Loving Christ. Loving One Another. Loving The City.

Worship

Reunion: Reopening Guidelines

FPC Campus Covid-19 Protocols

We are excited to be REUNITED face to face. We have moved into Phase 3 of our Church Reopening Plan.

First Presbyterian Church will continue to have two Traditional Sunday services at 9:00 & 11:00 AM and one Contemporary Sunday service at 11:02 AM. The 9:00 AM Traditional and 11:02 AM Contemporary Services will continue to be live-streamed and posted for online viewing during the week at fpcsanantonio.org/media.

We look forward to reuniting with you in our services in-person and online as well as in study and ministry together.

Read Full May 11 Letter to the Congregation

Worship with FPC In-Person or Virtually:

9:00 AM – Traditional Service – Sanctuary and Live Online
10:00 AM – Sunday School Hour – Adults, Youth, and Children’s Classes On-Campus (online options at teachers’ discretion)
See the Adult Bible Studies page, Youth Sunday School page, or Children’s Sunday School page for class specific information.
11:00 AM – Traditional Service – Sanctuary (Not Recorded)
11:02 AM – Contemporary Service – Westminster Hall and Live Online


Sunday Fellowship Time

9:45 – 11:30 AM
Cookies and water will be available for a Fellowship Time in the McCullough Room and Courtyard.

Fellowship Time Guidelines

Fellowship Time may return with both indoor mask-optional areas as well as outdoor areas. Punch may be served by one person utilizing gloves and masked. This will eliminate the need for congregants touching multiple glasses and the serving ladle. Cookies inside may be placed on plates. Cookies outside will be bagged in groups of 2-3 per serving so that those within to grab cookies without risking potential contamination may do so.

Our goal is to allow for both GRACE and SPACE to all in attendance.

First Presbyterian Church acknowledges that while the State of Texas has lifted mask mandates, the Open Texas Initiative and the Texas Department of Health and Human Services still recommend the use of masks in indoor areas. While masks are no longer required in our institution, for the health and safety of some Covenant Partners, visitors, and staff are kindly asked to consider wearing masks in all common and mask only areas as a courtesy to others.

No Covenant Partner, visitor, staff member, or child shall be criticized or castigated for their choice to wear or not to wear a mask.

When unmasked individuals run into masked individuals trying to traverse the corridors to enter and exit our church, they must understand that these individuals are most likely trying to socially distance as well and efforts should be made to allow them a safe space to move through tight places. Our goal is to allow for both GRACE and SPACE to all in attendance.

Worship Guidelines

  • Face Masks—Each worship service will have a well-marked section for mask-only attendees and the remainder of the space will be mask-optional. In the Traditional services in the Sanctuary this space is in the pews in the front left side nearest the pulpit. In our 11:02 Contemporary service Westminster Hall will be mask-optional throughout. The Covenant Hall overflow room will remain a mask-only room for those that choose this option.
  • Social Distancing—All empty pews in the Traditional service will be reopened and pads placed back for use. Attendees are encouraged to sit anywhere they like within the section they choose but we will continue to encourage self-disciplined spacing between different parties.
  • Seating Capacity—Seating capacity will no longer be limited but we will continue to encourage self-disciplined spacing between different parties.
  • Minimize Community Sharing— Bulletins will now be distributed by Ushers and Greeters at services. We are continuing to limit the sharing of frequently touched objects in worship such as hymnals and offering plates.
  • Additional Precautions—Current rigorous cleaning procedures will continue, as well as encouragement to use hand sanitizer and washing of hands. Air purification units will continue to be used around the church building

Basic Guidelines

  • Face Masks—All hallways and common areas will be mask-optional. FPC asks that as a courtesy to others to please consider wearing masks while walking to your venues and socializing indoors in common areas.
    Read our Pastor’s Letter on Face Masks.
  • Social Distancing—Observe all signs posted for safety and social distancing, and follow the direction of ushers, volunteers, and staff  for entering, seating and exiting.
  • Seating Capacity—Seating capacity will no longer be limited but we will continue to encourage self-disciplined spacing between different parties.
  • Minimize Community Sharing— We are continuing to limit the sharing of frequently touched objects: all water fountains will remain disabled for our congregation’s safety. Please feel free to bring a water bottle or other beverage with you should you wish.
  • Additional Precautions—Current rigorous cleaning procedures will continue, as well as encouragement to use hand sanitizer and washing of hands. Air purification units will continue to be used around the church building.

