Christ Our King Lutheran Church, Saline Michigan

Returning to In-Church Worship Plan as of June 7, 2020

Beginning on the weekend of June 13th and 14th, Christ Our King will begin to return to in-church worship services. This timing was chosen since Michigan and Washtenaw County will have moved from Phase 3 (Flattening the Curve) to Phase 4 (Improving) per the State’s COVID plan. Along with many other churches and businesses in the area, we will gradually and cautiously start increasing the use of our building and services. While taking precautions such as sanitizing, social distancing, wearing face coverings, etc. will reduce the risk of virus transmissions; we cannot entirely eliminate the risks of catching COVID-19 or any other illness. As a result, the following five different worship options will be made available to suit the needs of the congregation:

  1. Saturday, June 13 at 9:00 am, worship in the Sanctuary with Holy Communion (this service will be recorded for the online worship service)
  2. Sunday, June 14 at 8:15 am, worship in the Sanctuary with Holy Communion
  3. Sunday, June 14 at 10:00 am, worship in the Family Life Center with Holy Communion
  4. Online Worship services will still be available via the e-mail link and on the website, this is the safest option and will likely be offered indefinitely
  5. Worship/Communion by private appointment with Pastor throughout the week.

This plan and the many precautionary steps will be new to all of us and we will learn and adjust during the upcoming weeks. Some of us will find this plan excessive, while others will be comforted by the steps taken to increase safety. Please respect others’ opinions and concerns as we navigate our way through these changes. It is exciting and a Blessing from God that we can worship again in church! However, we do need to do this gradually and cautiously. Lots of learning and adjusting will be needed and the seating capacity will be much reduced. Please do not feel guilty if you decide not to return to in-church worship immediately. It will be helpful to have much reduced numbers initially while we learn how best to manage these many new adjustments; and while the virus is still posing a significant threat in our area. We will have much reduced seating capacity, so it is possible that some people will need to be asked to use the on-line worship service rather than attend the in-church service at that time. Please be patient and understanding if this situation occurs. We may be separated from each other physically, but we are connected with each other through faith in Jesus. We intend to follow this schedule and directions for the next couple of Sundays; always open to changes that will keep you safe.


Prior to Coming to Church:

  1. If you have tested positive for COVID 19 and have not yet been cleared of the virus, please stay home and view the church worship service online.
  2. If you feel sick or have had any cold or flu like symptoms in the past 14 days, please stay home and view the church service online. Symptoms may include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, or diarrhea.
  3. If you have been in close contact with people diagnosed with COVID 19 in the past 14 days, without wearing appropriate protection, please stay home and view the church service online.
  4. Members are encouraged to take their temperature prior to coming to church to ensure they do not have a fever (temp must be 99.9F or below).
  5. High risk members should strongly consider watching online services or attending private worship/communion services with Pastor by making appointments, at least until the virus threat further subsides in our area.
  6. If a member has been to an in-church worship service (or has been in the church building for any reason) and later tests positive, then immediately contact the church office or Pastor Tom, so proper actions can be taken.


Safety Actions:

  1. Encourage good hand hygiene among staff, volunteers, and all members of the congregation, by washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  2. Hand sanitizer will be available at all entrance locations.
  3. Each person who enters the church building is encouraged to wear a face mask/covering. This is especially important when social distancing will be difficult to achieve, such as during worship services. Face coverings are to protect others by reducing your germs from becoming airborne or contaminating surfaces. There are reasons for not wearing masks such as children under two years old and certain other people, due to health concerns. Face coverings will not be worn at all times near and beyond the communion rail, such as the lectern and pulpit areas, where social distancing can be maintained and when communion is being received.
  4. Members are encouraged to bring their own masks (homemade masks are acceptable but need to cover both the nose and mouth to be effective). The church will supply masks if needed, but please bring your own if possible.
  5. Everyone is asked to maintain social distance (six feet or more) from people outside their household whenever possible and to avoid having unnecessary contact with areas of the building or equipment that they do not need to use.
  6. Hands free soap dispensers and faucets were installed in most bathrooms.
  7. Touch free thermometers will be made available to check temperatures if desired.
  8. Drinking fountains will not be available for use.
  9. Applicable outside doors will be propped open before and after church services. Unfortunately, the bathroom layout designs are not conducive to propping those doors open.
  10. Doors will be closed to all offices, classrooms, kitchen and the library. Members should avoid going into these areas.
  11. The nursery will be closed. Toys have been cleaned and taken out of the nursery.
  12. The ceiling fans shall not be used in the sanctuary to reduce the spread of airborne germs.


Building Cleaning:

