Reopening Phases & Plans
Updated: Jun 23
(Please note this is intended to give you a general idea of what to expect in the coming weeks. All proposed phases and plans are subject to change when/if governmental regulations and recommendations change.)
Phase 1 (until May 30)
Long’s Chapel campus will remain closed. Worship will continue to be offered virtually for all 3 worship experiences (9:00 am, 10:10 and 11:11 am on Sunday mornings). We will continue to offer weekday prayer through Facebook and church-wide emails.
Child Enrichment Center
Our CEC has remained open through the pandemic, providing much needed childcare to families of essential workers. Our staff and families have been remarkable as we have been following very closely the requirements put out by the CDC and Haywood County health officials to provide a safe environment for our children and staff. Daily temperature checks and extensive cleaning are examples of the steps taken to keep the CEC open. We will continue to follow protocols and regulations. No church activities are to be conducted around the Child Enrichment Center areas during hours of operation (7:30 am-6:00 pm).
Children and Youth Ministries
We are assisting the families of our church and community as we wind down another school year (celebrate graduates etc.). Activities are either less than 10 with social distancing practiced, or virtual based. The Hangout (Long’s Chapels after-school ministry) was interrupted when in person school was suspended. We hope to resume The Hangout next fall in line with opening of public schools.
Some of our staff are working from the campus and others remotely, depending on what is needed for the job. Thanks to support, we have been able to maintain everyone’s employment (with a slight exception of Hangout staff that finished two weeks early). Work and ministry continue to happen through the life of Long’s Chapel. Thank you for making this possible through your generosity.
Prayer Partner or “Band Aide” Ultra-Small Groups Initiative is a new focus for Long’s Chapel. We encourage people to gather in groups of 2-6 (at first virtually and eventually in socially-distanced appropriate ways). As determined by the group, gatherings, weekly or every other week, would include asking each other questions that help you grow in your relationship with God and each other. Folks can form their own groups or express their interest by emailing Tom.Owens@LongsChapel.com. We have always said that the larger Long’s Chapel gets, the “smaller” we need to get with cultivating deeper relationships. This is our chance to live into that value.
Leadership Teams & Committees
Online meetings of all groups still recommended. Groups of 10 or less may meet in person if following CDC guidelines for physical distancing, wearing masks, etc. We are doing regular cleaning of the facility, but each group that meets will be responsible for wiping down tables and chairs as they arrive and as they leave for extra caution. Cleaning supplies will be available. Current rooms available for gathering are the modular and Dugan/Lundy
Funerals and Weddings
On-site weddings are suspended until further notice. Most families have made alternative arrangements for funerals as well. We are permitted to hold a funeral of up to 25 people (with social distancing requirements in place). No greeting lines or bulletins are allowed at this time.
PHASE 2 (CURRENTLY)
Sunday morning streaming will continue.
We hope to ease back into and create some “on campus” larger activity. We are considering a Sunday morning outdoor, “drive-in”, worship experiences on our campus. We also hope to launch some Micro Prayer Experiences. These will be gatherings for 25 or less to pray and reflect on Scripture for about 45 minutes. For inside gatherings, RSVP’s will be required with tracking system in place. Masks and social distancing protocols will be required and are non-negotiable for the good of all.
The CDC is recommending masks for everyone over the age of 2 for any indoor on campus activity. We are requiring older children, youth and adults to wear masks when inside the campus. The Child Enrichment Center is working within different guidelines by local health officials.
Small group gatherings of 10 or less can meet on Long’s Chapel campus upon approval for room use by our office manager Lynn Carpenter. Groups must wear a mask and observe 6ft. distancing. We encourage small groups to connect virtually, in outdoors when possible, in homes, or local businesses i.e. coffee houses.
We encourage families or small groups to create in-home watch parties for our live steam services. Discussion questions can be provided to enhance learning opportunities. Watch parties could be hosted at any time (not just on Sundays) and is a great opportunity for leaders to use the worship guide and lead.
We will continue to encourage folks to connect with a Prayer Partner or in Band-Aide Groups of 2-6 to reflect on questions about life and faith. These size gatherings are certainly suited to this season. You can form your own group or express interest in connecting to others and receive questions and resourcing through Tom.Owens@LongsChapel.com.
