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Stephen Ministry is a lay ministry that provides Christian caregiving to church members going through difficult times. Stephen Ministers receive 50 hours of intensive training which—together with the grace of God—supplements their experiences, personality, and talents with essential skills to offer this Christ-centered care. Stephen Ministers meet weekly with their Care Receivers who may be dealing with difficult times like grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or relocation.
In November, six church members began training at the church (masked, six feet apart) but we will more than likely be moving to Zoom training intermittently until March when initial training ends; Stephen Ministers then participate in monthly Supervision meetings which include continuing education. 
Please read "A Steady Reminder of God's Presence" for one example of Stephen Ministry from the Care Receiver's perspective. For more examples of Care Receiver stories, check out the website here.
To learn more about what you can expect from a Stephen Minister, click here. 
To learn more about what Stephen Ministers learn during their training, click here. 
Our Stephen Minister training will be led by Aram Kabodian, Chuck McNeil, and Reverend Penny Swartz. Please pray for these Stephen Minister trainees as they go through the training: Mark Cannizzaro, Chance Liscomb, Beth Lundy, Connie McNeil, Susan Nowicki, and Roger Smitter.


As of: 06/26/2020

The following operating procedures are based on current federal, state, county and local orders and guidelines. These procedures are subject to change as orders are amended. 



  • Safety measure supervisors are administrative staff responsible for ensuring that these safety measures are implemented and that the staff they supervise are adequately trained to follow them. 
  • Use of masks will be required for all adults entering the church that are medically able to do so. Masks are not required in areas where social distancing can be maintained. (ex. personal offices, restricted access spaces, etc.)  Anyone who is unable or unwilling to wear a mask will be asked to leave.
  • Individuals exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted in the building (see POTENTIAL EXPOSURE RESPONSE).
  • Hygiene stations are located at the 3 primary entrances to the church (NW Entrance, Elevator Entrance, and NE Entrance) and contain hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks.
  • Use of the church building by outside groups will be restricted.
  • Meeting spaces will have occupancy reduced by 50% and be set to facilitate social distancing between users. 
  • Doors will be propped open when appropriate to reduce the number of touch points. 
  • All kitchens in the church will be locked and use will be restricted to authorized users.
  • All non-worship visitors must check-in at the church office to help facilitate contact tracing.



  • Maintenance staff have received certification in post pandemic cleanup and disinfection.
  • Touch points and high traffic areas will be disinfected frequently throughout the day.
  • Maintenance staff are using enhanced cleaning techniques and new disinfection equipment. Disinfectants and cleaning methods are following CDC and LARA guidelines. 
  • Unused areas of the church will be closed and locked to reduce the workload of custodial staff.
  • Unnecessary chairs, tables, sofas, etc. are removed and placed into storage to reduce the amount of daily disinfection. 



  • Upon arrival, all staff will complete a health self-screening which includes a temperature check. 
  • Anyone that does not meet the screening criteria will not be permitted to stay and will be asked to self-quarantine (see POTENTIAL EXPOSURE RESPONSE).
  • Church staff will not share workspaces.



  • Church groups and ministries that meet in the church are restricted to 10 or less attendees. They are encouraged to meet virtually instead of in-person whenever possible. 
  • Church groups and ministries are asked to keep a record of attendance to each meeting or event to facilitate contact tracing in the event of an infection.
  • Wednesday Night Live! meals will continue to be distributed in to-go containers in the NW Entrance.



  • There will be no child care during worship services.
  • Every other pew will be closed off to create more space between worshipers. If there are two services, the alternate pews will be blocked off so that the second service worshipers do not sit in the same pews. Individuals not residing in the same household are asked to maintain 6 feet of social distancing. 
  • Ushers will wear gloves when distributing bulletins. 
  • Hymnals and Bibles have been removed from the pews. Hymns and Bible passages will be printed in the bulletin. There will be no congregational singing.
  • No-contact forms of “passing of the peace” are encouraged (waving or bowing or hand on heart.)
  • The Sunday offering will be collected at sanctuary exits, however, worshipers are encouraged to give online.
  • Communion service is currently suspended. Once reinstated, communion will no longer be taken by intinction. Bread will be distributed by gloved clergy and elders. Juice will now be provided in individual cups placed on a table at the front of the Sanctuary. 
  • Ushers will dismiss worshipers one pew at a time starting with the back of the sanctuary.
  • Fellowship time between services has been suspended.



Potential exposure includes contact with someone with a positive test for COVID-19 or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 which include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

In the event that a staff member or preschool child develop symptoms of COVID-19, the individual will be relocated to the designated isolation room located in the Northwest Entrance until they are able to be transported to their home or healthcare provider. 

Anyone attending to the symptomatic person is required to use enhanced personal protective equipment (PPE) protection. This includes face mask with eye shield, gown, gloves, and hair cover.

If the individual tests positive for COVID-19, church administration will immediately contact the Ingham County Health Department to report the illness and for the latest response directive for our area.

If a staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19 and it is determined to be a workplace related illness according to MIOSHA regulations, the illness will be reported on Form 300 and 301A as required.

Spaces occupied by the individual will be closed for a minimum of 24 hours and will be disinfected prior to reopening.

Anyone that came into contact with the potentially infected individual (<6 feet for a prolonged period of time) in the past two days, will immediately be notified of exposure by phone and email. The potentially infected individual will remain anonymous.

Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms that were sent home, may return to work under the following conditions:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and,
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.



