Community Reformed Church

Fall 2020 Reopening Plan

The CRC staff and consistory have decided on the following plan as we move back into the building for Sunday morning worship and begin our fall Wednesday night activities.  We are excited to gather again together inside.


(We also sent our plan to Dr. Bruce Deckinga, Dr. Jerry VanKuiken, Dr. Ethan Morrical, and Amanda Thompson, who works for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan.  They affirmed our plan moving forward and asked some really good questions that we've addressed in the document below.  We are thankful for their input and advice.)


Worship Services

Beginning October 4th, we will offer an inside worship service at 10:00 a.m.  We will also continue to offer the online service at 9:00 a.m.  Based on our survey, we are anticipating up to 120 people would come for inside worship.   Masks will be required for all activities inside the church.


There will be two designated spaces inside the building for worship:

1)  Sanctuary - people will be socially distanced, wear masks, and be invited to sing (with masks on).

2)  Fellowship hall - people will be socially distanced, wear masks, and there will be no singing.  People will participate in the service via a screen where they can watch the service.


Ushers will help seat people based on their 'singing' preference and based on the capacity of each space.   Once capacity is met, people will be seated in whatever space is still available.



One of the most concerning aspects of returning is singing, because singing has a greater potential to spread germs.  In addition, singing is one very important aspect of worship that many of us don't want to give up.  It is why we will have a space for singing in the sanctuary AND  space in the fellowship hall for those who are uncomfortable with singing (or prefer not to sing).


* The worship leader and preacher will lead worship from the choir loft area of the stage and will be behind a protective barrier.  When speaking or singing, they will not wear a mask.


Arrival/Departure for Worship Service

We are asking that those coming to the 10:00am inside service, arrive at church no earlier than 9:50am.  Participants will be asked to sign in, sanitize their hands, grab a wristband (explained at the end of this document), and move directly to their seats for the worship service.  Please check your temperature at home before you come.  If your temperature is above normal and/or you don't feel well, please don't come to the in-person worship service.  Join us online.


When the service is over, ushers  will dismiss participants starting in the fellowship hall.  Please depart the building following the service and plan to fellowship outside.  We may be offering coffee and/or cider outside following our services to help provide opportunities for fellowship.


Sunday school for children will be available, and based on the survey, we are expecting 20-25 students. Masks will be required.  Children can be dropped off in the Son Room (right across from women's bathroom) when you arrive at church.


There will not be nursery available during the month of October.  We will reevaluate our plan for nursery for November.


Communion - We are still encouraging people to bring their own elements even to the in person services.  We will have disposable elements available for people to pick up.  We will not have people come forward for communion but we will remain in our seats for communion.


Offering - An offering box will be available at the entrance to the sanctuary and fellowship hall for tithes and offerings.  We will not pass the plates to collect the offering.



Wednesday Nights

Wednesday night activities will begin on October 7th.  Dinner from 5:30-6:00 p.m and classes from 6:00-6:45 p.m.  We are purposefully shortening class time to limit potential exposure.


Dinner will be handed out in disposable containers.  We will make this available to pick up for those who would prefer a take home meal option.  Tables will be spread out and only members of the same family will share a table.  Masks are required except when eating at your table.


We will offer 2 adult classes.  One will be online only.  The other class will be online and in person.  The online class will meet in the sanctuary so we can spread people out and stream the class online.  Masks are required.


The two class options:

               1)  Following Jesus in Anxious Times.  We will discuss some of the issues that are creating the anxiety and how we as followers of Jesus live out our faith in the midst of these        anxiety-laden times.  This class will be facilitated by Chip and will happen in the

                              sanctuary and be available online.  6:00 - 6:45pm, Wednesdays, Oct. 7 - Nov. 18th


               2)  Bible Immersion (online only).  There is a simplicity in just reading scripture together. Using a Bible designed for reading at length (the formatting of this bible removes all      headings and markers to engage it more freely), readers are invited to get lost in the                      stories, poetry, letters, and other literature that make up that grand narrative of the                          Scriptures. A simplified “book club” discussion model encourages groups to read large                  portions of the Bible and simply talk about what they read.  It’s not a Bible study. It ultimately an invitation to a vibrant, transformative relationship with God and with each other through reading his Word.  Reading, sharing, and listening will be key components to our time together.  Led by Chris Maki


Children's classes will be available.  Based on the survey we'd anticipate about 15 children participating in this option. Don't hesitate to contact Tammy Oliver with questions.


