Physical Church Services

- 3. June 2020

Dear CrossWay Family,

 

Now - after almost three months - it is time to return to our usual place of worship in our chapel at Hüttenweg. We have been so blessed by our online services these last weeks, but we are convinced that nothing can replace the physical gathering of the church.

 

I can imagine that there are very different feelings among our people in regard to this decision as we are making use of the legal possibilities in Berlin at this time. You probably heard about church services in Germany that literally turned into a hotspot for spreading COVID-19. There are also churches that have seen a drastic decrease in attendance due to the inconvenience of the whole meeting compared to the usual experience.

 

However, I think that our first “test service” on June 7 will be a unique opportunity to be a witness for Christ in our city. If you will be worshipping with us from home or in the chapel, both will be an expression of your faith and your love for God and for His people. Your decision to stay home or to take a certain risk will both be a result of your desire to protect human life and to worship with confidence in the Lord who is in sovereign control of all circumstances. In this extraordinary situation we are just trying to do the best possible to bring glory to Him.

 

In making this decision I was talking to several people in our church and listening to their advice. It seems clear to me that every possible decision that we could make would disappoint at least some of us. So please handle this situation with grace and respect the different perspective of others. However, a decision had to be made. By setting out the following conditions for meeting in our chapel everyone is able to personally choose the best course of action.

 

One condition for going back to our chapel was having the availability live streaming our service. The internet connection is assured and will probably even improve much on the following Sunday, June 14. There might be a little bit of a buffering this Sunday though.

 

Before the service starts a CrossWay team will sanitize the bathrooms and objects that people usually touch. We will make use of all means possible including a fan in order to create a flow of air in the sanctuary.

 

As we are reopening the chapel it is of first importance to protect the health of attenders as well as their families at home. We also have to be aware of the testimony of our church and the reputation of the other congregations that meet in our chapel. It will be absolutely essential therefore to keep the following rules at all times:

 

  • You have to register online by June 5 (Friday) before you are able to attend the service.

  • Please remain home if you have symptoms of a high temperature, cough, or shortage of breath.

  • A minimum distance of 1.5 meters or 5 feet must be maintained in- and outside of the chapel at all times (exceptions for members of the same household). Please wait in line with distancing as our ushers are letting people inside.

  • Please follow the directions of our ushers who will try to control the flow of people. Entrance will be allowed at around 14:30 after the set-up inside is finished.

  • Seats will be filled starting in the first pew next to the stage and then moving backwards. If there is a larger family sitting next to you, make sure that there is still minimum distance.

  • Attached is a location plan with the basic idea for the use of the building. Available seats will be marked by a little flyer. The seating might need to be adjusted on the spot though dependent on the situation.

  • Children need to sit with their parents and are not allowed to walk through the room alone. Please bring something to entertain younger children during the service. For the time being there will be no children’s church. We’ll try to have a shorter sermon. Please keep your children close to you before and after the service.

  • The Senate of Berlin just decided that singing as a congregation is prohibited now. We will still have a musical component of our service on stage though.

  • Please put on the mask at least during the entering and exiting of the building, also during the fellowship time outside after the service. The authorities even strongly recommend that masks or another covering over the mouth and nose be worn throughout the service inside.

  • Any physical contact must be strictly avoided.

  • The “quiet room” in the back will only be available for one nursing mother.

  • For the time being we will not offer interpretation for German speakers.

  • We will empty the sanctuary starting with the first pew next to the stage.

  • You can put your offering in one of two boxes that are placed along the way as you are leaving the building through the large foyer to the right that is in the middle of the complex. 

 

Let us make this Sunday a joyful experience!                                                             

 

The congregation will be divided into people who are following our livestream online and people who are gathering in the chapel. Yes. We will have to live with many limitations and frustrations. Yes. But what a joy for many of us to see brothers and sisters again, after almost three months of forced separation!

 

I hope that we will gain valuable insight and a helpful routine from this first Sunday. By the grace of God, we will hopefully be back to a normal situation soon, back to a Sunday service how it should be.

The registration on our website will start this Thursday. Dependent on the number of people who register we might have to make a livestream available for people who would be placed in the community hall.

 

May the Lord guide you in this personal decision for you and your family!

 

- Pastor Martin

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