Dear Riverside Family,

           

These last two months have been challenging as we have all dealt with nationwide shut-downs, business closures, reduced work hours (in some cases increased work hours), fear of sickness, homeschooling our children, and myriad other disruptions of normal life.  As our nation has combatted the threat of COViD-19 we have all been affected in some way.  I am sure we have all experienced many emotions as weeks of imposed social distancing have become months.  Often the emotional toll has as much affect on us, or even more affect, as the physical toll.

           

As a church body we have tried to adjust as best we can to the challenges by providing as much online content as we can, increasing personal contact through cards and phone calls, and communicating in a variety of ways.  I am proud of our leadership and staff.  They have led well through these difficult times!

           

You may be aware that on Friday May 15 Virginia will enter Phase 1 of reopening the state.  Under Phase 1 churches will be able to hold onsite services at 50% normal capacity, with certain social distancing guidelines in place.  We are preparing to reopen and want you to be aware of when we will reopen and what that will look like for Riverside.

 

  1. May 17 we will be online only at 10:45am.
  2. May 24 we will host our last (we hope) drive in service at 10:00am.
  3. May 31 we will begin onsite services at 8:30am and 10:45am with the following guidelines in place, as per the Governor’s Executive Order for guidelines during Phase 1.
  1. Sanctuary seating will be at 50% capacity, with overflow seating in the FLC.
  1. Every other row of chairs will be roped off.
  2. Families living in the same household may sit together, but everyone else must maintain at least 2 chairs separation.
  3. Ushers will seat everyone as they enter in order to best facilitate our seating capacity.
  4. Overflow seating will be available in the Family Life Center where the service will be livestreamed.  Seating in the FLC will be at 50% capacity, with social distancing guidelines, as well.
  5. There is a hand sanitizing station right inside the main entrance, which we encourage you to use.
  1. There will be no staffed Nursery or Junior Church during Phase 1.
  1. The nursery will be open for parents who need it.
  2. Separate boxes of toys will be traded in and out for each service and sanitized before the next service.
  1. There will be no Sunday School on Sunday mornings, but the building will be available for small groups at other times.
  1. Small groups are encouraged to continue using Zoom for meeting purposes.
  2. Small groups may schedule the sanctuary and/or FLC for meetings so as to insure adequate space to social distance.
  1. Youth and Children’s Ministries will continue online only during Phase 1.
  1. The Board will work with the staff, in concert with CDC and state guidelnes, to develop a timeframe for the relaunch of youth and children’s ministries.
  1. “Ask the Pastor” will begin hosting a live and online audience Wednesday June 3.
  1. The sanctuary will be cleaned and sanitized both before and after Wednesday service.
  2. The social distancing guidelines that apply to Sunday gatherings must be adhered to on Wednesdays as well.
  3. No staffed nursery will be available, but the nursery will be open for parents who need it.
  1. We will continue to offer all services online, including Sunday morning worship and Wednesday “Ask the Pastor.”
  2. If you are sick, or have concerns, please stay home and watch online.

 

We know there are a multitude of opinions regarding how quickly we should or shouldn’t move in reopening.  We have chosen the middle ground.  While technically we could reopen May 17, we want to make sure we are fully prepared.  This will also give the board time to evaluate how Phase 1 is progressing, and give you time to evaluate what is best for you and your family at this time. 

 

During these days we will continue to reach out by mail, email, text, with phone calls, and any other means we can devise.  We will continue to engage our youth and children online and by other means until we feel it is safe and proper to begin in person youth and children’s gatherings again.

 

Please be patient with us as we navigate these uncertain times.  As always if you have questions please feel free to call, email, or text us.  We are here for you.  We love you, and we are looking forward to being together!

 

God Bless,

 

 

Brian Gordon