COVID-19 & REDEMPTION HILL CHURCH UPDATES

We are NOW gathering in-person on Sundays at 10:30am as well as continuing to provide a livestream at 10:30am

Register for Re-Gathering!

In order to help us prepare for proper seating arrangements and safety measures, we need everyone coming to worship at Medford High to register in advance. Please be sure to register! If you forget, it will slow you down on Sunday morning as you will have to register on site, and you may not be guaranteed a seat. Please review the highlights of our gathering guidelines in the graphic below or see greater details in our 'Frequently Asked Questions' below.
If you are ready to gather in-person, we would love for you to join us. To register for an in-person service at 10:30a a.m. click HERE. If you are at-risk, immunocompromised, or are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms please continue to join us via LIVESTREAM at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings.

Redemption Hill Church continues to adjust our approach to life-giving ministry as we progress through this pandemic season.  Read below to learn more about out plans for re-opening Sunday Worship and other in-person events, as well as other considerations.  If you have any thoughts, questions, or clarifications, do not hesitate to contact us.  No question or thought is silly or trite.  We are all learning together.​

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the plans for regathering for in-person worship and events at RHC?
As we begin our reopening plan, we encourage everyone to prayerfully consider what is best for their unique situation and move forward at their own pace. 
 
  
STEP THREE (SEPTEMBER 13-TBD)
  • Sunday Worship: Fall Kickoff at Medford High (10:30am) + Continue Online (10:30a)
  • Fall Groups Kickoff: Details Forthcoming
  • Continue: Sunday Watch Parties & Outdoor Fire Nights (10/2) 
 
