Resuming In-Person Worship
We hope you will find this FAQ regarding our outdoor Sunday gatherings helpful. Please refer back to this page for updates.
As with many things related to Covid, we are proceeding while also remaining flexible. Please keep watching AdventBirmingham.org/Worship for updates, including situations where we may have to cancel services for reasons of weather or safety.
When and where are the services?
We are gathering on Sunday mornings for two services, meeting in our Porte Cochere Parking Lot. Starting on September 13, Sixth Avenue will also be closed and we will be able to sit in the street.
What times and for how long?
Both services will last about 45 minutes. The first service begins at 8:30, with the music led by members of our band (guitar, keyboards, strings, etc.). The second service begins at 9:45, with the music led by our choir and accompanied by the organ.
Why the Porte Cochere Parking Lot? Why not somewhere else?
We considered a lot of options, but came back to the porte cochere. Rather than going off-site somewhere, it is a part of our own property; much of the lot is shaded with trees; the porte cochere itself provides some cover for equipment; its bricked area provides a space that the officiant, lectors, intercessor, and preacher can use; it provides easy access to electricity; and we will not have to transport equipment to and from another off-site location.
Where will everyone sit?
Everyone should bring lawn chairs – we’ll be sitting in the parking lot, on the sidewalk, and in the street!
Will sitting in the street be safe?
Yes. We have a permit from the City to close Sixth Avenue North on Sunday mornings, while we meet outside. Signs will direct traffic away from Sixth Avenue. We will have barriers and parked cars which will prevent traffic from traveling along Sixth Avenue.
What should we wear and what should we bring?
Dress comfortably, given the weather and our circumstances. The clergy and others who will be leading the services will be dressed comfortably (not vested). Besides lawn chairs, please bring your Bibles, as well as water or coffee.
What about masks?
Everyone is required to wear a mask. Those who are leading the services will not wear a mask when they are speaking.
What about social distancing?
Households may sit together, of course. Otherwise, everyone should maintain an appropriate distance from one another (at least six feet).
Do I need to sign up?
Yes – please sign up at AdventBirmingham.org/Worship. We will have separate sign-up lists for both services to avoid having an unsafe number of people coming, and so we can email everyone who registers with last-minute information, if necessary.
When can I register?
Registration will open every Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. for the upcoming Sunday.
Where should we park?
Please park in the Day School’s lot at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Richard Arrington, in the Financial Center Parking Deck, and curbside along adjacent streets.
What will the services look like?
They will follow our familiar liturgy, with our officiants, lectors, and intercessors leading us in the services. Each service will have a sermon. The music at our 8:30 service will be led by our band musicians (guitar, keyboard, and strings), while the music at our 9:45 service will be led by our choir with the organ.
Will we be singing?
As we will be outside while maintaining adequate distance between households and wearing masks, we will sing as a congregation.
What other precautions will we be taking?
We will not have coffee, water, or other refreshments available; please bring your own if you would like. We encourage everyone to greet one another without handshakes, hugs, or other contact. Ushers and greeters will be taking extra precautions as they hand out our bulletins and provide assistance.
What about children? Should we come as a family?
Yes! Both of our services will have Sunday school for rising 3K through third graders. Families with children these ages should register for one of the services first, and then register for the Sunday school which will happen during that service. Information about registering for Sunday school will be sent each week from our children’s ministry. Older children will remain with their parents throughout the service, as will infants and toddlers – we will not have a nursery. Feel free to bring snacks and activities that you think would be appropriate and helpful.
What about the service that I’ve been watching online? Will we keep doing that?
Absolutely. We will continue to stream a service and Dean’s Class every Sunday morning beginning at 9:00 a.m., which we are recording on Thursdays. We know that this will remain a good or the only option for many in our congregation, especially given our restrictions on numbers.
What if I am uneasy about coming?
While many of us are eager to get back together, we do not want anyone to come if they feel uneasy. If you are among those who are more at-risk regarding the virus, or have concerns about not being able to maintain proper distancing, we hope you will continue to watch our streamed service online.
What if it rains, or if there’s a threat of rain?
If it rains, or if the weather forecast for that Sunday is clearly forecasting rain, we will not have the service and will encourage everyone to watch the streaming service online. This announcement may not be made until shortly before the service is scheduled to begin. We will try to email everyone registered, but also encourage checking AdventBirmingham.org/Worship and our social media pages just before coming, if there seems to be any question.
What if there is a surge in Covid cases?
We will remain flexible. We remain in close consultation with physicians and others. We are limiting the number of registrations so that we may maintain adequate distance between households. Even if there is a surge, we hope these precautions will allow us to gather. That said, if the situation changes so that it would be unwise for us to meet, we will let everyone know at AdventBirmingham.org/Worship and our social media pages, and email those who registered for specific services.