Congregational Update
Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church
Serving Christ in the Heart of Detroit
Dear Members and Friends of JAPC,
Paul invited the church in Ephesus to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace . In the coming time we will need to be humble and patient with ongoing changes to our patterns of life. The church will also need to make effort to sustain our congregation as one body as the timing of church members participating in face-to-face worship and ministry will be as diverse as God made us.
On Wednesday, June 17, the Session of Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church approved a timeline for returning to the church building for staff functions on Monday, June 22 and for in-person worship in the sanctuary on Sundays beginning July 12. Along with this letter is an Executive Summary of the Session’s extensive plan. The summary is designed to inform the congregation of expectations and precautions that relate to those who participate in physical ministries. Please read this important document.
Some important points to consider are these: First, the church will re-enter the building with protocols and guidelines to allow for the safest possible use of the building. This is not a return to church as it was before the pandemic. Second, while the staff will be working in the building, it remains closed to visitors. The church office will be available by appointment only with masks and distancing.
In the planning and preparation the Session has done to begin physical and in-person worship and ministries again, the congregation and all participants will need to be adaptive, responsive, and attentive. Parts of our planning may need to change or adjust as we consider new or changing realities that could not anticipated. In all that will come, we are called to be faithful to God and to one another as we live as the church together.
Part of being faithful a the body of Christ also means that we understand that the risk for face-to-face participation is different for all people. Session and I seek to make the church’s worship and ministries assessable for people who will not be physically present. Please reach out if there is a way we can do this better, I would appreciate hearing from you.
Session has done this work to guide the church to take the steps into re-entry. The character of Session in doing so has been prayerful, non-anxious, and hopeful as they seek the well-being of the church while anticipating when we could share worship in our sanctuary. Worship is the heart of our identity and lives of faith. The Session was thoughtful. They asked hard questions and considered the implications of possible decisions, despite not having all the answers. I am grateful for their effort and it is an effort that will continue as this is a first step. Session and staff will continue to monitor conditions as best we can to make changes to the church’s worship and ministries as necessary.
I believe that as we do this difficult and joyful ministry together, Paul’s invitation to the Ephesians are good words to guide us. I believe we will know God’s presence as we bear one another Christ’s love, as we pray, support, and nurture one another in Christ’s love. May we be guided by the wisdom of the Spirit to see what God is doing among God’s church, which is to say, body of Christ, which includes all of us.
Grace and Peace,  
Rev. Matt Nickel
Executive Summary of the JAPC Re-Entry Plan
Approved and Adopted by Session on June 17, 2020
Introduction: The church expects all people who come to church understand the public nature of church. Every person needs to assess their own risk, understanding that the sanctuary will be open to any who wish to participate in worship. The Session and staff at JAPC will continue to monitor and make changes to the ministries of the church as necessary. The church will adjust as necessary to promote the safest possible experience under the circumstances.
Expectations of Church Members, Friends, and Participants
In order to create the safest possible worship environment for people who participate in worship in the sanctuary, people must follow these guidelines/expectations:
·     Please stay at home if you are sick, and self-quarantine if you think you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
·     Face Masks must be worn at all times in the church building. The church will provide masks if needed or if a face covering is determined to be ineffective.
·     People are expected to arrive at least 15 minutes early to sign in, use hand sanitizer, and be directed to a seat.
·     Every person must maintain physical distancing of 6 feet or more at all times on church grounds and inside the church building, especially when entering worship and departing.
·     Please use the designated pathways and doors marked for entrance and exit.
·     Pew books, etc. will be removed, however you are encouraged to bring your own Bible.
·     There will be no Coffee Hour and it is expected that you leave the building directly, following worship. visiting can take place at safe distances away from walkways as you wish.
Sunday Morning Precautions for Beginning Phase of “In-Person Worship”
·     Regular worship practices that are medically determined to create risk will not be practiced, including: No passing of the peace, no congregational singing, no Lord’s Supper, limited corporate prayer, and abbreviated services.
·     Entrances to the church will be from the rear parking lot door and in the case of need for accessibility, the Tower door.
·     We will enter the sanctuary using the center aisle only. 
·     Choice of seating is limited to designated spaces to allow for distancing and if first come, first serve.
·     No Sunday School classes or Child Care will be offered.
·     Participants will be dismissed row by row, using the lateral outside aisles to exit: please respect the 6 ft. apart rule. Exits include the Narthex door(s), Tower doors, and stairway from sanctuary to the parking lot. Center aisle use will be privileged for any person with accessibility needs.
·     The offering will be collected using a dedicated offering box found in the Narthex and in the welcome center of the lobby or online at / direct link:
·     Bathrooms will be open but please use with social distancing upon entering, use, and exiting.
Precautions Used as Staff Resumes Work from the Building
·     The church will have a “no visitor” policy with church business to be done “by appointment only.”
·     Staff will have cleaning, safety, distancing, and health monitoring protocols.
·     Staff will use designated spaces. Work areas must be respected by all (employees and parishioners) as these spaces will not be available for open use.

Document Links
To download and print the above documents:

Contact the Church Office
8625 E. Jefferson Avenue | Detroit, MI 48214| 313-822-3456 |