The health of people in our church and community is one of our highest priorities right now. While Freshwater is doing everything possible to limit the spread of the virus, there is a risk of COVID-19 exposure in any place where people are gathered. According to the CDC, senior citizens and those with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable. Please keep this in mind when planning to attend any activity or gathering.
Regathering Walk-Through Update (10/6/2020)
Regathering Walk-Through (9/30/2020)
FAQs ABOUT REGATHERING INDOORS
- Starting October 11, 2020
- 8:45 am Sunday service no children’s discipleship classes. Seating is limited so pre-registering is required for worship center seating. Doors will open at 8:25am.
- 10:30 am Sunday service with Gen Now Kids’ classes: toddlers through sixth grade. Seating is limited so pre-registering is required for Worship Center seating and Gen Now Kids. Doors will open at 10:10 am.
- There will be a continuing online option available.
- Registration link can be found at thefreshwater.church/rsvp the week before the services.
- When you are in the building, you must wear a mask if you are in kindergarten or older. Exceptions are made for valid medical reasons. Please be respectful of this request.
- A greeter will welcome you at our main entry doors which are numbered 1, 2, and 7. These doors will be propped open to let you know you are able to enter and to provide less surface contact.
- Once you enter you will see socially distanced areas to wait to be seated. If you are bringing children to the second service, you will proceed to the Gen Now Kids check-in area where a Kids’ Connection Team member will assist you. We are asking families who are checking in children to enter door 7.
- There will be no coffee bar.
- Ushers will seat you in households/peer associations
- A household is defined as a group of people who live together. Some examples would be family living together or roommates.
- A peer association is a group of people who spend at least 3 days a week together in close proximity. Some examples of this would be grandparents or dating couples.
- You must arrive together to be seated together.
- A row in front and behind and at least two seats between will separate groups.
- Seating will be available in the worship center and overflow areas depending on your arrival time.
- If people need to leave during the service, they need to move through their household/peers associates or to the least crowded side of the row.
- No bulletins/programs
- We will be singing.
- The service will be an hour or less to allow us to sanitize.
- Offering plates will not be passed. Offerings can be placed in bronze boxes on the wall near the exits. It is recommended that you give online.
About GenNow Kids Ministry (10:30 am service only)
- You must register your children online by age/grade level (toddlers-sixth grade) for them to attend GenNow Kids Ministry. We will be sending out information soon to let you know how to do this.
- Our Kids Connection Team will check in all families at the kiosks.
- We are working on a remote check in from an app on your phone. More information will be coming on how to access this app soon.
- Families should enter through door 7 and go to the waiting area in the Foyer.
- Kids’ temperatures will be taken at check-in and must be under 100.4 degrees.
- Children will be asked to sanitize their hands at check in.
- There will be no nursery.
- No diaper bags allowed. Parents of toddlers need to bring a gallon Ziplock with child’s name on it. It needs to have several diapers and wipes.
- Only one parent is to drop off/pick up their child. No older siblings, please.
- Classrooms will have socially distanced assigned seating using color codes/shapes.
- All children will have their own supply box so that supplies will not be shared.
- No food will be used in the lessons.
- All classroom surfaces will be sanitized each week-including toys.
- Once parents have taken their children to their classes, they will be asked to enter and sit in the righthand section of the Worship Center.
- At the conclusion of the service, parents will be dismissed through the front right door of the worship center to form a line in the hall and foyer to pick up their children. A GenNow Kids Ministry volunteer with assist you from there.
- The building will be sanitized to the best of our abilities prior to opening the doors on Sundays.
- Cleaning of occupied areas and contacted surfaces will happen after both services.
- All areas and surfaces will be appropriately cleaned and sanitized prior to subsequent ministry activities, meetings, and events.
- If you have any questions, please find a Connection Team Member or ask at the new Next Steps desk.
- Based on county conditions we will evaluate holding services from week to week.
- Ushers will dismiss rows wedding style from the rear of the worship center to designated exits.
