Sunday Re-opening Guidelines and Directives


Please see below for the guidelines for our re-opening plan along with FAQs.


Phase 3: Vigilant

  • Masks must be worn at all times unless you have a health condition.
  • Social distancing of at least 6 feet should be followed at all times.
  • No Handshakes/Embraces.
  • Reduced seating capacity with at least 6 feet of separation between non-family members
  • The classrooms, kitchen, downstairs fellowship, and office area are closed. (Only bathrooms are open downstairs for now)
  • Parents with young children will need to have their children with them at all times.
  • Children’s Ministry is being offered virtually at this time.
  • No coffee or food will be served.
  • The service will be approximately one hour long.
  • Sick or exposed must stay home.
  • Those with pre-existing respiratory medical conditions, immunocompromised, elderly, and others should stay home.
  • Weekly cleaning of meeting space following CDC & State guidelines.
  • When entering the building, be seated as soon as possible
  • When exiting the building, follow the dismissal instructions from a pastor, deacon, or usher.


Reopening Questions (FAQ)

We are excited to begin gathering again, but the reality is it will take a while for all of us to return. The following document interprets the MA state requirements for reopening, in light of our particular situation. The states requirements are written in black, with questions/ our responses in blue.



How long will be our Sunday service? 1 hour

Will you continue to live stream the service? Yes

Is our entire congregation permitted to gather this Sunday? No.

  • All places of worship shall limit occupancy to 40 percent of the building’s maximum permitted occupancy level as documented in its occupancy permit on record with the municipal building department or other municipal record holder. The occupant count shall include all persons inside the place of worship, including attendees and staff.
  • Staff or attendants shall monitor the number of attendees entering the place of worship to ensure compliance with the maximum occupancy level.
  • Comment: Since our building capacity is 200 people, that would limit us to 80 people during Phase 3, but due to the required social distancing guidelines the actual number we can accomodate is 40-50 (see below). Pastors will monitor the number of persons present each Sunday to insure we do not exceed state compliance requirements.
  • If attending in person, please follow the designated schedule for your Lifegroup or community.
  • This starts with the Franklin Lifegroup and the Franklin and Bellingham areas on May 24th and alternating every other week to begin.



How will social distancing impact our service and our seating arrangement?

  • Attendees who are not part of the same immediate household must be seated at least 6 feet apart. Members of the same immediate household are permitted to sit together  less than 6 feet apart.
  • Comments: Some rows will be blocked off and kept empty to allow for sufficient distancing between rows.
  • When entering the building, maintain social distancing when possible and be seated right away.
  • When exiting the building, follow the instructions from a pastor, deacon, or usher to dismiss in an orderly, row-by-row fashion.



How will social distancing impact families with young children? 

  • Parents with young children will need to insure their children stay with them at all times.
  • Children should not be allowed to roam unattended by a parent.
  • Comments: During Phase 3, the downstairs classrooms are closed and the kitchen area is not to be used for food. 
  • The bathrooms will remain open for use. 



What about masks? Are they required to be worn? Yes

  • All attendees including pastors must wear face coverings or masks in accordance with COVID-19 Order No. 31 and the Department of Public Health’s Guidance while inside and while entering and exiting places of worship or otherwise participating in in-person services, except where a person is unable to wear a face covering or mask because of a medical or disabling condition.
  • Comment: Face masks will be provided at the door for those that do not have one. 

Do young children have to wear a mask? No

  • For children between age 2 and 5, the wearing of a face covering or mask is at the discretion of the child’s parent or guardian.
  • Children under the age of 2 should not wear a face covering or mask.

Are there any exceptions to who is required to wear a mask? Yes

  • A person who declines to wear a face covering or mask because of a health or disabling condition shall not be required to produce documentation verifying the condition.

What if someone refuses to wear a mask for non-medical conditions? 

  • Places of worship may refuse entry to a person who refuses to wear a face covering or mask for non-medical reasons.
  • Pastors and deacons have the sole responsibility to ensure mask compliance. 
  • Comment: in the event you become aware of someone not wearing a mask, please speak with a pastor or deacon. It will be their responsibility to follow up with that individual. 

Are we permitted to remain following the service in order to catch-up with folks? No

    • Places of worship shall not have communal gathering pre or post service (e.g., coffee hours or other food services). 


  • Comment: during Phase 3, we are not permitted to mingle inside the building nor to gather in the parking lot. We are asking when you arrive to enter the building in order to find your seat in the sanctuary and following the service to exit to your vehicles. Our building will close 15 minutes after the conclusion of the service in order to be sanitized.