All online and virtual offerings will continue through this season.
Child Enrichment Center
Will continue to operate with required protocols and guidelines.
Children and Youth Ministries
Plans in the works for summer for our family age ministries include:
· Supporting and hosting a virtual Tuscola Baccalaureate service for families of graduates,
· local mission trips,
· small group Wilderness Trail-like experiences,
· local and smaller neighborhood “Sidewalk” VBS experiences that can be held outdoors.
· A drive through celebration for spring 2020 graduates is planned for May 31, 4:30 – 5:30 pm.
Will begin to transition back to on campus work schedule.
Leadership Teams & Committees
Online meetings of all groups still recommended. Groups of 10 or less may meet in person on Long’s Chapel campus if following CDC guidelines. Masks are required for anyone on Long’s Chapel grounds. We are doing regular cleaning of the facility but each group that meets will be responsible for wiping down tables and chairs as they arrive and as they leave for extra caution. Cleaning supplies will be available. Rooms available for gathering include the modular and Dugan/Lundy.
Funerals and Weddings
On-site weddings are suspended until further notice. Most families have made alternative arrangements for funerals as well. We are permitted to hold a funeral of up to 25 people (with social distancing requirements in place, of course). No greeting lines or bulletins are allowed at this time.
· Deep clean and sanitize facilities regularly.
· Reinforce hand sanitizing areas around campus.
· A desire to resume Sunday morning on campus worship with safety protocols in place.
· Discipleship groups can meet in designated areas on campus. Our hope is Sunday school classes will be able to resume at this time.
· No regular childcare or children's programming will be provided. Stay tuned for special events for our children and youth.
· Elderly and immune deficient individuals will be encouraged to continue watching services online as we will continue to offer quality online experiences.
· Picnic and a family movie night on campus (date and time coming soon)- bring a blanket for the grassy hill behind the new facility and watch a movie 6 ft away from your neighbors.
· Resume full worship services and discipleship classes on campus with desire to compliment with on campus kids activities.
· Youth, children’s ministry, and nursery will resume on campus.
· Offering plates will no longer be passed. Will provide secure collection boxes at each entrance.
· Holy Communion will be handled differently (TBD).
· Wednesday night ACTS 2:42 Dinners, Sunday morning food and fellowship time (TBD)
Frequently asked questions
If we trust in God, why can’t we resume regular activity now?
We have not only a legal but moral responsibility to provide care for the hundreds of people that call Long’s Chapel home. It is possible to have an unwavering dedication and commitment to our spiritual life and feel the vital responsibility of what it means to not harm each other. Worship, prayer, and service are essential tasks. Our goal is to find the most faithful ways to engage in these tasks until we can resume some sense of regular activity. In this season, it is even more critical that we find ways to be the church in the community rather than focus on activities on our campus.
What will cause us to move from phase to phase?
Your church leadership team is currently gathering as up to date information as possible from national state county and denominational sources. Our phasing plan has been based loosely off our governor’s recommendations for reopening the state of NC. Factors that will influence our phasing will be local transmission rates, guidance from the CDC, and responses to the surveys.
What measures will the church take to encourage the safety of our congregation?
We will thoroughly sanitize the areas that will be open to the public. Bibles, Hymnals, and pew materials will be removed from the pews. Hand sanitizer stations will be spread throughout the campus. Tithes and offerings will no longer be received through the passing of the plate but through collection boxes and online electronic giving. Bulletins and handouts will no longer be distributed for the foreseeable future. Relevant information and news will be available in racks as well as electronically. People will be invited to greet each other in ways that will not jeopardize common health. And face masks are to be worn, when possible, for the good of all.
Why are we going to continue to stream Sunday morning worship instead of offering in-person services?
Every credible health resource has given direction that in-person large group gatherings where singing is present is the riskiest environment for those vulnerable to COVID-19. We hope to get your feedback about your comfort level and design virtual and on-campus experiences that are safe and meaningful.
Why are no dates given for the phases?
Advice and recommendations from local and state health officials will help guide the decisions related to phasing.