Junior high youth group will also happen and be led by Doug & Sue Bouwense.  They will meet in the area next to fellowship hall from 6:00-6:45pm.


Senior high youth group will take place monthly (not on Wednesday nights) and be led by Doug & Leslie Nitchman.  The schedule for these times will be sent directly to families and be communicated in our weekly emails.


Bathroom Use

Bathrooms will be available for all of these activities.  Please follow the instructions posted in the bathrooms.


Cleaning Protocol

Our plan has been determined based on the input of the Center for Disease & Control, recommendations from KSS Enterprises (supplier of cleaning supplies), and research done by staff and consistory.


We have purchased a commercial sprayer to disinfect common areas.  The disinfectant is approved by the EPA to kill the Covid virus.  This process will take place on Mondays and Fridays.  All areas used on Sundays and Wednesdays will be sanitized.  It is difficult to disinfect our seat cushions in the pews, so we have removed them.  (If you need a cushion to sit on during our worship service, please bring one from home.)  All regularly used rooms including tables and chair will be disinfected following their use.


All common areas will be cleaned with soap and water or household EPA approved cleaners (depends on the surface).  Hard floors will be dusted, scrubbed and disinfected with our floor cleaning machine and hard to reach areas will be cleaned with a conventional mop.  Carpets will be vacuumed regularly.  Our vacuum cleaner has two HEPA filters which is what the CDC recommends for carpet.


High touch surface areas (door handles, faucets, push plates, etc.) will be sanitized every morning during the week.  All bathrooms will be cleaned and disinfected every day of the work week.


This plan will be readily adapted based on increase use of our facility.


COVID Exposure Protocol

We will work in partnership with the Health Department of Northwest Michigan in the event of a positive COVID case in our congregation.  It is why signing in each time you enter the building is necessary.


Other meetings

We will allow meetings where social distancing can take place and masks are worn.  The size of the room will dictate the number of people who can participate.  Meetings will only be available to CRC related groups.  (It's the opposite of being welcoming normally, but due to the unknowns associated with outside groups, we want to control who has access to the building.)


Office availability

The building will remain closed throughout the week.  Staff are available for meetings by appointment and we will continue to encourage these meetings take place in the community room, prayer chapel, outside or via Zoom.  Staff continue to have flexibility with working from home and we will encourage staff to be the only ones (where possible) to use their work space.  We have a NEST camera installed at our front doors, so people can connect with Erin Nickel when they do stop at the building and she can address their needs or make others aware of their needs.


Wedding and Funerals

These requests will be addressed on an individual basis.  Please contact the church office.



Wristbands will be made available to everyone coming into the church for worship services or Wednesday night activities.  There are three colors to the wrist band and we are encouraging everyone to pick the color and wear the band that reflects their comfort level with interacting with others.  Please respect each other's color choice.


               Red - no contact, prefer six feet apart

               Yellow - elbow bumps only

               Green - high fives and handshakes welcomed



Closing Requests

As you know, there are differences of opinion regarding COVID, masks, etc.  We know our plan is not perfect, but we believe it is the right plan for now.


Please follow the plan.  Please wear a mask.  Please be sensitive to others.  No one wants to wear a mask and we all hope to return to normalcy as soon as possible, but in the meantime, let us encourage each other as we navigate these unique challenges together.


The movement to Stage 6 of the MI Safe Start Plan would be a key indicator of our ability to move back to the more normal way of functioning we experienced before COVID.



The movement to Stage 6 of the MI Safe Start Plan would be a key indicator of our ability to move back to the more normal way of functioning we experienced before COVID.