The Augusta Worship Center (AWC) is committed to ensuring the health and safety of each member and visitor during this Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We continue to observe the trend of COVID cases in the CSRA. We are seeing a 7-week downward trajectory in new cases in the CSRA (see below). Also, the hospitalization numbers are dropping while COVID vaccinations are trending up. While this is good news, AWC will continue to maintain the protocols and healthy practices to curb the rate of infections. The CDC also strongly suggests those eligible to take the vaccine. This will help those around you who are more vulnerable to infection. They also have recommended using double-lined masks. Some face coverings come with at least two layers of lining; but if not, please consider doubling up. I look forward to continuing in-person worship services, but if you have health risks, please take the necessary precautions. You know your body better than anyone else.
Trends and Data
The number of active cases have been in a downward trajectory for the past six (7) weeks.
Service, Ministry, and Facility Changes
Services are currently being conducted in Phase 2. All changes indicated below are applied for Phases 1 and 2. Phase 3 will provide normal conditions that were in place prior to COVID-19. In addition, the following will not be in place until Phase 3:
- No choir rehearsals, auxiliary meetings, special events, or social gatherings authorized at the church (Musicians Rehearsal and small singing Group Rehearsals may be allowed with limited number of people that meets social distancing)
- Hebrews Café will be closed to social gathering and no use of the coffee machine
- Nursery will be closed and self-service only
Protection of Vulnerable Members
People over the age of 65 and those with compromised immune systems are encouraged to stay home and participate in services online through LiveStream. Also, if you have or had a fever of 100.4°F within 14 days, persistent cough, or trouble breathing, please stay home or seek medical attention. Prescreening will be administered at the church to ensure the safety of everyone.
Our common practice of ministry is interacting with people and typically being in close contact with church members. Until further notice, staff and members are encouraged not to engage in physical contact. A big smile, friendly wave, and kind words is sufficient to provide a warm welcome to people. Even if some feel comfortable greeting with a handshake or hug, it may make others uncomfortable. Seating arrangements will be provided at 6-foot distances and families are encouraged to sit together.
Worship Service Precautions
It is our desire that every worship experience magnifies the power of God and His presence in our services. You may see changes that will reduce the use of microphones and increase social distancing. The choir will not be singing during Phases 1 and 2.
We are encouraging everyone to continue to give and pay your tithes and offerings. During Phase 1 we are still encouraging online giving, however we will still hold offering during services. Please do not seal the envelops for your safety and the safety of our Trustee staff. Alternate measures may be taken during offering collection for everyone’s safety.
The church will continue to be open for prayer daily at noon. Everyone is required to pray at least six feet from others and families can pray together. Request that individuals immediately enter and exit the building after prayer so that seats, door handles, restrooms, etc. can be sanitized.
Food Pantry Precautions
Food Pantry will continue operating in all Phases. Gloves and masks will be used by our volunteers and encouraging all who come to pick up food items also wear a mask for your safety.
Signage will be posted throughout the facilities pertaining to clean, safe, and mindful social distancing and health practices.
Chemicals and disinfectants approved by the CDC for COVID-19 will be used for cleaning. Additional cleaning services have been obtained for deep cleaning and sanitization between the Phase 1 services. Members and cleaning committees will be established to sanitize the church after each service to clean frequently touched areas to include: podiums, seats, door handles, light switches, instruments, sound equipment, microphones, restrooms, counters, tables, and seating areas. Certain areas will be unavailable to minimize unnecessary exposure surfaces and cleaning such as the café, usage of coffee maker and water fountain, kitchen, etc. All offices (admin, trustee, deacon, ushers, etc.) will be off limits to non-staff members.
Classrooms will be set up with less chairs in order to provide social distancing for our youth classes. Instructors are to ensure chairs are removed and stack appropriately in the classrooms. Instructors will also be required to enforce distancing guidelines and be in control of healthy practices within the classroom. Students are to bring their own writing materials or use disposable supplies within the classes. Based on weather conditions, instructors are encouraged to conduct classes outside to acquire more space and fresh air. Classroom tables and chairs will be wiped down and sanitized before and after each class.
Nursery will be closed to volunteers and will be self-service for parents only who require necessary use for diaper-changing and nursing mothers only. The Nursery will be routinely cleaned, and frequently touched surfaces sanitized after every service with the rest of the facility. Until Phase 3, all toys, books, puzzles, etc. will be off limits for children. Parents are to follow safe diaper changing procedures, and clean/sanitize station before and after use. Cleaning supplies are in secure areas of the nursery if needed. Parents are to wash their hands and the child’s hands prior to returning to the sanctuary. Children 2 and under are not allowed to wear masks.
If you have any additional questions, you are welcome to contact us. We will be happy to answer any questions that will make your visit with us more comfortable and to ensure that you feel safe.