- Families with children in classes during the second hour will be dismissed to the front right exit.
- Please no gathering after service inside the building. Please exit the building.
If you don’t want to read all the information above, be sure to read the following:
1. Masks are required.
2. Practice social distancing.
3. Register online for services.
4. Grace. Grace. Grace.
IN-PERSON INDOOR SERVICES
We’re headed back inside! October 11 will be our first Sunday back indoors. Here is a snapshot of the details:
-Two services at 8:45 and 10:30 am
-Attendance will be capped.
-Registration: We are going to have to have registrations to be able to honor the cap on numbers in the services and with our Kids’ Ministry.
-Masks required: two years old and up per government requirements (exceptions will be made for medical exemptions)
-Kids’ Ministry will only be for the 10:30 service (toddlers thru 4th grade).
We’ll be sending out information in the weeks ahead that will explain more details and even some of the rationale behind the decisions. We just wanted to get this out to you as soon as possible. Also, we will be constantly evaluating and seeking to pivot our strategy in order to be as effective as possible.
REACTION: We have a pretty good idea that the plan we feel we need to put in place will evoke strong emotional reactions. So the only word I have is grace. Just grace. Lots of grace. We realize this will be annoying. Frustrating? Yep. Don’t like it? Sure. Don’t agree with it? Yeah, that too. The reality is what we call normal is shot to pieces. It’s definitely not optimal. We get that. No argument there.
We are trying to take the long view on this. I would encourage you to ask yourself, what if the virus restrictions go on for another 12-18 months? It’s happened multiple times in the history of the world and was consistently highly disruptive and chaotic and yet somehow the church survived and even thrived. So why not now and why not Freshwater? If we think about the Bubonic Plague or the Spanish Flu, those were far worse than what we’re going through. As a church family I have been optimistic that we would rise to the challenge. What’s encouraging is how many at Freshwater are seeking to make the best of a difficult season rather than just bail for whatever reason. We’re doing it. We are getting through this. And not just barely making it to the end but thriving all the way through. We have been roughed up by the chaos and frustration of all of it, but God is pulling us through. He is! We have been seeing people join Freshwater, people coming to faith, people being baptized. Our Student Ministry just had an unbelievable retreat up at Beulah Beach. Over 70 students attended! One young woman came into the retreat looking for how to have a relationship with God. That’s how the retreat started! She was looking for God!!! We have over 70 women in Bible study. Our giving is up 1% for the year. I’ll take it! It’s up.
We can do this Freshwater family. Stay tuned as more details come in the weeks ahead.
An announcement will be made soon about the date for opening the building for Sunday services. Please know that this decision has been covered in prayer for many months.
This announcement will will set into motion a lot of details. Refer back to this page often as it will be updated regularly. Currently, the plan is to regather with
- Two services
- Pre-registration required
- A cap on the number of attendees in the Worship Center and Kids’ Wing
- Masks required for ages two and up due to the current state-wide mask mandate (excluding those with medical exemptions)
- Social distancing observed
- Enhanced sanitizing procedures throughout the building
- An online service for those worshipping at home
- Grace for everyone in these uncharted waters
Although this has been a challenging season, we have been amazed by what God has done in the lives of our Freshwater family. He has proved time and time again that His work is not constrained by the walls of a building. We are excited to see what’s in store in the coming months!
This week Governor Mike Dewine issued a state-wide mandate that masks be worn indoors and outdoors where social distancing isn’t possible. Because of this, we are asking that you wear a mask to Sunday’s outdoor service if you are worshipping outside of your car. Thank you for your cooperation!
Let’s get this regatherin’ thing going again. Whatcha think? On June 21, we’re going to start regathering. The survey came back of who would come and who wouldn’t and it was basically a tie between staying home and coming to the campus. We did instant replay and those who would hold off coming won by just a hair. We heard in follow-up conversations that some of our people who said, “No” in the survey would be more inclined to come if services were held outdoors.
