Reopening Operation Levels

Intro to OL1

We are excited to share our plans for resuming in-person gatherings since the health crisis began. We know that many of you have varying levels of risk tolerance, so we are offering multiple avenues for you to participate in the gathering. We encourage everyone to be respectful of different people’s choices about how to participate, and to observe the safety protocols outlined here as a way to care for your brothers and sisters in Christ during this time.

Please understand that this first gathering is a pilot gathering, and we will make adjustments based on your feedback. We totally understand if some of you may want to wait until we have our system worked out, but we welcome anyone who feels they are ready to join at your discretion.

Click the image to the right to download a PDF of Metanoia’s Operation Level 1 Programming and Policy (calendars, print outs, check lists, info on outdoor worship/CG/LTG, and more).

We are so excited to begin coming together again to glorify God as a community. We are hopeful that the following guidelines will help to keep people safe as we begin this new adventure of meeting again during the current health crisis. At the same time, we want everyone to feel comfortable choosing what will be best for you and your family at this time. Please feel free to come whenever you are ready!

In Christ,

The Health and Safety Committee
Kim Feldman (leader), Amanda Brooks, Kristen Christy, Hunter DeJarnette, Tom McNamara, and Sarah Sullivan

Participant Options

1st and 3rd Sundays–Outdoor drive-in/field Worship Gathering

9:00am–Bethel Baptist Church

  • Virtual–The gathering will be streamed live on YouTube for those who are at high risk, who are caring for those at high risk, have young children that may not comply with masks and social distancing, or have any other constraints on meeting outside at this time.
  • Drive-in–There will be a designated area for participants who wish to remain in their cars. They will be able to see the gathering, and we will broadcast the event on an FM frequency. Drive-in participants can roll-down their windows or listen on FM radio based on their risk tolerance.
  • Field–We will have designated seating areas marked with field paint, separated by 12 feet. Further guidance on participating in the field will be described below.

2nd, 4th, & 5th Sundays

Virtual Worship streamed live on YouTube at 10:30am

Outdoor Worship Gathering

Place

We will be gathering in the back parking lot and field of Bethel Baptist Church (4261 Montgomery Rd, Ellicott City, MD 21043). We will not have access to bathrooms at the location, but the location is across the street from Target and other stores in case of emergencies.

Time

The gathering will begin promptly at 9:00am and last approximately 30 minutes to minimize potential of exposure, because there are no bathrooms, and also because Bethel requires time in order to set up their own worship service.

RSVP

RSVP’s were requested for our first 2 outdoor worship gatherings, but are no longer requested.

Safety Protocols for Gathering in the Field

Maryland requires masks in public buildings and transportation and strongly recommends masks in public places where physical distancing might not be possible. Masks are a way to protect those around us in case we might expose others to illness. Wearing masks is a way to love our neighbor and protect the vulnerable during this time. Physical distancing of at least 6 feet is also recommended by the CDC and state and local government. Further recommendations for congregational singing suggest 12 foot distancing. For this reason, we are requiring 6 foot distancing at all times and 12 foot spacing for sitting in the field.

  • Masks
    • All participants (except under age 2) must wear masks at all times.
    • Masks should be put on before exiting your vehicle and cannot be removed until back in your vehicle.
    • You may remove your mask during the sermon. Please follow the preachers instructions of when to remove and when to replace your mask.
  • Physical Distancing
    • Please observe 6 foot physical distancing in the parking lot and on your way to a designated seating area.
    • Seating areas are spaced 12 feet apart and will be indicated by athletic field paint.
    • Parents are responsible for keeping children within their designated seating area.
    • Please follow instructions from ushers for arrival and dismissal.

Before you Come

  • If anyone has any of the following symptoms associated with COVID-19, they must not attend the gathering and should participate virtually instead…
    • Fever
    • Sore throat
    • Cough
    • Nausea or diarrhea
    • Shortness of breath
    • Loss of taste or smell
  • If anyone has been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 should not attend the gathering for 14 days after exposure and participate virtually instead.
  • If anyone has traveled to a known COVID-19 hot spot or has been exposed to someone displaying any of the above symptoms within the last 10-14 days, they are recommended not to attend the gathering and should participate virtually.

Arrival and Dismissal

We want this to be as simple and enjoyable as possible under the circumstances, so here are a few guidelines to help you prepare for your time together and to ensure our time runs smoothly.

