Tedious it may be to prepare our building for worship these days, we have a pandemic, and safety is of paramount concern. Thankfully, for seven months now, God has used our stringent safety protocols as a means to protect our worshipers. We are covid-free thus far.
Our auditorium is subjected to full-blown fumigation on Saturdays prior to worship and on Sundays after the worship. It is sprayed manually by a mild organic disinfectant after our second Sunday session. Thus, there is sanitation, prior to, after and even in-between Lord’s day services.
Being an enclosed air-conditioned facility, we open all doors, left and right, front and back, to cross-ventilate (stale air out; fresh air in) our auditorium after our first service. All attenders are required to wear face masks and face shields at all times and to physically distance while fellowshipping during breaks.
There is a one-meter distance between seats on all sides, although the place is never full as we presently take in only a fourth of our usual attendance on rotation basis (as we are still under General Community Quarantine). Further, those who attend have to fill out a stringent covid19-disclosure form before they are allowed to come.
We who preach do not wear masks while preaching nor have plexiglass barriers on the pulpit because we believe that preaching is a communicative activity where the facial expression of the preacher is indispensable to his preaching. A congregation wearing masks is bad enough; we cannot see the facial expressions of people as they react to our preaching; more barriers will not help. As much as we can help it, the preaching of God’s word must be free of barriers, even that which is psychological.
To counteract potential infection from the pulpit (assuming the preacher is asymptomatically sick) an empty no-seat zone ten-feet by ten-feet in front of the pulpit acts as an invisible barrier for droplets. Further, after the preaching a disinfectant is sprayed all over the pulpit area to neutralize the build up of aerosol clouds that may form from the preacher’s breath. The pulpit itself is also disinfected after every sermon and each preacher has his own wireless microphone.
Our worship service is hymnal-free and pew-Bible free. The hymns are projected on-screen and people are encouraged to bring their own Bibles. Eating inside the auditorium is prohibited.
Church doors are either entrance-only or exit-only and before you can enter any door, you have to step on a disinfectant foot-bath and have your temperature checked by the ushers. Alcohol and extra masks are available for those who may need it. To speed things up, our disclosure form is available online and notifications for permission or prohibition to attend are done the day prior to worship.
All of our air-conditioning systems have been recently cleaned and maintained and soon air-purifiers will be installed in our building.
It is our prayer that the Lord would be pleased to let things improve soon. But while the struggle with covid19 is not yet over, we want to remove any distracting fear that somehow one might get the virus by attending worship with us. With the strict safety measures we have in place, if everyone cooperates (as they have so far), it is possible that one may get the virus, but definitely, not here at MCBC. It is a safe place to worship.