So, without going into all of the complexities, we believe it is time to regather and we’re going to do it OUTSIDE starting on Sunday, June 21, with re-evaluation for each subsequent week until we believe it is safe and feasible to move indoors. The service will start at 10 am with an abbreviated service, rain or shine. We’re going outside because we believe it will bring more options for people. The stage will be somewhere on the south side next to the parking lot and the grass. If you want to stay in your car, you will be able to listen to the service on your radio. If you want to bring your lawn chairs and spread out around the stage, feel free. Outside will obviously be more relaxed for young families. In our conversations we think this may be the most attractive option that could potentially gather the most people. Again, it will be rain or shine. 🙂 And we realize it rains a lot in N.E. Ohio and that may hurt our attendance, but we can’t be changing formats at the last minute. We will also be recording the service and posting it online later that day.
One of the things we wrestled with is that every decision brings good things and bad things. Regathering brings us back together. That’s really good. But some of what we would call normal will be impacted. First, our video/sound production will not be as good because it is outside and live, and there is no real editing we can do—we are constrained by the equipment, or lack thereof. But we are still committed to a video presence online. We also realize that due to the restraints below, a normal sense of community and fellowship here at Freshwater will be impacted. When compared to the choice of not meeting, we believe it is still worth it to gather even though it will look and feel a little different.
These are the guidelines we ask everyone to follow:
- Everyone should maintain social distancing of six feet between households.
- We recommend wearing a mask but it is not required.
- Please limit the use of restrooms. The restrooms in the Foyer of the church will be open.
Here’s what we ask: Romans 14 calls us to respect each other, especially in areas where someone has convictions or struggles that we may not. If you’re at a point where you don’t want to wear a mask and want to hug everyone and are tired of all the social distancing – fantastic. But remember that half of the church is not where you are. As Paul wrote, please show restraint and honor the leadership’s guidelines even though it may “Chap your hide”.
President Trump’s announcement that churches should reopen is encouraging to all of us! We are praying and preparing for regathering together in person. Our priority is the safety of those who will come into the church building and our entire community.
The service will also be posted to our Vimeo channel: https://vimeo.com/freshwaterwadsworth
and streamed to our Youtube channel:
As a first step to regathering, we are opening up opportunities for our smaller groups. As of next week we will be opening up the campus to small groups of 10 or less during the week and encouraging our Community Groups to gather, if comfortable for participants and hosts, and in groups of 10 or less. There are guidelines below for on campus meetings and off campus activities pertaining to adults and children under their oversight (guidelines for off campus youth events led by the youth leadership is also included). Hand sanitizer will is available at points throughout the church. We recommend that the doors stay propped open. If you need to close the door due to subject matter, please sanitize your hands after entering the room.
Our hope is that the 10 or less restrictions will be lifted soon and we can adjust to a new number at that time. Next steps to regathering will be forthcoming as the leadership plans a path forward that is best for our church and surrounding communities.
Small Group On Campus Indoor Guidelines (subject to change as needed)
– Use of building MUST go through the office/pastoral staff for scheduling
– In accordance with CDC and State Gov. guidance (currently 10 or less, 6 feet of social distance)
– Plastic chairs only
– Available Rooms: 102 A and B, Main Foyer, and Bathrooms in Main Foyer
– Closed: Kitchen, 104, 101, Hub, Children’s wing, Family Bathrooms, and Worship Center
– No food
– Masks recommended
– Temperature taken onsite (IR thermometers will be provided at a future date for group leaders to administer. Take temp at home until then. If elevated, stay home).
Small Group Off Campus Indoor Guidelines for Organized Freshwater Gatherings (subject to change as needed)
– Host and leader required to clarify guidelines
– In accordance with CDC and State Gov. guidance (currently 10 or less, 6 feet of social distance)
– Masks are recommended (unless host requires)
– Adult activities: Temperature of adults and children under their care taken at home (if elevated, stay home)
– Youth Activities: Temperature taken onsite (IR thermometers will be provided at a future date for group leaders to administer. Take temp at home until then. If elevated, stay home).