January 11, 2021

Introduction: As we have returned to elevated virus numbers and the possibility of the new, more contagious strain of the virus, Session has decided to return to Phase 0 of our virus plan. The health and safety of our members is a top priority. As we continue to hope that the vaccine will begin bringing the numbers down in the near future, this is a plan to consider how LCC may safely begin meeting together again once the virus has subsided. This plan was developed by consulting the White House Guidelines for Opening Up America Again. All ministries shall follow these same phasing and phase triggers for re-starting each ministry. Each ministry may add an appendix to this plan which describes details consistent with church-wide plan.


Triggers to Move Into Next Phase

Move Forward Into Next Phase

  • Downward trajectory of new documented cases in Hillsborough/Pasco Counties within a 14-day period. This is the percentage of positive tests from all tests given in a single day. Must be consistent for both counties. Trajectory will be reevaluated every 14 days to see that the new cases continue to trend downward.

Move Backward to Previous Phase

  • A spike of 50% new cases in a 24 hour period or a general upward trajectory over a 14 day period. A level trajectory over 14 days signals a remaining in the current phase.


Communicating to the Congregation

  • LCC Website
  • E-mail
  • Deacon Calls


Phase 0: Extreme Physical Distancing/Stay At Home Order

  • All on-campus services and activities are suspended until we have a two week downward trend and we re-enter Phase 1.
  • Continue to produce video sermons to be viewed via Facebook, and YouTube.
  • Continue to host meetings via Webex..
  • A weekly Bible study will be held via Webex.
  • Send communication via email and letter.
  • Utilize online giving and mailed checks for tithes and offerings.
  • Establish safety plan for when in-person activities begin.

Phase 1: Strict Physical Distancing - Downward trajectory of new documented cases in Hillsborough/Pasco Counties within a 14-day period. 

  • All in-person services and activities remain suspended for the length of Phase 1.
  • When Phase 1 returns, we will begin livestreaming both services from the church without congregation present. This will allow us to resume both services at a limited capacity. Singers (choir and worship band singers) will not be included at this point as singing spreads the virus more efficiently than talking. We will have one worship leader for traditional service, who will lead both responses and songs. The musicians in ELEVATE, following 6-foot minimum distancing, will be allowed to sing, but no additional singers.
  • No in-person small groups will meet during Phase 1.
  • A weekly Bible study will be held via Webex.
  • All meetings will continue using Webex.
  • Continue to use online and mail in giving. 
  • Office hours will return to normal with social distancing and by appointment only. Anyone entering the office, must be masked. A sign will be placed at the door communicating this.

Phase 2: Moderate Physical Distancing – No evidence of a rebound while maintaining a 14 day downward trajectory. 

  • We will ease back into gathering inside for worship during Phase 2.
  • All persons 65 or older and vulnerable persons (the CDC defines this as people at higher risk for severe illness, people who are immunocompromised, people with asthma, people with HIV, and people with liver disease) should be encouraged to stay home, unless fully vaccinated.
  • Anyone inside the building will be required to wear a face mask. Those leading the service will wear a face mask when they are not speaking or singing. Masks will be available for those who may not have one.
  • Participants will be encouraged to maintain adequate social distancing of at least 6 feet apart. This guidance does not apply to family members of the same household.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be available.
  • Adults may meet for in-person small groups either in homes or in the church building at a time when the building is not being occupied for worship services.
  • Continue to use online and mail in giving. Also provide opportunity for folks to drop offering in donation station as they arrive for service. No passing of the plate. A guide will be developed for safety considerations.
  • Doors will be opened by greeters.
  • Each person who enters will have their temperature taken by a greeter using a non-contact thermometer.
  • No physical bulletins or use of hymnals. Responses and lyrics will be on screen.
  • Congregation may sing during this phase.
  • No social time nor refreshments between services. 
  • Special precautions will be taken for observing the Lord’s Supper.
  • There will be no children’s activities through the end of Phase 2.

Phase 3: Limited Physical Distancing - No evidence of a rebound while continuing to maintain a 14 day downward trajectory. (Current Phase)

  • We will ease back into a more normal routine for gathering during Phase 3.
  • Anyone may return at their discretion.
  • This phase includes resuming children’s activities (i.e. nursery, children’s church).
  • Hand sanitizer stations will still be available.
  • Face masks may still be required. This depends on the CDC rescinding the mask guideline.
  • Social distancing should still be maintained.
  • Giving may still need to follow the plan for Phase 2.
  • Coffee, prepared in kitchen and served through window, may resume. No bagels yet.
  • Special precautions will be still taken for observing the Lord’s Supper.
  • Specifics will be worked out as we move through the phases and get closer to this point.

Phase 4: Return to New Normal - No evidence of a rebound while continuing to maintain a 14 day downward trajectory.

  • Masks will no longer be required.
  • Safety precautions, such as hand sanitizer stations and donation stations, will remain for those wishing to use them.

Additional Considerations:

  • There remains uncertainty regarding specific restrictions that will be in place from state and local government at each phase.
  • This plan is to get us thinking and planning. The plan will undoubtedly require adjustments.
  • There may be setbacks. Patience will be a necessity.
  • While those most vulnerable to the virus may need to limit their interaction more than others, we will not forget them as we move through these phases. Online services will continue and pastor and deacons will continue to maintain contact with them.