First steps in reopening approved

Click photo. Shandon

Session has approved a first step in reopening our church building. Beginning Monday, March 22, small groups of up to 25 people may schedule meetings or gatherings indoors. We know this has been a long season of being away from a place you love. We, like you, are excited we can begin opening the doors again.

This week marked a milestone for Richland County; we dropped from “high” to “moderate” in regards to the COVID-19 two-week prevalence rate as determined by DHEC. Shandon will remain open to small group gatherings so long as Richland County retains “moderate” classification. These statistics are updated every Sunday evening. We will confirm our status on a week-by-week basis and include that information in the Monday morning churchwide email that includes links to outdoor worship registration.

Please note: This does not yet include indoor worship. For now, we will continue to worship online and outdoors. Rest assured we are monitoring everything and planning carefully so that when the time is right, we are ready to return to the Sanctuary safely.

Small groups may meet under the following guidelines: 

  1. Properly fitted masks will be worn by all participants at all times.
  2. Social distancing of at least 6 feet will be maintained between non-household contacts.
  3. All meetings must be scheduled through the church office manager.
  4. Only one small group meeting may occur indoors at any given time.
  5. Ministries of Session will be given scheduling priority, followed by programs of the church.
  6. Music will be either pre-recorded or instrumental only; no singing.
  7. The group organizer (not the church office) will be responsible for maintaining attendance records.
  8. As much as is practical, in-person gatherings are encouraged to provide a remote opportunity for participants who continue to stay at home.

The following spaces are available for reservation:
(Maximum capacity for each space is listed in parentheses.)

  • Library (6)
  • Parlor (10)
  • Atrium (12)
  • Choir Room (15)
  • Davis Hall (25)
  • Activity Center (Gym) (25)
  • Sanctuary (25)

The McDonald Youth Center parking lot, playground and church lawn are also available for outdoor meetings of up to 25 individuals.

Larger gatherings may take place on the church lawn under the same guidelines as outdoor worship, if coordinated and supervised in conjunction with church staff.

In regard to outdoor worship, Session also approved increasing attendance to either 100 participants or 44 seating groups (pods), whichever is reached first. Currently, outdoor worship takes place on Sundays at 1 p.m. Beginning April 11, we will shift to 11 a.m., and beginning June 6, we will shift again to 9 a.m.

Again, we thank you for your patience and faithfulness. We are grateful to take these steps forward and are confident that with proper adherence (and continued prayer!), we will be able to take additional steps soon.

Reopening Task Force:
Debbie Alexander, Stacey Brennan, Jenna Cox, Janet Hamilton, Matt McCall, Rev. Jenny McDevitt, Linda McDonald, Sarah Ramsey, and Diana Thorne

Debbie Alexander, Bill Allen, Marcia Bacon, Gary Cannon, Rev. John Cook, Jenna Cox, Janet Hamilton, Rev. Jenny McDevitt, Linda McDonald, Leck Patterson, Sarah Ramsey, David Roberts, Jay Rogers, Rev. Molly Spangler, Cheri Stakely, Frank Vail, RB Williamson, Scott Winburn