Phased Reopening Plans

Starting Sunday, July 12, our facilities will reopen for ministry and worship.


“Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving and God’s courts with praise; give thanks to the LORD and praise God’s name.” 

Psalm 100:4


Dear Church Family,


I am pleased to tell you that we are doing a phased reopening of our worship services starting Sunday, July 12. As I stated in my last update, our church developed a reopening plan on how we will safely come together for worship and ministry. Things are going to be different than we’re used to for now, but all these changes and precautions are necessary to take care of one another. We want to provide a place of worship that is SAFE, SPACIOUS, and SANITIZED. Please read all of the details below to know what to expect from your church and what your church expects of you.


We ask that you pray and be patient. We also want you to be aware that worship will look different as we prepare to come back. We will be sitting in family units 6-feet apart. For the safety of others, we will all be wearing masks. Also, keep in mind that any changes made by local or state governments may alter this reopening plan.


On Sunday, July 12th:

  • We will have a 9:00 am outdoor worship service if weather permits.
  • We invite individuals and families to arrive to be seated by 8:45 am. We welcome all to use the time between being seated and the start of service as a prayer vigil to pray for the safety of our community, all those impacted by COVID-19, and all those hurting in our world.
  • Masks are strongly encouraged. 
  • Bring your own chair or picnic blanket (please bring an umbrella, if appropriate). If individuals have not brought their own chair, chairs can be provided and will be wiped down before and after use. Physical distant seating will be promoted.
  • For the time being, restrooms will only be open for urgent situations. Signs will remind individuals using the restroom to please wipe down all surfaces after use (toilet or urinal, sink, doors, and hook lock). Parents are asked to accompany children to the restroom to complete the cleaning.
  • Human Contact: Per CDC guidelines, we should prevent people from touching objects and other people. Please refrain from hugging, handshaking, fist-bumping, even if you think or know the person is ok with it. Say hello with a friendly wave. No offering plate will be passed, and we continue to gratefully accept tithes and offerings online or by mail.
  • Protection: We ask to continue worshiping online, anyone who has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 (within the past 14 days) or is experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, if you have visited a high-risk area or one of the states mentioned in the last Governor's executive order as you quarantine for 14 days. Due to the risk COVID-19 poses for some individuals (older people, people with asthma, liver disease, hypertension, health conditions, and disabilities), our online church platform will continue to provide online worship services. Anyone who is not comfortable meeting in person is encouraged to stay connected through these means. We love you and eagerly await a time when it is safe for you to return in person. 
  • Communion will be offered at outdoor worship, it will be by individually sealed communion cups that contain both a wafer and juice. Communion remains optional and congregants may also continue to bring their own communion elements – bread or crackers and water or juice, especially if there are dietary restrictions. Please take wrappers home with you to discard.
  • In the event that you need water or a First Aid kit, please see one of the greeters or ushers.
  • Congregants are encouraged to bring their own hand sanitizer to use.


If rain is predicted, we will give you as much advanced notice as possible that the service will not take place.


We plan to have an outdoor worship experience on the first Sunday of August, September, and October. It gives us the opportunity to worship more freely and to accommodate more people. We will serve communion during these services.


Starting Sunday, July 19th:


There will be a 9:30 am worship service in the sanctuary for a limited number of worshipers.

  • Please do not arrive before 9:15 am unless you are serving.
  • We welcome all to use the time between being seated and the start of service as a prayer vigil to pray for the safety of our community, all those impacted by COVID-19, and all those hurting in our world.
  • Masks must be worn at all times. If you have a medical condition that doesn't allow you to wear a mask, we encouraged you to continue worshiping online. 
  • Reservations are a MUST. Because our sanctuary can only seat 35 people by physical distancing guidelines, you will have to reserve a spot for each member of your household (including children) clicking here or calling the church office. Our number is (609) 296-9610. Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis and are only good for that week.

We cannot admit people without reservations at this time.

