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 Covid Response Letter from Session, August 20, 2021

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

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In the most recent meeting of the Session, the Elders of the church appointed a special commission to examine the current state of the epidemic in our community and recommend action for the church.

The commission reviewed the protocols and discussed options available to us at this time in light of current numbers, medical data, and community practice. Rev. Dr. Bob Fuller chaired the committee and Lady Romano, Dirk DeKoch and Tripp Stuart were present. Walter Walthall could not be present but sent in his suggestions by email.

After due consideration, the Session approved the following recommendations:

  1. Encourage that all members who are medically cleared to do so, be vaccinated. Encourage a third shot (booster) for those for whom it is recommended.
  2. Encourage those that feel sick and/or have fevers from any cause to stay at home and worship online. Members should be aware that currently some covid cases present as allergies or sinus trouble, and those suffering from these symptoms are encouraged to stay home and be tested if necessary.
  3. Encourage those who desire to wear a mask at church to by all means wear one.
  4. Encourage everyone to appropriately socially distance but to nevertheless spiritually draw near to one another.
  5. Continue to encourage both groups (the masked and the unmasked) to display mutual forbearance and love.

The Session agreed that the Children’s Center guidelines are independent of the Congregational guidelines and need not be identical. Should the Children’s Center decide that they need to close, they will consult the Session. Other changes and adjustments will be made by the Children’s Center Committee without need for Session approval.

As the church continues to navigate the situation, we challenge one another to take seriously the admonitions of Philippians 2:3b-4, which says

3b … In humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4Let each of you

look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Philippians 2:3b–4 (ESV)

Such consideration is critical as we fulfill our mission to “love one another” even as we “love Christ” and “love the city.”

On behalf of the Session, grace and peace,

Bob Fuller                                                                            Dr. Tripp Stuart

Senior Pastor and Moderator of Session                             Clerk of Session

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.