What To Expect When You Return

Join Pastor Hopson for a walk-through

Questions & Answers

Have questions about our plans to resume public gatherings? Get answers here.

The decision to resume public gatherings at PBC was not made lightly. The elders understand that, given the volatility of the Covid-19 health crisis, it is unlikely that everyone will be happy with all these decisions. And honestly, that bothers us because we want you to be happy. But even in a small congregation like ours there are many differing opinions which makes pleasing everyone with everything an impossible goal. So what are our goals? Here are three to keep in mind.

Our first goal is to resume meeting (Hebrews 10:25). We strongly believe in the importance of the local gathering of the church. Zoom meetings and online worship services cannot possibly replace the physical gathering of God’s people. Therefore, it has been our intention to physically gather as soon as it was reasonably safe and legally permissible to do so.

Our second goal is to take reasonable steps to promote your safety (Mark 12:30-31). Of course, we cannot ensure your safety, any more than we could ensure your safety before this pandemic began. We live in a cursed and fallen world that, in the words of Martin Luther, “threatens to undo us.” We are foolish to think Covid-19 is the only threat to our safety. Nevertheless, in the face of a very real and serious health threat, it was right and wise to suspend our public gatherings for a season. Following the recommendations of government and health experts in the commonwealth, we now believe it is reasonably safe to resume public gatherings. But we will not resume everything the way it was before. For the time being, we will incorporate noticeable changes to how we normally meet to promote your safety.

Our third goal is to model biblical submission to our governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7). Scripture clearly teaches our government has been ordained by God for the common good of humanity. This is true, as it was in Paul’s day, even when our government sometimes makes decisions we don’t like or disagree with. In submission to our government we temporarily suspended our public gatherings. Now, in continued deference to them we will resume our public gatherings. But again, for a season we will resume these gatherings differently in order to comply with the government regulations that are intended for our safety.

Even if you take objection to what is (or is not) included in the following plans, please understand that everything was designed with love of God and love of neighbor in mind. May Paul’s encouragement to the Ephesians be our theme verses as we prepare to return: I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)

Gatherings will be held in our gym throughout Phase 1 (and perhaps longer) to allow us to maximize attendance in the safest way possible. 

Your willingness to attend PBC public gatherings is a personal decision based on your convictions and readiness to interact with others. We are putting safety precautions in place, but ultimately you are responsible for your own health and wellbeing.

Do NOT attend if . . .

  • You have traveled outside the US in the last 14 days
  • You have been diagnosed, presumed, positive, lived with or cared for someone with Covid-19
  • You or a member of your household had onset Covid-19 symptoms in the last 14 days. These include, but are not limited to: cough, difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat,  loss of taste or smell.

Do NOT attend if you believe you are high-risk, or you still do not feel safe to do so.

Do NOT attend if you have young children and are not willing to keep your children with you for the duration of the gathering. We will NOT offer any childcare in Phase 1 gatherings. The service will not exceed one hour to accommodate families with young children. If you choose to gather with us, please understand that you must keep your children with you for the duration of the gathering. This may be an excellent opportunity to teach your children how to sit still during a worship service. It may be helpful to come prepared with coloring sheets, crayons, etc. for your child (NOTE: we will not be providing anything so please bring it yourself!). A limited number of family rooms will be reserved for individual families based on need.

We will NOT offer any childcare in Phase 1 gatherings. The service will not exceed one hour to accommodate families with young children. If you choose to gather with us, please understand that you must keep your children with you for the duration of the gathering. This may be an excellent opportunity to teach your children how to sit still during a worship service. It may be helpful to come prepared with coloring sheets, crayons, etc. for your child (NOTE: we will not be providing anything so please bring it yourself!). A limited number of family rooms will be reserved for individual families based on need.

For those without young children, please be patient and understanding if children are a bit noisy in the service!

Executive Order 63 requires Virginians to wear face masks inside buildings where people congregate. Exceptions include:
  • People under the age of 10
  • While eating or drinking
  • While exercising
  • If you have trouble breathing or are unable to remove the mask without help
  • If your health conditions prohibit wearing a face covering
  • If you’re communicating with a hearing-impaired person, needing your mouth to be visible
Unless one of these exceptions apply to you, we will ask you to wear a mask during public services. Although it is not our responsibility to enforce this order, we are asking you in advance to comply. We will provide disposable masks for those who come unprepared.

