COVID-19 Return Plan

The Covid-19 Public Restrictions will end! The day will come when once again we will leave our homes, return to our jobs, our schools, our lives in some new normal sense of regularity. Please note that not all questions can be addressed and answered in this plan. The reason being that we are continuing to traverse unexplored territory, and we will also and always be following the instructions, guidelines, and mandates of the Maryland State government, per Governor Larry Hogan. Specifically, the use of masks, gloves, etc. will be addressed as instructed by our Governor.
Ken Braddy, Lifeway’s Director of Sunday School writes, “If you think we’ll all rush back to church and pick up where we left off, don’t kid yourself – it’s not going to happen. Or at least it SHOULDN’T happen. We need to think and plan carefully so we do not endanger people simply because we let our guard down and believed that the Coronavirus crisis had passed… let us agree to be proactive and to act in wisdom towards our members and guests, especially those among us who are most susceptible to becoming infected with Covid-19.” (
Therefore, the following Covid-19 return plan will guide our actions prior to, and upon our return to our facility. 

We will return only when the State of Emergency Phase #3 Return, enacted by Governor Hogan, has been enacted.

Phase 3 states that gatherings of 250 may be held. To return to being open to the public at numbers less than 250 would force us to determine who can and cannot enter into the building. This is not reasonable or practical. When it is time, we will start with a single service at 10:30 with a view to returning to 8:30, and potentially additional services and times as needed, to allow for more people to attend in person, but in smaller groups.

We will return to a Worship-only format for the foreseeable future.

The close proximity of persons in classrooms, be it our children, youth, or adults, increases the likelihood of possible infection. Therefore, only our nursery will be open for infants. Programs like JaM on Sunday mornings, along with our mid-week groups will not meet on campus. Children’s Church will be provided remotely, coordinated by our Director of Children’s Ministry, Jennifer Conde. We are currently providing a Tuesday
night children’s Bible Study on Facebook and children’s worship opportunities on our website.

Communion will continue to be observed, led on-line, and celebrated at home.

There is no way to insure contamination will not occur, regardless of the mode of observance (passing serving plates/self-contained elements/etc.) Therefore, communion will be observed at home, with our families – as it was done in the early church. An instructional video will be provided by Pastor Painter, and participants will participate through Zoom.
Baptisms will be led on-line and celebrated at home.
As with communion, no mode of public baptism can insure the safety of the baptizer and the baptized. Therefore, home baptisms will be the way new believers publicly declare their faith, sharing their act of obedience through social media venues. Pastor Painter will provide an instructional video prior to scheduled baptisms, similar to the video provided for observing communion at home. Zoom will be used to equip and
empower our church to celebrate with those being baptized.
Physical “pass the plate” offering will no longer be our method for receiving tithes and offerings in worship.
“How would you feel if you were the 100th person in a worship service to touch the  offering plate that 99 other people just touched? Would you be worried about Covid-19 transmission? Sure you would.” (Ken Braddy, ibid.) Therefore, persons will be encouraged at that portion of the worship service to take out their cell phones and give online. Offering plates will be placed at the back of the worship center as well as on the corners of the altar, as well as a secure collection box in the hallway where persons can slip in a check or cash, etc. You may also place your offering in any of the
locations made available when you come into the church.
All Summer Camps/Community Outreaches/ etc. are cancelled until further notice for both our church and community groups using both our facilities and our campus.
We will look for other ways to do outreach so that we can serve and engage with our community, and would love to hear your ideas for how.
Our facilities (Worship Center/Bathrooms/Welcome Center, etc.) will be sanitized prior to, between, and following worship service by our “kill the crud” team.
This will be done by a new ministry team headed by our facilities manager, Dan Bagnell. In the event of an overflowing toilet, etc. in the bathrooms at any time, the “kill the crud team” will address the issue.
We will continue to offer and expand our online worship and Bible study classes after we re-open.
What exciting news of hope it is to know that during the Covid-19 lock-down, we have been exponentially reaching more people on-line than we ever reached with our in person gatherings. (example: our average Sunday morning attendance for worship prior to Covid-19 was about 115 people. Our average online worship attendance during Covid-19 has been between  closer to 350. The future of our church is directly connected to our
online outreach and ministries. The Great Commission of Jesus recorded in Matthew 28:16-20 forms the foundation of our church’s mission statement: “Bring them in…Building them up… Send them out!” Christ’s commission and our mission does not stop due to Covid-19 or anything else. We are called by God to be ever diligent and ever vigilant to reach, preach, and teach Christ, now more than ever!
Door greeters/ushers/security team members will operate differently from pre-COVID-19.
Cresthill will adopt a “zero touch” policy on doors to reduce common touch points. Any internal doors that can be left propped open, will be. Doors that cannot be left open will be manned by a greeter or security team member, to open that door for anyone who needs to pass through, so they do not need to touch it. If the greeter is positioned on the outswing side of the door, they can position the door between themselves and the people passing through the door, to mitigate the close proximity to those people. A mask can also be worn by the greeter if needed. Cresthill will also investigate installing an automatic handicap door on the front entrance. In addition to the accessibility benefits, this will also allow greeters to open
the door and stay more than 6 feet from those entering.
The “Meet and Greet” time following the praise set will no longer be a part of our worship services.
Please respect other’s space and your own, Instead of a hug or a handshake, SMILE AND WAVE!
Altar calls (people coming physically to the altar) during the commitment time will no longer be used in worship.
During the commitment time, worshipers, both in house and online will be encouraged to use their electronic devices to indicate their decisions. All decisions will, as always, remain confidential and followed up by our staff. We are currently using this methodology for our online services and will continue to do so once we are able to meet together.
The Welcome Center will not personally engage visitors (until further notice).
Information and guest bags will be made available at a display table located in the entrance of the Welcome Center. Guests will be directed there to obtain these by our Welcome Center Team/Ushers/Greeters/etc. A welcome center team member will be available to answer questions and direct visitors.
The kitchen window will be closed until Covid-19 concerns are no longer an issue.
Hands-free sanitizer stations will be located strategically across our campus.
Examples: In the lobby, just outside the restrooms, in the hallways, etc.
Masks will be worn upon arrival on our campus in accordance to the recommendations of our
Governor and County Executive.
Masks are always encouraged for persons with compromised health conditions or as a matter of personal preference by the worshiper.
Paper Bulletins will no longer be printed and distributed, but please bring your own notebooks or journals to take notes if you prefer paper for note taking.
Bulletins are germ carriers due to the process of printing and transporting and placing them in the hands of our worshipers. An online bulletin will be available.
The Worship Center seating will be arranged in accordance to social distancing recommendations.
Chairs will be arranged to accommodate both family groups, and individuals. Seating options will be made available, as much as possible to all our in-house worshipers. As much as possible, please do not rearrange seats, for the benefit of all.
Worshipers will promptly exit the facility after the service, practicing proper social distancing until they enter their vehicles to exit our campus.