IN-PERSON SERVICES were held JUNE 21, 2020

Unfortunately we had to return to virtual service. However we continue to review our situation and plan to return to in person worship as soon as conditions permit. As PCE moves towards resuming in person worship, we make our priority the care of our church members.  The process will be slow and cautious with concern for the vulnerable among us.  Based on science, government, and Presbytery directions, the process outlined below is our first attempt to describe the new protocols and practices that will support us as we gather together to worship again.  PCE will continue to offer virtual services on the pceaston. com website under Sermons on Demand for those preferring to worship from home.

If you have COVID-19, have been exposed to COVID-19 within the past two weeks or are not feeling well, please attend the virtual service from home in consideration of your fellow church members.  If you are immunocompromised or have underlying medical conditions that make you more vulnerable to infection with COVID-19, please attend the virtual service.

STAGE ONE, prior to in person services:

    • Increase sanitation/cleaning of facility prior to service to decrease risk.
    • Members need to obtain masks and plan to wear these inside of the church facility.
    • PCE obtains hand sanitizer, soap in bathrooms, tissues.
    • On line worship continues at the PCE website.
  • Session, Transition Team, Trustees communicate to members date of return to in person services, procedures to be implemented to reduce risk of spread of coronavirus.

STAGE TWO, return to in person services at a 50% capacity, approximately 40 people in the sanctuary or if worship space is extended to Foster Hall 70 people may attend:

    • Resume public worship with members who are not at risk, have no one at home who is at risk and are feeling well.
    • All attendees will be required to wear Personal Protective Equipment-masks and/or face shields and practice adequate hygiene in hand washing.
    • The double white wooden front doors of the church will be the only entrance to our facility.  If someone has mobility issues, please stop at the ramp to the front entrance to discharge the passenger. 
    • Trustees will be available to direct parking.  Please park in every other space, if possible.
    • The Welcome sign will be placed at the end of this walkway to identify the entry.
    • Directional signs may be used as well.
    • A greeter will be available prior to your entry into church with hand sanitizer which they will squirt into your hands.
    • A second greeter will be available prior to your entry to document your name, in case it is needed for contact tracing if it is found that someone in attendance is diagnosed with COVID-19 within two weeks of the service.
    • There will be marks on the entry sidewalk indicating six feet to maintain social distancing.
    • Name tags will not be used.
    • Ushers will seat each person/family per protocol.  Families may sit together, others will be separated with at least six feet distance between attendees and in every other row. 
    • There will be no Hymnals, Bibles, and Registration Sign in present in the pews. 
    • Bulletins will not be distributed, monitors will be used.
    • Music will be selected and directed by Bob Huntington but may include instrumental music, the Taize musicians or a few choir members.
    • The congregation will not sing but may be encouraged to hum or recite the lyrics instead.  The reason the congregation will be unable to sing is because respiratory droplets can be spread over 20 feet while singing!  Wearing a mask while singing also increases carbon dioxide levels and decreases oxygen levels, so singing is not recommended behind masks.
    • The non-touch method of sharing of the peace will be provided in announcements at the beginning of the service.
    • There may parts of the service which are pre-recorded-Rev. Bennett lives in a retirement community in Delaware which has different guidelines than Maryland so the sermon, prayers of the people and benediction may be viewed on the monitor.
    • Collection basket will be placed on a stand in the rear of the sanctuary.
    • Communion will be distributed virtually in June and July, plans are not yet developed for communion in August and beyond. In 2020, there have been three in person communion services and two virtual communion services.
    • No common areas will be open other than the sanctuary and restrooms.  Restroom doors will be propped open so they are hand free.  We suggest that paper towels be used to open and close stall doors within the rest rooms and then disposed in the trash can by the door when exiting.  Paper towel dispenser is automatic, the method of soap dispensing is still under consideration at this time.
    • There will be no gathering prior to or after the service, until the risk of infection is low enough to continue these practices which may not be until an effective vaccine or therapeutic have been approved.
    • Virtual services will be available on line at the website.
  • Church committee meetings will continue to be held virtually.

STAGE THREE: return to full capacity services once risks are significantly reduced

    • Continue online worship services.
    • Resume communion in person.
    • Physical distancing and use of masks may become more relaxed.
    • Maintain increased sanitation and hygiene measures at PCE.
  • Church Committee Meetings may be held in person or virtually.