit to thinking the best of one another. We will strive to show one another grace and generosity. Like Christ, we will choose to lay down our rights and preferences for one another. We know aspects of this are uncomfortable and inconvenient, but they are also temporary. We will not question the faith of those who choose to stay home even into the Fall. We will rejoice in our inconveniences and receive them as invitations to further identity with Jesus who, though he was God, did not think equality with God was something to cling to. Instead, he took the humble position of a servant. What a privilege we have in the weeks to come to learn more of what that means by laying our rights and preferences down for each other as Christ laid his rights and preferences down for us.

Finally, we must all recognize that much about COVID-19 remains unknown, including treatments, vaccines, future models, and best practices. We pray this timeline can be accelerated while knowing it may need to be delayed. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact one of your pastors. We remain grateful for you and continue praying God’s peace and provision to you.

Lachlan Coffey
Bobby Gilles
Sam Huff
Travis McGowen
Stephen Pierce
Jonah Sage

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Sojourn Collective 1303 S Shelby St Louisville, KY 40217 · sojourn@sojournchurch.com · (502) 635-7053