Policies, procedures and expectations for building use

(Updated  March 24, 2021)

Indoor Gathering Guidelines

Our building is open for in-person worship on Sunday mornings at 10:30, we are currently allowing seating for 300 people in our Sanctuary (50% capacity) so reservations are not needed at this time.

Our building is also available for mid-week use for church-affiliated groups.

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

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) [midweek only]

  • 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 (except Sunday morning for in-person worship)

  • Kitchen/coffee service/drinking fountains

  • Food

Sunday Morning Worship

  • Online Worship | Worship band and sermon, online (watch at home or in small groups offsite). 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 | Worship band and sermon with appropriate precautions outlined below.

What to Expect at Indoor Worship

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). Nursery for three-years-old and younger is also available. Everyone should enter the building through the main doors closest to the Sanctuary.

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 50% of official occupancy, meaning 300 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.

Does my family need to reserve a seat?
Not at this time. We recently increased the Sanctuary capacity and no longer need to ensure space with reservations. If we start nearing capacity, we will explore options for accommodating everyone.

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/food?
No, we will not be serving beverages or food at 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 a box to leave your offering 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 our church family via email when/if direct exposure to a confirmed case has occurred. We will relay the date, time and location of the confirmed case.