COVID-19 Preparedness Plan
for Lutheran Church of the Ascension
Burnsville, Minnesota

• These COVID-19 protocols are available in the church narthex in printed form.
Signs will be posted in the narthex to promote, explain, and encourage many of the everyday protective measures listed here.

Common Sense Requests
Please stay homeif you are ill, or showing symptoms of COVID-19. Likewise, if someone in your household is ill, or if you have been in close contact with someone who has contracted COVID-19 please stay home.
Please know the risks and choose wisely and appropriately whether or not you should attend worship services in person. Persons over 65 and those with underlying health conditions (e.g. heart disease, lung disease, diabetes) are at greater risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. The Divine Service will continue to be posted on Facebook, YouTube, and our website for those who choose to stay home.  Outdoor Communion services will also continue to be offered each week as weather permits.

General Guidelines
• Please wash your hands often, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
• Please avoid touching your face, especially your mouth, nose, and eyes, with your fingers or hands.
• Please cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed.
• Please social distance yourself (and your children) at least 6 feet from the people around you.
• All frequently touched surfaces (e.g. pew backs and ends, door handles, light-switches, etc.) in the building will be cleaned and disinfected prior to each worship service. Please touch surfaces only when necessary.
Only the family bathroom will be available. Please wash hands thoroughly after use.  Please use the automatic door opener to enter and a paper towel to open the door when leaving.
Do not enter the areas beyond the narthex.  They are off limits at this time.
• The seating capacity of our church is 200 people. State guidelines limit us to 25% of our capacity, so we are limited to 50 people per worship service.

Arriving for the Divine Service
• Narthex entrance doors will be propped open (weather permitting), or held open by a greeter so you do not need to touch the doors. Sanctuary doors will be propped open.
Hand sanitizer will be available in the narthex. Worshipers are encouraged to use hand sanitizer when entering or leaving the sanctuary. Any donations of hand sanitizer are welcomed and may be left on the ushers’ stand in the narthex.
You are encouraged, but not required, to wear a face covering (mask or shield) if it is difficult for you to practice social distancing of 6 feet or more. Please bring your own face covering from home if you choose to use one.  A limited number of face masks/shields will be available if you forget yours.
No bulletins, Narthex News, or hymnals will be handed out.
• An offering plate will be available in the narthex to be used prior to the worship service. Offering plates will not be passed or used during the service.  You are encouraged to use on-line giving as an alternate means of giving your offering to the Lord.
• Please do not shake hands, hug, or touch people in greeting before the service, but do your best to maintain social distancing of 6 feet.
• Please do not congregate in the narthex, but proceed immediately into the sanctuary to a pew.
• Please seat yourself in the frontmost pew available. To encourage social distancing every other pew will be marked as unavailable.
• Please seat yourself (and your family) at least 6 feet from others in the same pew to maintain social distancing.
• Please be courteous to and patient with one another.  Practice Christian love and do not judge each other for following or not following all suggested guidelines.

During the Divine Service
Volunteers assisting with worship may be moving around during the service, but all others are encouraged to remain in their seat except when receiving Holy Communion.
• Please do not shake hands, hug, or touch people in greeting during the service, but do your best to maintain social distancing of 6 feet.
• There will be no sharing of the peace, but all are encouraged to contact fellow worshipers via phone later in the day with words of greeting and encouragement.
Continuous Communion will be used during the Service of the Sacrament.  Please come forward after the worshipers in pews in front of you have communed, maintaining the suggested 6 foot social distance.
Pastor will be distributing both the body and blood of Jesus to each communicant.  He will sanitize his hands immediately before the consecration and distribution.
Please cup your hands to receive the body of Christ so that Pastor may safely place the wafer into your hand.
Please grab the bottom of the individual cup to receive the blood of Christ as Pastor carefully hands it to you.
• Please dispose of your empty individual cup in the receptacle provided near the end of the first pew and then return to your seat for meditation and prayer.
• Please be courteous to and patient with one another.  Practice Christian love and do not judge each other for following or not following all suggested guidelines.

After the Divine Service
• Please usher yourself out once the pews behind you have been vacated.  Remember to do your best to maintain social distancing of 6 feet as you leave the sanctuary.
Our Bible study will be held in the sanctuary until further notice.  Those staying for Bible study should remain seated until all others have left.
Pastor will be greeting people at the door, but will not be shaking hands or hugging.
• Please do not shake hands, hug, or touch people in greeting after the service, but do your best to maintain social distancing of 6 feet.
• Please do not congregate in the narthex, but proceed immediately outside to briefly greet one another and have conversations at a safe distance.
• Please be courteous to and patient with one another.  Practice Christian love and do not judge each other for following or not following all suggested guidelines.

Every Day Practices
Please continue to pray for one another, for the holy Christian Church throughout the world, for our congregation, and for your pastor.
Please continue to pray for our president and nation, our governor and state, and our mayors and communities.
Please be patient and forgiving.  Each person is encouraged to respect the Christian liberty of others, refraining from forming opinions about others in terms of whether or not they attend in-person services, wear a face covering, or socially distance.  Our highest desire is for the spiritual care of our members and guests, while maintaining a conscientious desire for the physical care of those gathering in worship.

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