 *We will continue streaming our services online via our website, Facebook Live and YouTube at 10:30a. You can also access the service and Worship Guide at rhc.church/live
What are the key factors are guiding our approach to regathering? 
  • Desire to Worship: What is the impact of prolonged absence from in-person worship?
  • Love of Neighbor: What is the wisest approach to promote public health and witness?
  • Congregational Readiness: Are people leaning forward to begin in-person gatherings?
  • Teams Capacity: Will Sunday Experience Teams be able to serve and execute effectively?
  • Sunday Dynamics: How will the current guidelines impact the overall worship experience? 
What is our Philosophy of Implementation for maintaining health and safety when together?
  • Many governmental and public health standards define minimum expectations, are not exclusive nor exhaustive. Guidelines can change frequently as the circumstances change as well.  Therefore, we will seek to understand and apply adherence to all local, state, and federal recommendations while prudently defining expectations within the life of the church on an ongoing basis.
  • To the extent that we can adjust health and safety expectations and processes in order to love each and our neighbors well, we will apply the following CDC framework for the planning and execution of our corporate gatherings to the best of our ability.
    1. What elimination strategies can we use that physically removes potential pathogens?
    2. What engineering controls can we use that separates people from potential pathogens?
    3. What administrative directives can we implement that will effectively instruct people on what to do?
    4. What personal protective equipment, supplies, and techniques can we implement that will reduce risk?
Who should NOT attend an in-person gathering of RHC?
  • Any person experiencing any common symptoms of COVID19 should not attend. Symptoms include fever (100.0 and above) or chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, fatigue, headache, muscle/body aches, runny nose/congestion, new loss of taste or smell, or nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
    1. In order to ensure the absence of fever, a simple temperature check will be done prior to entry to Medford High School – until further notice?
  • Any person has had “close contact” with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 should not attend.
    1. “Close contact” means living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, or coming in direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, while that person was symptomatic.
  • Any person who has been asked to self-isolate or quarantine by their doctor, local public health official, or by travel ban recommendations should not attend.
  • Any person who is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control (e.g., due to age or underlying conditions) is encouraged to stay home.
How will “Pre-Registration” for in-person worship work?
  • RHC will implement a Pre-Registration process for attendance at each corporate gathering in order to safely manage occupancy recommendations and defined social distancing standards as well as provide for contact tracing, as needed.
  • If you plan to attend, you can pre-register for the upcoming week's service beginning at 10am on Sunday until an hour before the service for that Sunday. You can pre-register here
  • Pre-Registration must be done prior to attending each week.
  • Pre-Registration will be open for an upcoming Sunday beginning at 1O:00am Sunday until one hour before that upcoming Sunday service. “Cut-Off” will be necessary to allow our Connections Team an opportunity to complete assigned seating strategies.
  • Walk-In attendees will be required to register on-site prior to entry; seating will be assigned based on safe space availability.
  • Staff & Volunteers must Pre-Register and be assigned safe seating.
  • If you are pre-registered and are unable to attend, a courtesy communication to is requested ASAP in order to open seating for others.
How will RHC Implement Social Distancing (6ft between individuals/households)?
  • RHC will ensure protocols to ensure the practice of adequate social distancing for all.
  • RHC will ensure that all persons, including employees, volunteers, congregants, and others, remain at least six feet apart to the greatest extent possible, both inside and outside our gathering.
  • RHC will make certain that posted signage for safe social distancing is deployed.
  • RHC will monitor attendee entries and exits while limiting occupancy at all time – consistent with guidelines.[1]
  • Entering and exiting will be orderly in such a manner to encourage social distancing.
  • Visuals cues (e.g., signage or floor markings) and verbal cues (e.g., Connection Team instructions) will be posted or used to create one-way pathways of access and egress.
  • Before the service:
    1. Congregants will gather outside before being admitted to the theater 20 minutes before the service commences.
    2. After being “checked in”, congregants will be directed through the side door directly into the theater and to their assigned seat(s).
  • During the service:
    1. Congregants are strongly encouraged to remain seated throughout our gathering. Exceptions may include:  Attending to a child; Using the bathroom; or Addressing an emergency
    2. Staff and volunteers executing from the platform will be encouraged to enter the platform from Stage Right and exit Stage Left in order to maintain a one-way flow and minimize contact with others.
  • After the service:
    1. Congregants will remain seated until they are giving specific instructions from the platform to leave the theater.
    2. The instructions from the platform will be to dismiss row-by-row in the following manner:
      1. The upper section of the theater seating, beginning with the last row, will be directed to leave through the second floor rear door, down the stairs, and out through the Main Entrance door.
      2. The lower section of the theater seating, beginning with its last room, will be directed to leave through the first floor rear door, up the stairs, and out through the Main Entrance door.
  • All people, except for Tear Down volunteers, will be asked to leave the building immediately.
  1. Any conversation desired amongst people should be outside the building – with masks and social distancing standards implied.
  • Theater seating guidelines include:
    1. Attendees who are not part of the same immediate household or social bubble must be seated at least 6 feet apart. Members of the same immediate household or social bubble are permitted to sit together and less than 6 feet apart.
    2. For our fixed seating, every other row will be blocked off and kept empty to allow for sufficient distancing between rows.
    3. Seating will be assigned in such a way that 3 seats or a full aisle are between a household and another.
    4. The Connection Team will be responsible for safe assignment, escort, and monitoring of safe seating.
What will be RHC’s policy on the use of face coverings & masks?
  • RHC will require face coverings or mask, for nose and mouth coverage, are used by everyone in attendance.
  • Those unable to comply due to medical or other reasons will be exempt. We will not require documentation of any claim made but ask for honest “good faith” requests.
  • Current guidelines suggest that children less than 2 years old should not wear a mask.
  • For children between age 2 and 5, the wearing of a face covering or mask is at the discretion of the child’s parent or guardian.
  • A leader or celebrant engaged in conducting the service or making an address may remove his or her face covering while doing so, provided that he or she is able to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other persons present.
    1. Given the physical layout of our platform, RHC will not install protective, plexi-glass or other transparent barriers for places of address.
  • Individuals are encouraged to bring their own mask consistent with public health recommendations.
  • RHC will maintain an available supply of masks for anyone arriving without one.
  • Non-compliance with the effective use of masks will be directed to the attention of an Elder.
    1. No volunteer is required to care-front non-compliance beyond an initial reminder or offer of an available RHC mask.
  • RHC reserves the right to refuse entry to a person who refuses to effectively wear a face covering
What hygiene protocols are being implemented to reduce risk of transmission?
  • RHC will make certain, through MHS, that adequate hand washing capabilities and supplies are available within our space.
  • RHC will ensure that employees and volunteers frequently wash their hands.
  • RHC will ensure augment MHS supplies to effectively sanitize hands are available. Individuals are encouraged to bring small supplies of hand sanitizer for personal use, if they wish.
  • RHC will promote ventilation for enclosed spaces where possible through the opening of windows and doors to allow airflow. The use of circular fans will be limited to the entrainment in of outside air and the entrainment out of inside air.  The re-circulation of air within the theater is strictly prohibited.
How will we clean and disinfect our utilized space?
  • RHC has contracted with Medford High School to ensure that our space is cleaned and disinfected after each worship service, including disinfection of heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, bathrooms).
  • RHC Staff & Volunteers will clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and equipment - such as work stations, AV, instruments, screens, and other RHC assets in use - at the conclusion of each service as well as at intervals appropriate deemed wise and prudent to our empowered volunteers for our utilized space.
  • RHC will augment the cleaning schedule of high touch areas, such as doorknobs and restrooms throughout our utilized space in support of the post-utilization contracted cleaning services with MHS.
  • RHC will ensure that when an active employee, volunteer, congregant, or other person is diagnosed with COVID19 that another round of cleaning and disinfecting of all relevant RHC equipment and supplies is completed.
  • RHC will ensure that when an active employee, volunteer, congregant, or other person is diagnosed with COVID19 that Medford High School is alerted in order that the need for any additional or required cleaning and disinfecting of all MHS space is communicated effectively.
    1. Note: The alert to MHS will only cite the incidence, not the identity, of any COVID19 positive diagnosis.
How are Staff & Volunteers being safeguarded?  
  • RHC will provide basic orientation and training for employees and volunteers regarding social distancing, hygiene protocols, and related interventions.
  • RHC will ensure that employees and volunteers displaying COVID19-like symptoms do not report to serve.
  • RHC’s plan for employees and volunteers who get ill from COVID19 includes strict quarantine, consistent with prevailing guidelines. Any return-to-service dates must be approved by the governing Elders, or Elder-designee.
What “typical” Sunday Experiences are modified until further notice?
  • We will not offer Redemption Kids as a gathered children’s ministry experience.
  • We will not distribute “handouts” (e.g., Worship Guides) or other tangible items.
  • We will not collect financial contributions from attendees in order to eliminate shared contribution baskets and to minimize contact. Offerings should be given online or mailed to: Redemption Hill Church, PO Box 482, Medford MA 02155.
  • We will not offer coffee and refreshments. Attendees are discouraged from bringing these into the building.
  • We will not offer tangible First Time Guest Gift bags.
  • Other than brief and small (< 10 individuals) Volunteer “Huddles” exercising safe opportunities for coordinating serving that day, there will be no other gatherings or meetings held indoors and in-person at Medford High School.
What is the response by RHC if a congregant tests positive for COVID19?
  • If an attendee tests positive for COVID19, that person should immediately notify us at so necessary corrective actions can be implemented.
    1. Confidentiality will be maintained.
  • Of course all empathetic, pastoral, and shepherding care will be rallied for that person’s care!
  • Out of care for others, when RHC learns that an attendee/congregant has tested positive for COVID19:
    1. We will notify the Medford Board of Health and assist to advise likely contacts to isolate and self-quarantine.
    2. We will notify the Medford High School in order to initiate a “deep cleaning and disinfection” of relevant spaces.
What should be our most basic attitude?