Ministry Guidelines

Children, Youth, and Adult Sunday Schools have returned to on-campus meeting; online options are available at their leaders’ discretion. FPC facilities are once again open to all Covenant Partners for business and ministry as well as mission partners and other appropriate “outside groups” for meetings, meals, etc. All groups meeting at First Presbyterian Church will be subject to the provisions enacted by the Session.

During the business week, the Ave E. entrance will not be left unlocked. Just let the staff receptionist know you are here to be let in.

  • Face Masks – All Sunday School Classes and Groups will determine on their own whether or not masks will be mandatory or optional. There will always be at least one Adult Sunday School option that is mask-only..
    • Children’s Ministry  – the committee voted on May 4 and was approved by Session on May 10 to allow children the option of wearing a mask at all children’s ministry events. Volunteers and teachers working with children will still be required to wear masks at all children’s ministry programs and events. There will be no more temperature checks upon drop off, however, the children will continue to practice physical distancing. Parents are not permitted beyond the lobby at this time.
    • Youth Ministry – the committee voted on May 3 and was approved by Session on May 10 to allow for masks to be optional at all youth programs and events but to continue to practice physical distancing and to hold outdoor events when possible.
    • Music Ministry – Worship Committee voted on April 27 and was approved by Session on May 10 to continue to use masks and social distancing up in the choir loft for now due to the close area and the singing from choir members.
  • Food Services—Restrictions on capacity at tables for luncheons, dinners, breakfast meetings and all other meal gatherings has been suspended. Attendees can determine for themselves how much spacing they wish to have between diners. Food will be served by designated staff or prepared volunteers.

Read the Full FPC Session Guidelines for Loosening Covid-19 Restrictions Approved May 10, 2021

We, the Session, acknowledge that Covid-19 is still present in our community and it remains a formidable and deadly disease to many, especially those who are frail, sick with chronic conditions and those over the age of 65.  We also acknowledge that intelligent and well-meaning Covenant Partners fall on both sides of this debate and we wish to thank all of our fellow congregants who have sent emails voicing their concerns in regards to this matter.  Also, this work would not have been possible without the input of our clergy and staff.

Our primary goal was to find a way in which our Body of Christ at Fourth and Alamo could worship TOGETHER and in a SAFE ENVIRONMENT.  After prayer and discerned discussion, we have approved the following recommendations:

