Policies, procedures and expectations for building use

(Updated  January 16, 2021)

Indoor Gathering Guidelines

Elders, Staff and the Pandemic Advisory Committee have determined that all in-person activities (inside or outside) are paused through Jan. 31.
Sunday morning worship will also be online through the end of January and resuming for in person on February 7 (see below). 

If you are interested in building use, contact Angel Baum to reserve a space for your group.

Though our facility is currently closed, our church ministries are doing their work online, outside and in other creative ways. The life of the church continues, even (and especially) during a pandemic. It is good and important for the church to gather together for worship and fellowship, it just cannot happen in the ways we are used to at this time.

Please remember, we act out of love for our neighbors before our own interests, which is the way of Jesus. Our local body called Thornapple holds many opinions and we treat others with love and respect.

As much as we want it to, getting back to normal is not going to happen right away, but together we will discover what our next normal will look like.

Upon entry, everyone will

  • Sign in (symptom screen, contact info)

  • Wash/Sanitize hands

  • Wear face covering

  • Maintain 6’ distance between households


Gathering in rooms requires

  • Wearing face covering

  • Maintaining 6’ distance between households

  • Hand sanitizer available

  • Avoid congregating outside of rooms

Community Center (Gym) Sports

  • Wear face covering

  • Maintain records (sign-in)

  • Maintaining 6’ distance between households

  • Room capacity of 50 sq. ft. per person

  • And limit to 25% of space’s capacity per fire marshall

  • Thornapple ministries only at this time



  • Childcare/nurseries

  • Kitchen/coffee service/drinking fountains

  • Food

Sunday Morning Worship

  • Online Worship | Worship band and sermon, online (watch at home or in small groups offsite). Online worship is available to watch at anytime starting Saturday afternoons on Vimeo.
    To keep up a regular rhythm of Sunday morning worship, we are encouraging you to virtually and collectively participate in worship starting at 9am on Sunday mornings via Facebook or Vimeo.
  • Indoor Worship at 10:30am, resuming Feb. 7 | Worship band and sermon with appropriate precautions outlined below.

What to Expect When Indoor Worship Restarts on February 7, 2021 at 10:30am

Our in-person service option looks different than we are used to and while change is sometimes hard, remember different is not bad, it is simply different. Below we’ve listed some questions/answers in anticipation of what you might want to know.

Are masks required?
Knowing this is a highly challenging topic, we ask for your grace as we set expectations.

Masks ARE required when anyone is inside the church building. Masks must be worn properly and cover both your mouth and nose. We recognize there are varying opinions on mask wearing but this is what our Pandemic Advisory Team is recommending and what Thornapple’s leadership is requiring for services to be in person. As a church community, we desire to put others first and engage this conversation with humility and respect for those around us. We are grateful in advance for your respect, care and consideration in light of this requirement.

Will we be singing?
Yes. There will be congregational singing as part of the worship service, with the congregation wearing masks.

Will there be Children’s Ministry (Nursery/Sunday School)?
Yes. For children 4-years-old through 5th grade, we will have Sunday school in the Community Center (with masks just like school). We are still determining if Nursery for three-years-old and younger will be available. You will need to reserve a spot for your child(ren).

Every month families will be receiving a box for the month that includes simple teachings about Jesus and activities to do as a family or that kids can do individually. The box will have supplies that are not common household items to make it as easy as possible. There may be a few surprises as well! Since we are not doing ministry as usual this fall and maybe into the spring, we want to provide resources for you to do “church at home.” We are gathering a team of delivery folks who would love to say “hi” if you are home, but if not, they will leave it on your doorstep.

Will there be limited capacity to allow for socially-distanced seating?
We will begin to gather at 20% of official occupancy, meaning 120 people for services in the church Sanctuary. Seating will be set up to allow for social distancing between rows and household groups and as you enter the building, ushers will help your group find a seat, appropriately spaced. Visit our Reservations page to save a spot for your household.

Does my family need to reserve a seat?
We are asking all people make a reservation for EACH WEEK they plan to attend. When you reserve a seat, you will be able to see how many people have signed up to attend that Sunday. We will explore options for increasing capacity as the need arises. We desire to make room for first-time guests, attendees who do not have the ability to register or others who simply show up and were not aware of need for a reservation and have build in a number of seats to remain open for this purpose within the reservation system.

What cleaning/sanitizing precautions will be in place?
The Lobby, Sanctuary and bathrooms will be disinfected before and after each service. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the building. Complimentary masks will be available upon entry if you have forgotten yours.

Will there be beverages?
No, we will not be serving beverages as this time and ask that you leave your cups and water bottles in your vehicles so you can keep your mask on while inside the building.

How will we give our offerings?
We are encouraging everyone to continue giving online. If you would like to give in-person, there will be an offering box in the Lobby. Checks can also be mailed directly to the church office (6595 Cascade Road SE; Grand Rapids, MI 49546).

Will online worship continue to be available?
Yes! We are encouraging people to continue “attending” worship at home as in-person worship at this time is really for people who long to be together in person and feel safe in participating in in-person, indoor worship. Online worship will continue to be available on Vimeo, here on our website and on our Facebook page.

To keep up the regular rhythm of corporate Sunday morning worship, we are encouraging people to view the service each Sunday morning (you can watch it at the same time as in-person worship so we can gather in unity of spirit), but in reality (because it pre-recorded), online worship is available as soon as we are able to edit it together and post it online (typically by noon on Saturday afternoon).

What happens if someone was confirmed with COVID-19 after they attended a worship service?
We will notify attenders via email when/if direct exposure to a confirmed case has occurred (this is why we ask for email and guest names during the reservations process). We will relay the date, time and location of the confirmed case.