ReOpening the PCIS building

    November 13, 2021 | Articles by Linda Smith
    Message from the Pastor and Church Leadership

    We are blessed and excited to be returning to our PCIS church building for Worship services on Sunday November 21. Our services will be offered simultaneously online and in-person. This takes a lot of logistical coordination, and so this is the start of ongoing communication to keep you updated about changes, progress and challenges.

    It is important to note that in this early stage, we are reopening the church building for worship only. More details follow in the Q&A section in this article, but please respect our need for this limitation at this time. Children are welcome and encouraged to attend services with their family in the Sanctuary, but childcare will not be provided. Similarly, we are not able to host Coffee Hour in person yet.

    Even as progress in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we're still doing our best to minimize risk for in-person worship experience for our members. The following communication protocols and safety measures are currently in place:

    • Provide regular updates on current COVID-19 health and wellness-related news via weekly e-blast and periodic virtual coffee hours,
    • Monitor and assess key indicators and metrics developed by Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Town of Sudbury Public Health, and CDC,
    • Develop COVID-19 guiding principles and benchmarks for reopening the church building based on science-based public health guidelines, safety/risk assessment, and inclusivity of members,
    • Ensure dialogue and transparency in communications and decision-making process, 
    • Ensure building is cleaned and disinfected between each service, including disinfection of heavy transit areas, bathrooms, and high-touch surfaces. Provide hand-sanitizer stations throughout the building’s public spaces for easy access,
    • Post signage to serve as reminders for recommended safety measures and required mandates, 
    • Provide color-coded comfort level identifiers for members, guests, and staff to help assist with social-distancing preferences and boundaries, 
    • Regularly communicate with Session, internal and external community leadership, and other faith communities.

    We're all in this together! So please take note of the following important guidelines before you attend one of our services:

    • If you or anyone in your party has any symptoms associated with COVID-19, please join us online instead.
    • If you or anyone in your party has had prolonged exposure to anyone who's tested positive for COVID-19, please join us online instead.
    Frequently Asked Questions: 

    The following is a summary of responses to questions we have heard from the congregation as we prepare to return to worship in-person. If you have additional questions or concerns, please direct them to Martha Welsh at   She will find the answers and share them with the congregation. We appreciate your thoughtfulness and patience in this transition period.

    In General

    Q: Do I have to wear a mask?

    A: Yes, for the time being, everyone must wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. Like other local towns, Sudbury has a mandatory mask order in place. PCIS will comply as long as the mandate is in place. (The town mandate is based on the current community transmission rates of the Delta variant in the surrounding communities.)

    Q: Will PCIS Staff be wearing masks?

    A: PCIS staff will continue to wear masks indoors in public spaces. When childcare resumes, we will require masks for all children (over the age of 2 years), parents, and volunteers in our childcare spaces.

    Q: Do children have to wear a mask?

    A: Our congregation includes senior members and those who are medically vulnerable. We urge parents to ensure that children (over the age of 2 years) are masked during Worship and while in the building. If this is not possible, please consider attending services via Zoom. When childcare resumes, we will require masks for all children (over the age of 2 years), parents, and volunteers in our childcare spaces.

    Q: Do you require social distancing?

    A: We no longer require socially-distant seating. But to accommodate those preferring some social distance, please ask politely if neighboring seats are available (we anticipate having plenty of extra room for all attendees). Advance registration will not be required to attend worship in person. In addition, we’re also providing color-coded, comfort-level identifiers to help assist with social-distance preference and boundaries.

    Q: What are comfort-level identifiers?

    A: This is system used by many churches and organizations that identifies your comfort level when interacting with others. Simple stickers are applied to member/visitor plastic name tag holders, and are changeable when desired. It is based on a color-coded system as follows: 

    • Green – I’m fine. I’m comfortable. Gives the “go ahead” for high fives, hugs, and handshakes. Social distancing not necessary.
    • Yellow I’m not so comfortable. Maybe give me fist bump or elbow-to-elbow greeting. Prefer 4-6 feet social distancing. 
    • Red – I prefer no physical contact. If you can keep 6 feet from me, I’d appreciate it. 
    Sunday Worship Service   

    Q: How will Communion at PCIS be served?

    A: Servers with sanitized hands and wearing gloves will distribute the bread into your cupped hands when you come forward down the center aisle. As you walk towards the side aisle to return to your pew, you will see a table with small cups of juice or wine. You will take a cup and bring both the bread and cup back to your pew for consumption. After the service, a bin will be available at each door, and we ask you to please deposit your own cup into this bin. If you do not feel comfortable with in-person communion, we welcome you to bring your own elements from home (as we have been doing via Zoom), and Pastor Desiree will bless those together with the communal elements. 

    Q: Will childcare be provided? 

    A: For the time being childcare will not be provided. Children are welcome and encouraged to attend Worship in the sanctuary with their family. 

    Q. How will the Passing of the Peace be handled?

    A. We will continue to Pass the Peace as we have done on Zoom. Whether you are worshiping in-person or on Zoom, place your hand over your heart and say: “And also with you.”

    Q. Will there be live music in the Sanctuary?

    A. For the immediate future, music will continue to be pre-recorded and used as video for the hybrid service while producers work on the technologies to ensure a good experience both online and in-person. 

    Q. Will there be congregational singing?

    A. Yes, with everyone masked.

    Sunday School   

    Q: Will Sunday school meet in person?

    A: Sunday School for adults, youth, and children will continue on Zoom for now.

    Church Building

    Q: What areas are not accessible because of renovations to the building?

    A: Fellowship Hall and the Education Wing are not available for use at this time. People are requested to enter the Sanctuary via the stairway from the foyer, or use the elevator, if that is needed. 

    Q: Will the bathrooms be accessible?

    A: Yes, until the General Contractor starts work in Q1 2022. 

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