  1. First Presbyterian Church will continue to have two Traditional services and one Contemporary service at the current appointed times. Each service will have a well-demarcated section for mask-only members and the remainder of the space will be mask-optional.  In regards to the 11:02 service, the mask-only section will be Covenant Hall, which is currently the overflow site for this service.  The size of these sections in the Traditional services will be determined by the number of Covenant Partners and visitors who wish to be seated in a mask-only section.  The sizes of said sections can be adjusted as needed moving forward.
  2. All empty pews in the Traditional service will be reopened and pads placed back for use. Attendees will be encouraged to sit anywhere they like within the section they choose but we will continue to encourage self-disciplined spacing between different parties.
  3. Chairs that were removed at the 11:02 service for social distancing will be replaced and Westminster Hall be mask-optional throughout. Attendees will be encouraged to sit where they wish and space themselves from other groups at a distance they deem appropriate.
  4. Covenant Hall will remain a mask-only room for overflow of the 11:02 service since many university students self-segregate there to reduce chances of contracting Covid-19.
  5. Bulletins will now be distributed by Ushers and Greeters at services. Since the collection plate is touched by all hands attending the service, it is recommended that this NOT be restarted at this time.
  6. All hallways and common areas will be mask-optional. The logistics of making some hallways mask-only and some mask-optional are too tricky and First does not have the authority or people to police congregants traversing these areas.  Nevertheless, as stated below, FPC will ask that as a courtesy to others to please consider wearing masks while walking to your venues and socializing indoors in common areas.
  7. First Presbyterian Church will once again open our facility to mission partners and other appropriate “outside groups” for meetings, meals, etc. All groups meeting at First Presbyterian Church will be subject to the provisions enacted by the Session.
  8. All Sunday School classes and Life Groups will determine on their own whether or not masks will be mandatory or optional. However, one Sunday school class should be designated, or a new class created, for mask-only congregants not comfortable with attending mask-optional groups.
  9. Fellowship Hour may return with both indoor mask-optional areas as well as outdoor areas. Punch may be served by one person utilizing gloves and masked.  This will eliminate the need for congregants touching multiple glasses and the serving ladle.  Cookies inside may be placed on plates.  Cookies outside will be bagged in groups of 2-3 per serving so that those wishing to grab cookies without risking potential contamination may do so.
  10. Food Service: Restrictions on capacity at tables for luncheons, dinners, breakfast meetings and all other meal gatherings will be suspended. Attendees can determine for themselves how much spacing they wish to have between diners.  Food will be served by designated staff or prepared volunteers.
  11. All committees overseeing the specialized ministries within the church (ie, Music, University, Adult Ed, Young Adults, Children’s, Missions, Keys, KLR, etc.) are to assess their needs for appropriate Covid-19 regulations and submit a plan for Covid guidelines for each department to Session (or the Covid Oversight Committee: see Section 15) for discussion, amendments, and approval. We realize that we cannot cover all areas of the church with a “one size fits all” approach and who better to determine safety guidelines for each area than those committees overseeing each program.  These plans should be completed and submitted for perusal by the next Session meeting.  All guidelines already submitted by committees were approved by Session and shall go into effect as of May 10, 2021.
  12. Staff shall not be required to wear masks at all times, unless they are in a mask-only section of the church or participating in an event that requires that masks be worn.
  13. NO COVENANT PARTNER, VISITOR, STAFF MEMBER OR CHILD SHALL BE CRITICIZED OR CASTIGATED FOR THEIR CHOICE TO WEAR OR NOT TO WEAR A MASK. When unmasked individuals run into masked individuals trying to traverse the corridors to enter and exit our church, they must understand that these individuals are most likely trying to socially distance as well and efforts should be made to allow them a safe space to move through tight places.  Our goal is to allow for both GRACE AND SPACE to all in attendance.
  14. First Presbyterian Church will post a sign at all entry and exit points stating: FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH ACKNOWLEDGES THAT WHILE THE STATE OF TEXAS HAS LIFTED MASK MANDATES, THE OPEN TEXAS INITIATIVE AND THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES STILL RECOMMEND THE USE OF MASKS IN INDOOR AREAS. WHILE MASKS ARE NO LONGER REQUIRED IN OUR INSTITUTION, FOR THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF SOME, COVENANT PARTNERS, VISITORS AND STAFF ARE KINDLY ASKED TO CONSIDER WEARING MASKS IN ALL COMMON AND MASK-ONLY DESIGNATED AREAS AS A COURTESY TO OTHERS.  All other signage regarding Covid-19 restrictions will be taken down at this time.
  15. The Session of First Presbyterian Church shall designate a small committee of two or three members to continue to assess the Covid-19 trends and threats in our community. Session shall review these policies quarterly and as needed, and default to the least restrictive measures necessary to ensure the safety and wellbeing of this Body of Christ in the coming months and years.
  16. There shall be a Metric Default stating that after two straight weeks of the Positive Test Percent rising above the benchmark of 5%, First Presbyterian Church will default to stricter mask standards approved by the Session or the Covid Oversight Committee. As stated above, Session shall authorize only the least restrictive measures necessary to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its Covenant Partners, staff and visitors.

These guidelines shall take effect at the moment of Session approval, May 10, 2021.

All committees overseeing the specialized ministries within the church (ie, Music, University, Adult Ed, Young Adults, Children’s, Missions, Keys, KLR, etc.) are to assess their needs for appropriate Covid-19 regulations and submit a plan for Covid guidelines for each department to Session (or the Covid Oversight Committee) for discussion, amendments, and approval. We realize that we cannot cover all areas of the church with a “one size fits all” approach and who better to determine safety guidelines for each area than those committees overseeing each program.  These plans should be completed and submitted for perusal by the next Session meeting.  All guidelines already submitted by committees were approved by Session and shall go into effect as of May 10, 2021.

The Children’s Ministry Committee voted on May 4 to allow children the option of wearing a mask at all children’s ministry events. Volunteers and teachers working with children will still be required to wear masks at all children’s ministry programs and events. There will be no more temperature checks upon drop off, however, the children will continue to practice physical distancing.

The Youth Committee voted on May 3 to allow for masks to be optional at all youth programs and events but to continue to practice physical distancing and to hold outdoor events when possible.

The Worship Committee met on April 27, 2021. Usher/greeters could hand out bulletins at the door but for now, we do not recommend any change in the collection of offering. Tom Dooling will continue to use masks and social distancing up in the choir loft for now due to the close area and the singing from choir members.