As followers of Jesus, we should seek to respond with the mind and heart of Christ. We should turn to God consistently in prayer, in order to experience his peace in the midst of this troubling time. We should love one another and our larger community through practicing wisdom, empathy, and acts of service. The good news of Jesus teaches us that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Let’s depend on God’s help during this time and rest assured of our living hope through the resurrection of Jesus (Psalm 46; 1 Peter 1:3-12).

What should be our response in general?

It will be wise for us to prepare for difficulty and uncertainty, change behaviors with love for others as our reason, and resist the temptation to fear.  Public health officials are urging all citizens to change current norms of social interaction in order to minimize the transmission of the virus.  Although some changes may feel drastic, when dealing with pandemics, the measures that will actually make a difference always need to be taken sooner than we think.  Additionally, motivated by our love for others, we call upon all followers of Jesus to redirect social energy from anxiety and panic to love and preparation.  This current crisis presents an extraordinary opportunity to fortify small communities of love and care for our neighbors. That will only happen if we reduce fear, increase faith, and reorient all of us from self-protection to serving others.  Therefore, many of the practical questions that face the guests, attenders, and members of Redemption Hill Church are addressed below.

How will we do groups and other smaller gatherings?
 
Our Community Groups and Equip Groups remain online through zoom this summer. We are working with our Group Leaders and Hosts in planning for our Fall Groups Kickoff on September 13th and are exploring various options including in-person (per state guidelines), outdoor, online, or some hybrid combination approach. You can find zoom links to connect with a group here. Please keep your group leaders up to date regarding any needs and/or prayer requests that you may have.
When we decide to return to in-person small group gatherings, we recommend the following social distancing protocols:
  • If anyone is sick or has any reason to think they have been exposed to the virus, they are obligated to not attend.
  • All shared surfaces should be disinfected before and after the meeting (door knobs, counters, chairs, etc.).
  • Everyone must wash their hands thoroughly (more than 20 seconds) upon arrival and upon returning to their home.
  • Food and drink are served individually (only offer pre-packaged food).
  • As much distance as possible is maintained between people and their belongings (stand at least six feet apart and arrange seating accordingly).
 
What About Redemption Kids? What resources are available for families with kids?

 We have created this resource that provides an overview of what we are currently offering for families. It includes suggestions and encouragements for how to do Sunday worship, links to our Gospel Project Curriculum, links to Grades 1-5 Sunday evening Zoom meetings, and other resources. If you have a need during this time, don’t hesitate to reach out to Meg Lewis, our Summer Kids Director.

How Can I serve others in practical ways?

Whether you live in Medford or not, there are ways you can meet very specific felt needs in Greater Medford. Do find more details about the ways you can serve during this time check out the COVID_19 Response section on our SERVE Medford page!

How Can i submit my financial Gifts?
Over 80% of our donors share their offering to support the mission of Redemption Hill through our giving platform SubSplash.  If you are enrolled, continue to share faithfully.  If you are currently not enrolled, simply click here
If that is not an option for you, you can mail a check payable to RHC to PO Box 482, Medford MA 02155.
How can I get updates and information from Redemption Hill Church?

During this unique time, we will provide timely updates on this page until it appears no longer necessary.  If you have a question or concern not addressed on this page, we encourage you to email us. If you would like to receive email updates, sign up for our Weekly Newsletter on our home page at the very bottom. 

Where can i get public health information?
What spiritual resources might you recommend?
We have every reason to trust that this pandemic will pass.  However, real Christian hope is our ultimate confidence - rooted in the sovereignty of God the Father, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.  The following resources may be useful during this unique time in our lives.

*In drafting our response to this crisis, we acknowledge the work and contributions of author Andy Crouch https://journal.praxislabs.org/love-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-26aaeb0396e3