We hope you will find this FAQ helpful as we resume our in-person services on Sundays. Please refer back to this page as needed, as we will continue to update it.
As with many things related to Covid, we are proceeding while also remaining very flexible and adaptable. We are conferring with physicians and others for guidance on our safely gathering again. Though we are planning on resuming gathering on July 12, we are also aware that the situation remains very fluid. Please watch AdventBirmingham.org/Worship for updates, including situations where we may have to cancel services for reasons of weather or safety.
When and where will we begin to gather again?
Lord willing, we will resume gathering as soon as it is safe to do so. We will remain in close touch with health professionals as we make our decision. As we resume face-to-face services, we will be meeting in our Porte Cochere Parking Lot – our horseshoe shaped parking lot on Sixth Avenue North.
What time and for how long?
We will meet at times which are outside of the heat of the day, with the services lasting about 45 minutes.
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!
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?
Following local ordinances and guidance, 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 (six feet).
Do I need to sign up?
Yes – when we begin meeting again, please sign up at AdventBirmingham.org/Worship. We will have sign-up lists to avoid having an unsafe number of people coming.
Where should we park?
We will keep the porte cochere lot and curbside along Sixth Avenue North clear. Otherwise, there should be ample street parking and in the other areas where you might typically park when coming to the Advent.
What will the service look like?
We expect it will look a lot like the services that we have been streaming. We will have our normal liturgies, with our officiants, lectors, and intercessors leading us in the services. We will have a sermon, and our music will continue to be directed by both Fred Teardo and Zac Hicks, along with members of our choir and Refectory service musicians. We will also have (we hope) a live feed of the organ from the Nave through the outdoor speakers.
Will we be singing?
As we will be outside while maintaining adequate distance among households and wearing masks, we will sing as a congregation.
Will there be Communion?
At least for the foreseeable future, we will continue to have services of Morning Prayer and not Communion.
What other precautions will we be taking?
Rather than passing any offering plates or baskets, we will have baskets for your offering to be left as we leave. 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?
Though we will not have a nursery or children’s programming, our families and everyone of all ages are welcome. We will have some coloring sheets for younger children, but 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?
We will continue to stream a service every Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m., which we are recording on Thursdays. We know that this will remain a good option and necessary 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 maintaining 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 and encourage everyone to check AdventBirmingham.org/Worship and our social media pages that morning, if there seems to be any question.
What if there is a surge in Covid cases?
Similar to our weather-related plans, we will remain flexible. We are in close consultation with physicians and others. 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.