PHASE ONE: ONLINE
We believe the church isn’t a building to go to or an event to attend. The church is people who live on mission together – and that’s you! We’ve actually been in phase one since March 15th. Although our methods have changed, our mission remains the same. In many ways, church has never stopped.
PHASE TWO: MICRO-GATHERINGS
On Sunday, July 5th we began Micro-Gatherings as an additional worship opportunity. We believe this is the best first step toward re-opening. Hosted on-site at 715 Whittier at 9:00 and 10:30 on Sunday mornings, these shorter, smaller in-person gatherings will allow those who want to worship in-person to gather in an abbreviated format. Beginning Sunday, September 27th we are adding Family Life Micro-Gathering experiences for grades K – 12th to allow pre-registered families an in-person Sunday experience with protocols in place.
PHASE THREE: REUNION SUNDAY
As we see restrictions and recommendations lift over the coming months, we expect that Reunion Sunday will happen sometime in August. A few restrictions may be still in place, but it’s our hope that Reunion Sunday will be an incredible time where we’re able to freely and responsibly enjoy the fellowship that makes Sunday mornings at The North Canton Chapel so special.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
On March 15th, we made the decision to move our gatherings online. It’s helpful to remember the reason why we made that decision: concern for our church family and love for neighbor. Our decision to continue gathering online is motivated by those same convictions.
While we could gather as soon as possible, we believe it’s best to gather as soon as it’s wise. We believe gathering at this point would also put members of our church family and community at greater risk. Also, we believe that resuming prematurely would necessitate imposing restrictions on worship gatherings (required facial coverings, enforced physical distance, etc.) that are beyond what we prefer.
A Christian’s relationship with government is very complex. We are citizens of a physical country, state, and city. But we are primarily citizens of a kingdom. We didn’t stop gathering because our government’s request and so we don’t feel the need to resume at its permission. If our government were to say, “We forbid you from meeting because the cross is offensive,” we would meet anyway. There may be a time for civil disobedience, but this is not it. When our civil authorities urge us not to meet out of public health concern, we follow their recommendation.
Absolutely not. At The North Canton Chapel, we have a theology of the church that says: “The church has never really stopped.” Although the methods have shifted, our mission remains true: We exist to be the church who makes much of Jesus everyday to everyone. We do that by making disciples, sitting under God’s word, and worshipping together. In fact, our reach in recent days has extended farther than any of us expected. God is moving in incredible ways!
We’re all eager to gather again. But opening our doors is a phenomenally complex decision – more than closing ever was. We will resume in-person gatherings when the following criteria can be met:
- Low risk of exposure: As shepherds of God’s flock, we’re concerned about your spiritual health as well as your physical, emotional, and mental health. We believe that gathering too early would force us to choose one over the others, and unnecessarily expose people to risk.
- Low cultural cost: Worship gatherings at NCC are truly special. Fellowship (physical touch, hugging, shared communion, etc.) is a much-loved part of getting together. We want to preserve those elements of our worship gathering, even if it means waiting a little longer to enjoy them responsibly.
- Limited distraction: When a church gathers for worship, our thoughts should be fully centered on God – not preoccupied with our physical safety. We want to keep worship at NCC a distraction-free experience even if this means holding off until we can worship more freely.
While not intended to replace our online gathering, think of micro-gatherings, as a worship service in an abbreviated format. These 40-minute, in-person gatherings are for those who are eager to re-introduce a Sunday morning gathering into their rhythm, sit under live teaching, and are comfortable with facility restrictions that will be in place. Here’s what you can expect:
- Teaching and worship will be the same as main gathering (online), but abbreviated to 40 minutes.
- As attendance will be limited, we are asking attendees to register online.
- For all 9 am attendees: Families will sit together in the Sanctuary, no childcare or Family Ministries will be available.
- For 1030am attendees: Families can choose to pre-register their child for a Family Life option (space is limited). Your child may also attend the Micro-Gathering in the main room and be seated with you. Masks are required for all Family Life Micro-Gathering attendees.
For a full description of how to participate in micro-gatherings, visit ncchapel.online/micro.
Since closing our doors in mid-March, our team has taken steps to ensure the safe re-opening of our building. Here are a few of the measures we’ve already taken and some we’ll take in the months ahead:
- We’ve purchased more hand-sanitizing stations and positioned them throughout the building.
- We’re asking staff to wear facial coverings during Phase Two of re-gathering.
- We’ve increased and expanded our facility sanitization frequency.
- We’ve restricted restroom usage, asking attenders to use home restroom when possible.
- We’re moving to touch-free environment for the short-term (no coffee service, etc.).
Most major restrictions will lift in the coming months. Others, like physical distancing recommendations and sanitary constraints for our facility may be in place for a longer time. You can expect that some aspects of Family Ministries, ABF’s, and other on-site groups will likely have restrictions even after we have resumed worship gatherings. Many Missional Communities have been meeting through a form of video gathering. This will continue to be an option for groups who prefer not to gather in person.
Yes! This gathering time has become a rally point. It’s been exciting to see God move as we gather together virtually throughout the week. By providing a sense of community and conversation, we’re seeing God grow our NCC family in really incredible ways.
We believe students aren’t just the church of tomorrow, but part of the church today. Our Family Ministries Team will continue to provide a wide variety of opportunities for students: Including weekly discussion guides, age-based video teaching, and organic small groups, our students remain a top priority for The North Canton Chapel.
- Focus. A chaotic world desperately needs faithful churches and focused Christians. We will have work to do in the wake of Covid-19. Now is the time to bring the hope of Jesus to a lost world infected by sin and hate. (Romans 5:8).
- Be sensible. Even after we re-open, there may be a window of time when you feel it’s best to stay home. That’s okay. If you’ve been exposed to any of the factors listed by the CDC, please don’t feel the compulsion to attend an in-person gathering. (2ndTimothy 1:7).
- Stay online. Engaging your church online doesn’t make you a second-class Christian. You can expect our online experience to continue providing you with meaningful worship, interactive fellowship, and great teaching. Whether you’re engaging NCC in person or online: You matter. (1st Corinthians 12:14).
- Work for unity. There are plenty of opinions about pandemic-related stories. Refuse to let those opinions divide. Do not give the real-estate of your heart over to things that can’t change the landscape of the world. Above all, Christians ought to be characterized by our enthusiastic willingness to release our opinions for the greater cause of Christ. (1st Corinthians 2:2).