In-Person Service Policy Guidelines

This document was last updated on June 22, 2020.

Please make sure you have read and understood the guidelines before attending.

Whereas the President of the United States Donald J Trump has declared a
national emergency during the Coronavirus global pandemic.

Whereas Maine Governor Janet Mills has declared a state of emergency in our state.

Whereas all nonessential business has been closed, a stay at home order has been declared and gatherings of 10 or more have been prohibited,

On March 14, 2020, in accordance with the governors’ mandate and to protect our most vulnerable population from a very contagious virus which can result in death especially in the elderly population, Fellowship Baptist Church located at 237 Eastern Ave Augusta Maine 04330 closed its doors to in-person worship.

We have always maintained that “Church” (corporate worship) is essential in the life of a Christian and have held online services and drive-in services that fell within the Mandate. We have also always maintained that these services are not enough and limit the church (called out assembled body of believers) from assembling and fulfilling many of God’s commands to encourage, exhort, teach, and serve one another.

Whereas on May 22, 2020, President Trump declared all houses of Worship
essential, and encouraged Governors to allow them to reopen to In-Person

Whereas on May 22, 2020, Governor Janet Mills released guidelines for Houses of Worship to reopen for in-person services with a date to be enacted on May 29, 2020,

On May 29, 2020 Fellowship Baptist Church located at 237 Eastern Ave Augusta, ME 04330 will reopen for in-person services in accordance with CDC guidelines.

The following policies have been put in place to protect our people from the virus and its effects. While we fully understand that the recovery rate is very high, we also understand that there is an increase in the morbidity of those who fall within a high-risk category for COVID 19. That being the case we strongly encourage those that are age 65 and older, as well as those who have underlying medical conditions, partake in our services via the internet or drive-in services. Both Online and drive-in services will continue to be available to all.

  1. The number one way to protect ourselves from this virus is proper hygiene face coverings and social distancing.
  2. Gatherings are limited to 50 people for in-person services.
    A. To accommodate our church we will have multiple services limited to 50 people at a time. We are also changing the time of our morning service to 10 am during this time.
  3. We long longer require pre-registration to attend the service. We are keeping track of attendance at the door and if we reach the allowed 50 people, you might be denied entrance to the building.
    B. While the most vulnerable are encouraged to watch from home or their car we will not prohibit anyone from worshiping God with us. For those that choose to come to an in-person service, we ask that you attend the 10 AM service. This will allow you to come and worship into the cleanest of environments with as little risk as possible. We ask that those with small children attend the 2 PM service when nursery will be provided for children 5 and under. All other children will be required to sit with their families. The church will be disinfected between services.
  4. Face coverings must be worn by all attendees when physical distancing is difficult such as when coming or going. The only exception given is for those 5 and under. Once seated the coverings may be removed.
  5. Plan to arrive early for service. Seating is first-come/first-serve and we try to start the services on time.
  6. Temperatures will be taken at the door. If an individual is found to have a fever (100.4 or higher), they and their family unit will not be allowed entrance but can enjoy our drive-in service.
  7. Masks will be provided to those who do not have them. We ask that you bring your own if you can. As we purchase masks, we have found them to be quite expensive. ($1 per mask)
  8. Please make use of the sanitizer prior to entering the building
  9. There is limited choice in seating. Each family unit will be ushered to their seats starting from the front of the sanctuary to the back on both sides. Family units are required to sit together to best steward the space we have available. 6 feet must be maintained in between family units (4 empty chairs) and every other row will be used so as to maintain that 6 ft. distance. During the service, if you must leave to use the restroom, we ask that you wear your face covering while exiting and returning to your seat.
  10. Singing is strongly discouraged by the CDC because studies have proven that it increases the spread of the virus. That being said scripture tells us to sing unto the Lord. We ask that when singing that you wear a face-covering to protect the most vulnerable among us and decrease the spread of the virus.
  11. We strongly discourage shaking of hands and embracing one another so as not to potentially spread the virus.
  12. Tithes and offerings will not be collected during the service but can be dropped off in a box at the back of the sanctuary.
  13. All Bibles and hymn books have been removed from the sanctuary for the time being because of the potential of spreading the virus. All songs will be projected on the wall. If a Bible is needed a new one will be provided.
  14. At the end of the service, the ushers will dismiss the congregation one row at a time. Please do not linger in the hallway. Once you have exited the building, we ask that you keep clear of the door. While I completely understand that we will want to fellowship with one another outside in the fresh air we do encourage it to be done at a social distance of six feet.

While I understand that we are anxious to return to normal and many of these changes may seem to be too much or even a taking away of our rights, may I remind you that as children of God the Bible teaches that we are to die to self on a daily basis and to put others needs before our own. If wearing a mask calms the fears of our elderly so they can worship with us, if using hand sanitizer means that we don’t lose any of our vulnerable to this virus, and if giving up my regular seat allows us to fit more people in to worship God and hear the word preached then I for one will gladly give up those “rights”! I hope you will as well.

Pastor Rob Richards