News & Publications

Reopening & In-Person Worship FAQ

September 2, 2021

What time is worship?

Don’t be late! Worship will begin at 10:00 a.m.!

Will masks be required?

Yes, for all persons, vaccinated or not, masks will be required whenever people are inside the building.  This includes children over the age of 2. If you forget your mask, we will provide a disposable surgical mask. We will not be asking about vaccination status and, of course, children under 12 will not be vaccinated.

Will the worship participants be masked?

All worship participants will be masked unless they are speaking. Speakers will take off their masks when speaking and put them back on when they are finished. All singers will remain masked while singing.

How will registration for worship work?

In-person attendance will be capped at 50 people. Anyone interested in attending the worship service in person will be required to pre-register by following this link. Registration will open at 9:00 a.m. each Monday for the following Sunday and will close at 9:00 a.m. on Friday. By 11:00 a.m., Friday, we will email everyone who registered confirming whether they have a space for that Sunday. If you have already attended one service and other people have not, we will give preference to people who have not yet attended. If you are having trouble with the registration link, you may call the church office at 703-538-4886 for assistance.

What if I registered but did not get a confirmation?

If you have not received an email confirmation by Friday at 11:00 a.m., first check your spam folder. It may be there! If not, please call the church office at 703-538-4886 before 2:00 p.m. Friday or email welcome@rockspringucc.org.

What if I have a registration and cannot come?

If you are sick, please stay home! If you pre-register but find you are not able to come due to illness or any other reason, please let us know so that we can invite another person in your place. Please call the church office at 703-538-4886 before 2:00 p.m. Friday, or email welcome@rockspringucc.org anytime over the weekend.

I have family in town. Can they come to a service?

If you have pre-registered guests, of course they can come! However, if they show up on Saturday night at your house for dinner and decide they want to come with you the next morning, we will not be able to accommodate them if we are at capacity  (i.e., 50 people). You may email welcome@rockspringucc.org to inquire, and will receive a response ONLY if there ARE spaces available.

I’ve got a reservation. When should I arrive? Where do I go?

We will open the Sanctuary doors beginning at 9:50 a.m. We will be using the main entrance (up the steps into the Narthex) and the handicap accessible entrance only. Please do not enter the building through the door by the Office. Please put your mask on as you get to the door, and please have your entire group with you when you enter, which will help us keep track of the reservations.

When you enter the building, an usher will greet you and escort you to a pew. Once you are in the Sanctuary, we ask that you remain seated in your pew until the end of the service. You are of course welcome to talk with the people seated around you, but please do not move around the Sanctuary.

Do I need to bring anything?

Please bring a mask for everyone 2 years old or above. You are also invited to bring your own coffee mug for coffee hour (more details below).

Will there be a bulletin?

As part of our Net Zero efforts, we will not be printing bulletins. The worship leaders will give you all the prompts you need. If you would prefer to have a print copy during the service, you are welcome to print it at home (the bulletin can be found on the website and is linked in the Friday email). Or, if you’d like to follow the bulletin online during the service, there will be a QR Code on the back of each pew that will link to the bulletin, the virtual friendship pad, and our online giving page. (To access, simply open the camera on your phone and point it at the code.)

I don’t have a reservation. Will the service still be livestreamed?

Yes! We have been livestreaming our worship services for more than 5 years now and will continue to do so.

Are we going back to a “normal” worship service, with all the familiar parts?

You can expect there to be many familiar parts of worship with some new innovative twists. For example, we will not be collecting an offering during the worship service, but we will have baskets by each door if you wish to bring your pledge or offering to church (you can also give online – we are grateful to all of you who do!). We will not be “passing the peace,” but will have other ways to connect with one another. On the first Sunday of October (October 3) we will offer communion outside following the worship service (this is another holy experiment that we will evaluate to see if we want to continue doing it that way). Additionally, because congregational singing is still not recommended, there will be a few singers who will sing the hymns live, and the congregation will be invited to hum along. Look for more inclusive and exciting ways we will worship together as time goes on!

Will there be Sunday School? Will the nursery be open? Are my children welcome in worship?

Children are always welcome in our Sanctuary! At present, we will not be offering Sunday School or Nursery care during the worship service. Instead, we are introducing a holy experiment called the “Prayground,” a welcoming space in the Sanctuary where children can fully participate in the worship experience alongside their family while engaging with quiet activities. Changing tables are available in the two gender-neutral bathrooms (one on each floor).

Will there be bathrooms available?

Yes. All bathrooms will be available.Will there be name tags?

Of course! In fact, you were invited in June to request a new nametag. If you haven’t done so, please click here so that we can have one prepared for you.

Will the library be open?

Yes! We are planning to have the library open on Sunday mornings. We will ask that you remain masked and maintain social distancing while in the library.

Will there be coffee hour?

Weather permitting, the Deacons are planning to host a very simple coffee hour outdoors, set up under the portico outside the Bozman room. Please help us go green by bringing your own mug. We will experiment with a variety of ways of offering hospitality and evaluate as we go. No food or drink will be permitted inside the building.

Can I still be a liturgist?

Yes! Please contact Laura Martin (laura@rockspringucc.org) to express interest.

What is your cleaning protocol?

On Monday mornings, our custodian will thoroughly clean all areas of the church building that were used on Sunday. He has been trained in Covid cleaning protocols and will pay special attention to “high touch” areas.

Will there be additional ventilation?

Whenever the weather permits, we will open the windows in the Sanctuary during worship. In addition, we have installed air purifiers in some enclosed areas (bathrooms, the library) to improve airflow in those locations.

What is all this “holy experiment” business?

God is still speaking, and we are always listening and exploring new ways to be the church. We have dubbed the changes we are piloting this month as “holy experiments,” acknowledging that change can be difficult even as we know that the Spirit is at work in our midst. As always, the staff will continually evaluate what is working well and what needs tweaking. We will appreciate your feedback, as well as your grace, as we engage in this ongoing holy experiment as a community.

Pivoting to all online worship and community life was challenging. Figuring out how to return in a hybrid fashion, giving careful attention to the needs of those who are eager to return as well as those who are not yet able to do so, is even more challenging. Rock Spring is one community, made up of people with a wide variety of needs and preferences. Our goal is to ensure online and in-person participants have an equally robust worship experience and continue to feel connected to the church, to each other, and, most importantly to God as we move forward together into a new phase of the pandemic.