COVID-19 May 1st 2020 Update

Dear Joplin Peace Family,

     The “Opening Up America Again” policy adopted by the federal government provides guidelines for the state governors to reopen commerce. Based upon these guidelines, the UPCI has offered a course of action for apostolic churches to implement. In addition, the City of Joplin has implemented the “Plan for Response and Recovery”. Included in these policies are guidelines for returning to in-person worship services. Joplin Peace will comply with all requirements and with as many recommendations as possible.
     A real sense of normalcy will not be possible until a vaccine is in place. At this time, we will not go back to business as usual. We will not pick up where we left off. Everything about our worship services must change, at least for the time being. We live by faith, not fear. But we will be proactive and act wisely toward our members and guests, especially those who are most susceptible to COVID-19.
     Our “Comeback Service” will be May 10, Mother’s Day. We will take time to celebrate the return to in-person worship services, as well as the heroes in the church who have given so freely of themselves during this difficult time. Before attending in-person services, please familiarize yourself with the guidelines decided upon by the Church Board.
The following are guidelines that Joplin Peace will follow:

1. Preparation
  a. The entire church will undergo a thorough cleaning before and after each service. Chairs, bathrooms, door handles, light switches, microphones, etc. will all be sanitized on a regular basis. A detailed checklist will be marked and filed.
  b. Loose articles will be removed from the common areas: pens, brochures, magazines, mints, snacks, etc.
  c. Signage for directions and instructions will be prominently posted throughout the building. In addition, announcement slides and verbal cues will be given.
  d. Certain areas and rooms of the church will not be open. Signage and indicators will be placed showing attendees where to sit so that the current social distancing requirement can be met: six feet in all directions.
  e. Anyone who presents any symptom of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter the premises, but will be invited to join the service online instead. Symptoms include but are not limited to fever (100.4* or more), cough, shortness of breath, chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, and loss or taste or smell. If you feel sick, please stay home.
  f. The pastor and his family will be screened prior to every service, including taking and recording temperature.
  g. It is recommended that individuals over the age of 60 and individuals who are immunocompromised or have underlying health conditions not enter the premises.
  h. The security team will be placed on high alert and will be available to tend to anyone identified as sick.
  i. Hand sanitizer will be placed throughout the building. If you wish to wear a mask and/or gloves, please bring your own supplies.
2. Schedule
  a. We will continue to offer services online via Facebook and the church website.
  b. We will host services on campus on Sunday, at 2:00pm and Wednesday, at 7:00pm.
  c. We are allowed 25% occupancy, which means we can accommodate up to 74 people. As our attendance numbers rise, we may need to offer an additional service.
3. Service
  a. Please wait outside of the building in your vehicle until the service begins.
  b. In order to limit foot traffic and the possibility of contamination, a greeter will show you to your assigned seat.
  c. There will be no handshaking, hugging, or other touching. Be sensitive to the concerns of others. Please abide by the social distancing requirements.
  d. Those from the same household will be seated together due to social distancing requirements.
  e. It is recommended that all employees and non-employees wear a non-surgical mask that completely covers the nose and mouth at all times. It is recommended that barriers be erected between groups.
  f. Online giving options through PayPal will still be available. Offering baskets will be placed where you can physically give. Ushers will not wait upon you.
  g. You will be dismissed in an orderly way to ensure that the social distancing requirements are met. There will be no congregating in the lobbies or sanctuary.
4. Worship
  a. The worship team will practice social distancing by keeping six feet apart.
  b. Microphones will not be shared.
  c. Each musical instrument, the pulpit, and other equipment on the platform will be sanitized after each use.
  d. All technical, media, and production equipment will be sanitized after each use.
  e. Platform personnel will be dismissed in a manner to preserve social distancing.
5. Prayer
  a. Pre-service prayer in the sanctuary will be suspended. Please spend time praying at home or in your vehicle before each service.
  b. Altar services are challenging in this environment. If you need prayer for a need other than healing, altar workers will be available to pray with you. Please keep in mind that social distancing protocols will be followed.
  c. Prayer for the sick will not be offered during service. If you need prayer for healing, please reach out to the Lead Pastor or your group leader by telephone, text, etc. If you feel sick, please stay home.
  d. Regular prayer services are suspended. Please join us online every Tuesday evening as a list of prayer requests and praise reports are shared by video. Make prayer, fasting, and Bible study in your home a top priority.
6. Hospitality
  a. You will be required to confirm that you are not exhibiting any symptom of COVID-19. If you feel sick, please stay home.
  b. The security team will be placed on high alert and will be available to tend to anyone identified as sick.
  c. Greeters will be available to hold the exterior door for you, welcome you to service, to direct you to your seat, and to answer any questions you have about procedures and policies.
  d. No bulletins or handouts will be offered. Please check the screens or online for information.
  e. Interior doors will be propped open to reduce the spread of germs.
  f. There will be no handshaking, hugging, or other touching. Please abide by the social distancing requirements.
  g. Be sensitive to the emotional state of people as they return to service. If you note that someone seems overly upset, emotional, or distraught, please notify the pastor or your group leader.
  h. Restroom occupancy will be limited to three people at any one time. The restrooms will be cleaned following each service. Signage will be posted with guidelines for proper hand washing procedures.
  i. The coffee bar will be closed. No food or beverages will be allowed.
7. Classes
  a. Sunday School classes and other small group meetings will not be held on campus at this time. Free weekly online classes for adults and children are available from Pentecostal Publishing House.
  b. Children under age two are to refrain from wearing masks.
  c. Parents should take precautions to help their children observe the social distancing requirements. Children do not have the capacity to understand the guidelines and it will be a challenge to keep them apart.
  d. Joplin Peace plans to reopen children’s classes, services, and events when the public schools reopen. Other childcare options are not available.
8. Outreach
  a. Monthly services at National Health Care are suspended until further notice.
  b. Please continue to engage in one-on-one ministry.
  c. You are welcome to invite guests to our services. Please make your guests aware that these guidelines apply to all attendees.

     Thank you for cooperating with these guidelines as we return to in-person services. As long as these restrictions are applied equally to religious and nonreligious gatherings alike, and as long as there is a good reason for putting them in place, government actions at this time likely will not violate religious freedom protections.
     Romans 13 instructs Christians to be subject to the governing authorities. The civil authorities have a difficult task ahead, and we should see to be a part of the solution through cooperation and service to our communities. Please stay flexible and be aware that the Lead Pastor is making every effort to stay abreast of the quickly changing policies and procedures adopted by the City of Joplin, the State of Missouri, and the federal government.
     If you have any questions or concerns about these guidelines, please do not hesitate to contact the Lead Pastor or your group leader. Remember to frequently check the church website at www.joplinpeace.com for updates, schedules, and resources. Thank you for keeping the faith as we move forward.

Know God. Know Peace.
Frank Buchanan II
Lead Pastor