We will continue offering an online alternative for those who do not attend.

Given the continued uncertainty and serious health risks caused by Covid-19, we understand that many members may still feel unsafe to gather. Please know you are free to delay gathering with us for a season. Although we place a high priority on the faithful gathering of God’s people (Hebrews 10:25), we realize these are highly unique times that require increased sensitivity. The elders foresee some members choosing to delay returning until Phase 3 begins. If that’s you, please communicate with the elders so we know how to serve you and pray for you during this time.

During Phase 1 online services will be encouraged for vulnerable populations. During Phase 2, online services will continue to be available to vulnerable populations. During Phase 3, online services will remain available, but will be discouraged for those who are physically able to attend.

  • The entrance door to the gym will be opened by the ushers at 10:15 AM. If you arrive in the parking lot before then, please remain in your cars until the doors open.
  • The doors should be propped open from 10:15 until the service begins. You should not have to open doors.
  • As you exit your cars and head towards the building, a team of two ushers stationed outside will greet you and instruct you  to line up in household units to be seated together. 
  • A team of four-six ushers will be inside seating household units together.
  • All ushers will wear face masks while they are ushering.
  • No paper bulletins will be distributed. An order of service will be emailed in advance and made available on the website.
  • When you are seated, ushers will instruct you to remain in your seats until you are dismissed, unless you need to use the restroom.
  • Although we encourage you to use the restroom at home so you do not have to get up, the two gym restrooms will be accessible before, during, and after the service. The doors will be propped open, so you do not have to touch the doors to enter. Cleaning materials will be provided so you can wipe down anything you touch after you use the restroom.

The service will begin at 10:30 AM every Sunday. We will begin with a welcomeand a few general instructions. After that, our order of service will be as follows:

  • Prayer of praise
  • Song
  • Prayer of confession
  • Song
  • New City Catechism
  • Pastoral Prayer
  • Sermon
  • Benediction

We plan to conclude at or before 11:30 AM every week.

Our custodian will thoroughly sanitize the gym area after services conclude. This will include wiping down doors, café tables, offering boxes, signs, podium, restrooms, and spraying all the seating. The music team will ensure all music and audio-visual equipment has been thoroughly sanitized between services.

We want you to remain in your seats during the service, but you are free to socialize in the parking lot after the service, providing you exercise strict social distancing.

Plans for the Future

What should we expect in the future as the health situation improves in the Commonwealth of Virginia? The following table outlines our tentative plans for the future. These are based on recommendations from the CDC, the Virginia governor’s office, and the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia. Everything here is subject to change.

 

Phase 1

(begins May 17)*

Phase 2

(as early as June 21)*

Phase 3

(as early as July 26)*

Vulnerable Populations * *

Stay home

Moderate distancing required

Discretionary

Online Access

Encouraged for vulnerable populations

Available for vulnerable populations

Available, but discouraged

Social Distancing

Moderate

Limited

Normal

Facemasks

Recommended in public

Recommended in public

Discretionary

Meeting Location

Gym

Gym

Worship Center

NextGen Ministries

Cancelled

Nursery only

Normal operation

Sunday School

Cancelled

Cancelled

Normal operation

Sunday Night Prayer

Zoom

Zoom

Normal operation

Fellowship Groups

Cancelled

Cancelled

Possibly resume in August

Weekly Care Groups

Continue

Continue

Disband

Office Staff

Limited hours

Normal operation

Normal operation

Worship Team

3-5 Max

Reduced based on social distancing

Normal activity

Other Ministries

Cancelled

Begin plans to resume

Normal activity

Outside Groups * * *

Cancelled

Cancelled or limited

Normal activity

 

* Based on health conditions and subject to change

* * Vulnerable Populations (quoted from the White House Coronavirus Task Force)

  • Elderly individuals
  • 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)

* * * E.g., American Heritage Girls, Narcotics Anonymous, etc.