Outdoor Worship Service

Outdoor Worship Service

Temporarily Suspended Due to Covid-19 Health & Wellness Concerns

Our leadership has been closely monitoring the ever-changing status of the COVID-19 in our area. Simpsonwood is committed to doing all we can to proactively protect and care for our congregation and community.

After much prayer and consideration, Simpsonwood will be following the guidance of the North Georgia Conference in regard to resuming in-person worship and activities. From the Conference:

In an attempt to provide consistency for decision making within the district and conference, we urge you and your congregation to do the following depending on your county’s risk level (“in-person gatherings” include worship, small groups/bible studies, and youth and children’s programming):

Red – No in-person gatherings and staff working remotely.
Orange – In-person gatherings held outdoors and staff working onsite while meeting local, state, and CDC guidelines.
Yellow – In-person gatherings can return indoors while meeting local, state, and CDC guidelines.
Green – Resume full operations.

The conference will be using this tool to determine the color level of each county. Gwinnett County’s current level is RED and the trend is growing. For that reason, Simpsonwood will be temporarily suspending our Outdoor Worship Service until Gwinnett County is consistently trending ORANGE and our Health & Wellness Committee deems it safe to resume outdoor, in-person worship.

A Message to the Congregation from the Health & Wellness Team

I know we are all missing our Simpsonwood UMC family, and the Health Committee has been meeting weekly to assess and plan for reopening our church campus. We wanted to share a little about what we have been working on and the steps we are taking to get us back to campus. We have reviewed the feedback we received from the survey  (results in link), walked through the various buildings to assess them, reviewed lots of data, and discussed multiple scenarios. While there is still much work to be done, we are actively working with the church staff to plan for our regathering. We anticipate a phased reopening process which will mean that everything will not start back up immediately. We will add on events and activities as the Health Committee deems prudent given recommendations from health experts and the Bishop.

The first thing  to note from our new DS Dr. Rodrigo Cruz. At this time, because of the specific outbreak within Gwinnett County, it is the recommendation to not worship indoors together just yet. The situation is being monitored and we will stay in dialogue about this as churches in Gwinnett work with our new DS, Dr. Cruz.

Phase 1:

In-Person Worship, Beginning with Outdoor Only July 5th.

We are eagerly planning a safe reopening of our church campus in the near future. On July 5 th , we will join together for “in-person worship”  outdoors.  As kids go back to school in the late summer “in-person worship” will move into the  Family Life Center  (FLC) for a larger service and into the Sanctuary for a smaller service for those that are more vulnerable. The outdoor worship will take place in the parking lot space that is shaded just outside the Sanctuary to the East and South. (See above video for a visual) Worship in both the outdoor and indoor formats will require masks and social distancing, and smaller crowds. As we get closer to these reopening events, we will share the specific details of what each of these worship opportunities will look like and what you should expect.

During Phase 1, worship will be the only event taking place and live stream/recorded services will still be available. Grow Groups will continue to meet online. We know worship will look different when we are allowed to physically gather. The changes that we have had to consider are hard ones, but ones that we have thoughtfully researched to keep our congregation healthy when we return.

Later Phases:

The Health Committee is continuing to develop a plan for later phases of our reopening process that will determine when our Grow Groups, children/youth programming, and other services can commence again on campus. While these plans are being drafted, we wanted to be able to move forward with in-person worship. We know this will be a slow process, and we ask for your patience and prayers as we navigate these waters. We must remember that each phase in the reopening process is getting us one step closer to the worship we all know and love.

I have reminded the Health Committee multiple times that the church is not closed. The building is closed. It reminds me of a song we have all sung in church for years. As we work to getting back together physically, let us remember that “We are the church” and the “church is not a building.” The pandemic cannot take this away from us. Church family – we will be together soon.

I am the church! You are the church!

I am the church! You are the church!
We are the church together!
All who follow Jesus,
all around the world!

Yes, we’re the church together!

The church is not a building;

the church is not a steeple;
the church is not a resting place;

the church is a people.

Peace to you all Simpsonwood family,

Michelle Wynn

Health & Wellness Team, Committee Chair

To view results of the Health & Wellness Team’s
Return to Campus Questionnaire, click here .

Simpsonwood UMC In-Person Worship Policy & Procedures

First, and most importantly, if you do not feel ready to return to in-person worship our Virtual Sunday Worship Service will continue to be posted online every Sunday at 10:00am. We also ask that anyone who is feeling ill at all, please stay home and enjoy our online service.

Service will begin at 9:00am in the church parking lot to the East of the Sanctuary (near the youth trailer). It is estimated that the service will last approximately 30 minutes. During this time the parking lot is shaded and has been treated for mosquitoes in order to make our outdoor venue more comfortable. Water bottles will be available but in order to minimize transferring items between people, please feel free to bring your own from home. Additionally, no programs will be distributed, so if you’d like a fan please bring your own from home.

Face Coverings

During your time on Simpsonwood’s campus, face coverings must be on and properly worn. We ask that everyone bring their own face coverings, but masks will be available at the hospitality tables, just in case anyone forgets.

Social Distancing

During your time on Simpsonwood’s campus, social distancing of 6ft will be required at all times. This includes the worship area, the parking lot, and the indoor restroom facilities.

Seating

Benches with seating pads and folding chairs will be set up prior to the congregation’s arrival. Worshipers are also welcome to bring their own chairs, too. If you need help carrying your chair from the car, there will be members of our staff and our Connections Team ready to assist you.

Bathrooms

Restrooms on the lower level of building A will be open. The doors to the building will remain open to reduce the touching of door handles. Members of the Connections Team will be monitoring the restrooms to reduce crowding.

*Children 5th grade and under must be accompanied by an adult to the restrooms*

Communion

On Communion Sunday, please stop by one of the high top hospitality tables to grab your pre-packaged communion on the way to your seat. Hand sanitizer will also be available at these tables.

Weather

In case of rain or other inclement weather, our outdoor service will be cancelled. Notification of this cancellation will be sent out via email and social media. The Virtual Sunday Worship Service will still be posted online.

Fellowship after Service

We know you are all excited to worship with your church family and to fellowship with those you have been missing. While doing so, please remember to keep your masks on, and to remain at a social distance of 6ft.

Parking

The parking lot entrance in front of the Sanctuary will be blocked off as part of our designated worship space. Please use the middle entrance to enter the parking lot. When leaving, please us the exit by Building C (the FLC).