  • There will be no congregational singing. We will have times of music reflection during the service.
  • For the time being, restrooms will only be open for urgent situations. Signs will remind individuals using the restroom to please wipe down all surfaces after use (toilet or urinal, sink, door, and hook lock). Parents are asked to accompany children to the restroom to complete the cleaning.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout the facilities.
  • Everyone will need to have exited the building 15 minutes after service has ended. If you are comfortable visiting for longer, you are encouraged to visit outside of the building following CDC Guidelines and procedures.
  • Human Contact: Per CDC guidelines, we should prevent people from touching objects and other people. Please refrain from hugging, handshaking, fist-bumping, even if you think or know the person is ok with it. Say hello with a friendly wave. No offering plate will be passed, and we continue to gratefully accept tithes and offerings online or by mail.
  • Protection: We ask to continue worshiping online, anyone who has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 (within the past 14 days) or is experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, if you have visited a high-risk area or one of the states mentioned in the last Governor's executive order as you quarantine for 14 days. Due to the risk COVID-19 poses for some individuals (older people, people with asthma, liver disease, hypertension, health conditions, and disabilities), our online church platform will continue to provide online worship services. Anyone who is not comfortable meeting in person is encouraged to stay connected through these means. We love you and eagerly await a time when it is safe for you to return in person.  


Even if none of those scenarios apply to you, it’s still okay for you to stay home.


FOR PARENTS & GRANDPARENTS


Your kids are more than welcome in our worship services! 

Following CDC and Department of Health Guidelines, children under the age of 2 should not wear masks. 

Children will be part of your household in the worship service, no nursery, children's church, and children's time will be provided at this time. 


Beyond Sunday


Small Groups will start meeting in Mott Hall using physical distancing guidelines and masks must be worn at all times. Outside gatherings will follow CDC guidelines and procedures. Each group is responsible for cleaning and sanitizing the hall, restrooms, and other equipment used for their activity, before and after the activity. Each group needs to be aware of the gathering limit of 50 people indoors and will meet no more than one hour. Also, no food is allowed. 


Ministry Meetings will continue through Zoom for the foreseeable future.


Our church office is open but you’ll need to call ahead and make an appointment if you want to go in. 


Please follow us on Facebook, sign up for our weekend update, and check our website for the latest updates and developments.


Words of Assurance


I am looking forward to seeing you all again. But, if you do not feel comfortable coming out to worship, that’s okay! We will continue to grow our online ministry to bless your life. We understand how serious this virus is and that we are not yet out of the woods. Our primary goal is to keep you and everyone in our church as safe as possible from exposure to COVID-19. We cannot do that unless everyone abides by these policies and procedures. Once more, I urge you to view these measures through the lens of love, honor, and respect for one another. Wear your mask. Stay six feet apart. Pre-register for the weekly service. Monitor your health. Stay home if you feel sick or think you may have been exposed. Tell me if you have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. Use your best judgment. Above all, pray for me, our ushers and greeters, our office staff, our media team, and everyone who will be worshiping in-person and online. Pray that in all things God is glorified, Christ is proclaimed, and the Holy Spirit strengthens us all in faith, hope, and love.


Lastly, I want to offer a huge “thank you” to all of you. This season has been a trial for all of us in uncountable ways. 


One of our church members shared a great metaphor weeks ago. She said, “We are all in the same storm but in different boats.” Your boat may have a member of your family who is at risk and keeps you from coming back. You may be immune-compromised yourself and unable to come. You might still be concerned about getting COVID-19, or the possibility of unknowingly spreading it to others. Any of those are good reasons for you to stay home until you are able to join us.


I hope you hear me say, as simply and powerfully as possible, that anywhere you worship with us, whether on your couch or in person, you are a part of our Church Family. Wherever you may find yourself praising and reflecting on scripture passages with your Church you remain a part of its body. These are strange and trying times. God is still good and we, God’s people, have not lost hope.


I know that each of you has a deep love for the people of our church. We will continue to monitor the conditions of Ocean County and each week we will adapt to these ever-changing circumstances. I am thankful for each of you and your commitment to keeping our community safe.


We are praying for each of you in the weeks and months to come. As this unique year continues please know that we want to do everything in our power to keep you connected to each other, growing in Christ, and striving for a deeper faith. My promise to you is that our love for you has not diminished, our creativity is not finished, and our commitment to God‘s story of hope is stronger than ever. Thank you for being the people God has called you to be.



In Christ,


Rev. Jason D. Ríos