  1. Intensive cleaning with disinfectants will be performed by the janitor on Friday mornings, Saturday nights and Sunday afternoon/evenings to accommodate the in-church worship services.
  2. Frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, faucets, etc., will also be disinfected before and after the services. This will be done by a volunteer cleaning team with assistance from ushers and elders (If interested in volunteering please contact Kerrie Kwazniak or Pastor Tom).
  3. Disinfectant, wipes, and gloves will be placed in each bathroom and adult members are encouraged to use these as necessary wherever needed in the church. The disinfectants require two minute dwell times. Generally, it is best to disinfect areas of concern before and after use. These cleaning supplies will be used to clean the frequently touched surfaces as mentioned above; and should also be used for other purposes; such as the counters to disinfect their tables and equipment prior to and after counting. The gloves will be available in case someone is sensitive to the disinfectant chemicals.
  4. Documentation of the cleaning will be posted on the janitor’s closet door. Members and the janitor should document the cleaning performed at that location.
  5. We ask the leaders of equipment such as sound systems, video display systems, pianos, organs, etc., to please determine how best to manage and clean/disinfect the equipment; please create signs/instructions with procedures and post them at the equipment. Please communicate to your fellow members, who also use that equipment.
  6. We ask the leaders of church groups such as elders, musicians (choirs/praise team), counters, ushers, bible studies, etc., please consider your areas of responsibility and how best to manage the functions of these groups during these adjusting times. Communicate to your fellow members and Pastor Tom, how your group will adjust to this plan, how to maintain social distancing, how to clean/disinfect, etc. Some of these groups may need to continue to wait until risk levels diminish further to start up again.


In-Church Worship Services:

1. There will be three in-church worship services

  • Saturdays at 9:00 am in the Sanctuary
  • Sundays at 8:15 am in the Sanctuary
  • Sundays at 10:00 am in the Family Life Center

2. Capacity will be limited to less than 50% with seating arrangements to maintain social distancing of 6+ feet.

  • In the sanctuary, this will be accomplished by eliminating the use of every other row in the sanctuary. This will be achieved by sliding every other row of chairs all the way forward or backward until they contact the next row. Blocking every other row in this manner will ensure chairs are sat in only once per week (ushers and elders please help with moving the chairs forward or backward as needed, immediately following a church service in the sanctuary). Family members should sit together in each row, when possible, and there must be three empty chairs separating different families in each row. Seating will be based on a first come, first serve basis.
  • In the Family Life Center, a number of tables and chairs will be sufficiently distanced for members to use. Families should sit together, when possible, and there must be three empty chairs separating different families. Families with young children are encouraged to use the tables, which will have children bulletins and crayons. Seating will be based on a first come, first serve basis.

3. Changing the location of worship from the Sanctuary to the Family Life Center on Sunday mornings and shifting the chairs forward or backward to block off every other row in the sanctuary is intended to keep people from sitting in the same chairs for greater than a 3 day period to allow any virus to dissipate on the difficult to clean chair surfaces.

4. There will be no greeters, no handshaking, hugging, and no fellowship hour inside the building initially. No coffee or snacks to be made or distributed in the church.

5. The offering plate, hymnals, and the fellowship books will not be passed out. An offering plate will be located at the entrances to the Sanctuary and the Family Life Center. The worship service will be printed and on the screens. Please take home or throw away the printed service when you are done with it, these cannot be recycled.

6. There will not be a children’s message during the services. A link to Mrs. TK’s children’s message is included in the Sunday Worship service e-mail and in the weekly e-mail that is sent out on Saturdays. If you are not receiving these e-mails, you can sign up at the website, christ-our-king.org.

7. The nursery will be closed.

8. Parents are encouraged to go with their young children to the restrooms, if needed during the services.

9. There is a concern that singing can assist spreading viruses by projecting exhaled water droplets further distances. Wearing face coverings will lessen this concern. Anyone not wearing a face covering, should only sing if other people are greater than 12 feet away to lessen this concern.

10. At the end of each service, rows/tables will be dismissed individually through multiple doors to maintain distancing. Pastor Tom will dismiss the rows.

11. At the 10:00 am service in the Family Life Center there will be 4 points of entry and exit. The two north doorways, the south doors and the east door by the kitchen.

12. Ushers and elders are to have appropriate exit doors propped open before the services and again at the end of the services.

13. Members are encouraged to leave the church building immediately after the worship services are over. Socializing is encouraged to be done outside in the parking lot away from the doorways. When checking church mail boxes, please do it quickly and maintain social distancing.


Holy Communion:

  1. Communion will typically be done on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays of the month, but will also be done on this first weekend of services, June 13th and 14th.
  2. Communion will take place after the benediction. Congregants, not going to communion, will be dismissed at this time after the benediction.
  3. Communion will be done by continuous flow with one line of people down the center aisle of the church.
  4. There will be markings on the center aisle way spaced 7 feet apart to maintain distancing. Just before receiving the elements the marking on the floor is an orange cross, face coverings can be pulled down or removed at that time. Please place face coverings back on as you leave communion.
  5. We will commune one side of the congregation and then the other.
  6. The elements will be separated by distance on two tables.
  7. Members should not kneel at the communion rail, since it will not allow for proper distancing. Please meditate or pray after you leave the church building.
  8. After communion, communicants will drop their empty cups into provided containers for disposal.
  9. Following reception of communion, congregants should not return to their seats but proceed to exit the building instead. Fellowship can be done in the parking lot but follow social distancing. Ushers will need to prop open the appropriate doors after the benediction (before communion) on communion Sundays.

For the next several weeks or more, other church meetings and events, besides the church services, are discouraged in the church building. We need to gather sufficient supplies, manage the amount of time and resources needed for cleaning and disinfecting, and see how the threat of this virus changes as things progress in our area. Some critical functions will be considered after discussions with the Pastors and Elders as needed, but at much reduced capacities following similar guidelines as stated in this Plan. Non-church related meetings and events are discouraged through the end of August to minimize risk to the virus.

As always to have a healthy church physically and spiritually we need to listen to each other, put the best construction on things, and respect one another in Christian love as we navigate in a new frontier.

Peace in Jesus,