Returning to Worship in the Sanctuary: Screening, Cleaning and In-Betweening

We cannot create a risk-free environment, but we can put in place procedures and policies recommended by the CDC and other organizations that minimize the risk of transmitting Covid-19. For the plan to work, we all have to do our part.

Before you come to church, make sure you have SCREENED yourself for any signs of illness. If you do not feel well, please stay home and worship with us online!

For those who are symptom-free and have not been exposed to anyone with the virus, we invite you to come to church. Here is what to expect:

Service times and locations

Services will be at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. in the sanctuary. Plan to arrive early because we will need to socially distance as we enter. The sanctuary can hold 160 worshipers while maintaining appropriate social distancing. Seating will be on the main floor and in the balcony.

  1. Arrival: When you approach the church, please make sure to keep your distance from other members and friends. The doors will be propped open (weather permitting). You will find a sanitizing station at the entrance where you can clean your hands and pick up a mask (in case you forgot to bring yours.) EVERYONE MUST WEAR A MASK.

  2. Entering the building: The greeters and ushers are trained to answer questions and guide you towards the sanctuary. Greeters and ushers will wear masks, name tags, and gloves in order to facilitate handing out bulletins. You are encouraged to view our bulletin from your smartphone (or other smart device) by going to and clicking on the link for 'Bulletins & Newsletters.' OR, you will also be able to access a link to our bulletin in the Sunday morning email that will go out prior to the 8:30 a.m. service.

  3. Sanitizing stations: These will be at the entrances and will provide hand sanitizer, tissue (possibly gloves) and masks (in case you forgot to bring your own). We will have a station by the elevator, the northeast door and the northwest door.

  4. The sanctuary: The sanctuary will have the first two rows of pews roped off to provide distance from the chancel. The ASL interpreter will be on the pulpit side, in case you need those services. Beyond the first two rows, the pews will be divided to provide for social distancing. There are no bibles or hymnals in the pews.

  5. The service: You’ll notice the ministers and musicians will maintain social distance during the service and will wear masks when not engaged in speaking roles. We invite people to participate in the liturgy, but we do ask that you REFRAIN FROM singing the hymns.  
  • There will be a children’s message BUT the children will not come forward.
  • Communion will NOT be celebrated until the fall.
  • There will be a no-contact passing of the peace.
  • The offering will be collected via baskets at the exits.
  • Fellowship time is suspended until a later date.
  • After the benediction, the congregation will be dismissed by rows starting at the back.
  1. Sunday school: There will be summer Sunday school in the Robertson Room at the 10:30 a.m. service beginning July 19. Each family or individual child will have a separate table and materials to use. We ask parents to prepare their children for this format, and encourage the children to wear masks. There will be no nursery care for the immediate future.

  2. The Elevator: Only one person (or couple) at a time may use the elevator and anyone entering the elevator should wear gloves and a mask.

  3. The restrooms: We will require that only one person or family at a time use the bathrooms. There will be sanitizer available at the entrance, paper towels available for opening doors and trash cans placed in convenient locations.

  4. Water Fountains: The water fountains are turned off. You are encouraged to bring a water bottle if you wish.


  • Maintenance staff have received certification in post-pandemic cleanup and disinfection.
  • Touch points and high traffic areas will be disinfected frequently throughout the day.
  • Maintenance staff are using enhanced cleaning techniques and new disinfection equipment. Disinfectants and cleaning methods are following CDC and LARA guidelines.
  • Unused areas of the church will be closed and locked to reduce the workload of custodial staff. Unnecessary chairs, tables, sofas, etc. are removed and placed into storage to reduce the amount of daily disinfection. 


When we gather as a church, we need to practice safe social distancing. That means we all need to keep at least six-feet away from non-household members. 

  • When you enter the church, or even walk up the stairs, make sure to keep your distance from other folks who are coming to worship.
  • In the sanctuary, every other pew will be closed off to create more space between worshipers. Between the two services, alternate pews will be blocked off so that the second service worshipers do not sit in the same pews.
  • Follow the instructions offered by ushers and greeters, and use common sense.
  • When you leave the church, continue to maintain appropriate distance between yourself and other congregants.



The best ways for congregants and staff to protect themselves from COVID-19 is to follow the best practices recommended by the CDC and the Michigan Department of Health.

Wear a face mask: Protect yourself and others in public with a face mask, covering, or shield in public, particularly where it’s difficult to maintain a 6-foot distance from others. Try to avoid touching your face.

Cover your mouth and nose: When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve, rather than your hands. Properly dispose of your tissue in a trash can.

Practice physical distancing: Maintain a 6-foot distance from others.

Follow social distancing guidelines: Use virtual platforms and avoid group gatherings and crowded places.

Stay home when sick: Avoid leaving home if you are sick. If you want or need to connect with your healthcare providers, first do so by phone or through virtual visits.

Clean and disinfect: Use a virus-killing disinfectant to clean frequently touched surfaces such as phones, keyboards, doorknobs, handles and faucets.

Maintain healthy habits: Get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water and exercise, if you are able, to help keep your immune system strong. Also stay in touch with friends and loved ones. Social connections are important even in a time of social distancing.

Wash your hands!!! Stop the spread of disease-causing germs by washing your hands often. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.


The Peoples Church is happy and proud to welcome American Sign Language interpreters to our worship experience.

Our 10:30 a.m. worship service will provide this service for the deaf community. The ASL interpreter will be positioned on the piano side of the sanctuary on the floor to sign during the service. They will also be available at the Welcome Desk before and after the service for assistance as well.