  • Remember that there are no bathrooms, so go before you come!
  • Bring your own chair or blanket to sit on (there is some goose poop in the field).
  • Arrive early to set up seating area–late arrivals will be asked to remain in car for drive-in participation.
  • Follow instructions from parking attendant and signage about where to park for drive-in or in-field gathering.
  • Masks on before leaving the vehicle.
  • Observe physical distancing of 6 feet when moving through parking lot and field.
  • Go straight to a designated seating area marked by athletic field paint in the field.
  • Refrain from wandering to socialize–feel free to chat with those around you from the comfort of your designated seating area!
  • Remain in designated seating area until your row is dismissed.

Singing

Congregational singing under some circumstances is considered a higher risk activity. However, most guidance about avoiding congregational singing has to do with indoor gatherings. We are not medical professionals, but based on what we have read, we believe that a short gathering outdoor with masks and 12 foot distancing will offer the most protection possible for participants, but those who are at higher risk and have a low risk tolerance, should be aware that there will be singing and are welcome to choose the drive-in option if preferable.

Children

Children are an important part of our congregation, and we want children and families with children to feel welcome at our gathering. However, we also need to make sure that safety protocols of masks and physical distancing are observed.

Families are welcome to join us in the field if children are supervised, wearing masks (age 2 and older), and staying with an adult in their circle at all times. Families with young children may consider sitting in a circle on the periphery.

Children can wander outside of their circle AWAY from the gathering and AWAY from other individuals and families as long as they are WITH AN ADULT at all times. Families that are not ready to deal with masks and physical distancing are welcome to join us in the drive-in or virtual option! We can’t wait to see you no matter what you choose, and we totally respect your decision!

Weather

Please review our outdoor weather policy here.

  • If it is raining or significant threat of rain at the start time, the outdoor gathering will be an all drive-in gathering.
  • If there is lightning during the outdoor gathering, participants will be asked to move to cars for the remainder of the gathering.
  • If there is significant threat for severe weather, the leadership team will use normal channels of contacting partners (email, Facebook, and website) to move to an all online stream at 10:30am.

Feedback

We know that not everything will work perfectly as planned the first time that we gather in each operation level. Your feedback on how things are going will help us to make adjustments as needed. Please fill out this survey any time you have feedback or suggestions to share. If you have questions or would like to discuss these policies, feel free to contact Health and Safety Committee leader, Kim Feldman, or any Metanoia Elder.

Community Groups

Men’s and Women’s Ministry follow CG policy. (More information on Community Groups.)

1. CGs can meet virtually or in-person outdoors under the following conditions even if Metanoia Church is not ready for large indoor worship gatherings and can continue meeting as long as State and County governments allow religious meetings of 10 or more.

2. It is up to each CG to decide if they are comfortable meeting in person.

  • The CG Co-leaders should try to talk with people individually in addition to the entire CG as a group in order to determine people’s risk tolerance and preferences. Discussing individually allows people to be more honest than they might be in a group and discussing together allows them to understand differing perspectives.
  • CG needs to consider how to encourage distancing for children–maybe set up a computer for them to watch something together.
  • Respect the needs of those with lowest risk tolerance.
  • Encourage open and on-going communication.
  • Consider allowing some participants to meet in person while others Zoom into the meeting.

3. CG Co-leaders must fill out the Event Attendance Form if CG meets in person. (A link to the form is also available on the main page of Metanoia’s website.)

4. If in-person outdoors, Metanoia strongly recommends:

  • Masks 
  • 6 ft physical distance
  • Bring your own chair or clean chair before and after use by guest
  • If masks are not worn, consider limiting time of exposure

Life Transformation Groups (LTGs)

Metanoia recommends LTGs and strongly encourages masks and social distancing during meetings.

1. Groups can be virtual or in-person outdoors with the group deciding based on the risk tolerance of each member (taking care to respect the needs of those with lowest risk tolerance)

2. If in-person outdoors, Metanoia strongly recommends:

  • Masks
  • 6 ft physical distance
  • Bring your own chair or clean chair before and after use by guest
  • If masks are not worn, consider limiting time of exposure

3. LTGs must fill out the Event Attendance Form if LTG meets in person.

Click for more information on LTGs.