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Beloved in Christ, 

We have not gathered together in communal worship in our sacred sanctuary since March 8. It has been a long six months! Few of us anticipated the length of this time away from our building, as well as the challenges of this year. Whether we have been isolated at home alone or have had to learn how to work remotely or how to teach our own children at home, there have been many challenges along the way. But we have also learned how resilient the children of God truly are. 

While our building has been closed for six months, the church has not been closed for even one minute – because the church is more than just a building. We are part of the living, breathing Body of Christ. The church has not been closed, but rather deployed to the world. We have continued in worshiping together online and outdoors, we have continued to provide love and care for one another, and we have provided outreach to our neighbors through the Van Buren Shelter, CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence, Kaleidoscope Youth Center, Faith Mission, and Canal Winchester Human Services. We have continued to faithfully share the work and word of Jesus Christ. 

But, our building is an important part of our mission, to be a visible witness to the all-inclusive love of God in Canal Winchester. So we have monitored closely when we will be able to reopen our building for in-person worship. Through our Reopening Task Force and the Consistory, David’s UCC decided to reopen for in-person worship after four weeks of being at the Public Health Advisory System’s alert level 2 in both Franklin and Fairfield counties. On August 27, Gov. DeWine announced that both counties had been downgraded to level 2.

Therefore, I am delighted to announce that David’s United Church of Christ will reopen for in-person worship on Sunday, October 4 at 10:00am. Worship will be live-streamed online from the sanctuary for those unable to attend in person. Social distancing measures will be in place and masks will be required. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions and Protocol for Reopening for the full details on the measures we have put in place to ensure that we will gather in a way that is healthy and safe. 

Finally, let me urge you to do three things as we enter this phase of our life together: PRAY. WORSHIP. GIVE. 

Pray for an end to this pandemic, and healthy and wise decisions from our leaders. Pray for Davd’s United Church of Christ, our members, friends, staff, and clergy. 

Worship our loving and gracious God faithfully, each week – in-person or online. God desires your presence, and your presence builds us up as a community. 

Give of your time, talent, and financial resources to support the life and ministry of David’s United Church of Christ, that we may continue to share the life-transforming gospel of Jesus Christ with our community and world. 

These three things will empower David’s United Church of Christ to be a faithful witness to the amazing love of God for such a time as this. 

Thank you for all you do to share the love and light of Christ in the world. 

See You in Church,

Rev. James Semmelroth Darnell, Senior Pastor


Who contributed to David’s UCC’s reopening plan?

 In May 2020, a Reopening Task Force was formed consisting of Rev. James Semmelroth Darnell, Becca Hoskins (Administrative Assistant), Theo Jackson (Director of Music), Sherri Alspach (Nurse), Jennifer Chatfield (Consistory President/Educator), Bernhard Deeg (Past Consistory President/Epidemiologist), Rev. Jim Nolan (Retired UCC Minister), and Connie Ray (Pharmacist). The task force has met monthly throughout closure of our building. In June 2020, a churchwide survey was emailed and mailed to all church members regarding opinions on reopening. Nearly 100 people participated in the survey. The responses to the survey informed the drafting of the Protocol for In-Person Worship at DUCC, which was adopted in August 2020. The task force reported monthly to Consistory, which also provided feedback for reopening. 

What time is the worship service?

There will be one worship service at 10:00 am in our sanctuary. It will be livestreamed to YouTube. The livestream recording will be made available later on and

Who may attend in-person worship?

Anyone who is not experiencing potential COVID-19 symptoms such as 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, or diarrhea or has not been in physical contact with someone with COVID-19 may attend worship. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms please contact your physician. You may also enjoy our online worship service. 

 What should I do upon arrival for worship?

a.    Go to the Columbus Street side of the church building, where you will be asked a few screening questions and have your temperature taken prior to entering the building. All persons above 3 years of age will be required to wear masks to enter the building. 

b.    Enter the double doors into the narthex. Please use hand sanitizer before proceeding into the sanctuary. 

c.    Ushers will be available throughout October to direct worshipers to their seats in the sanctuary.

What should I do upon completion of the worship service

a.    Please exit the building using the sanctuary entrance/exit that lead to the steps to Columbus Street. If you are unable to use stairs, you may use the accessible entrance/exit. 

b.    There will be no formal fellowship time following worship. If you wish to socialize after worship, please do so socially distanced on the church lawn. 

Will there be any changes to the worship service upon reopening?
Yes, DUCC is concerned about Safety First for our members and guests. Therefore, we will implement the following:

a. A mask must be worn during the entire service for anyone that is 3 years of age or older.

b. For those who are able-bodied, only the Columbus street narthex double doors may be used to enter the building. Worship attendees will exit the building through the sanctuary doors. The accessible entrance will continue to be available to all who need to use it. 

c. There will only be 50 seats available in the sanctuary, which will be distanced. Household members may be seated together. All other persons will be required to be six feet apart.

d. We will not have the chancel choir or the full Come BeLoved band. Vocal music will be limited to soloists and small ensembles. 

e. Congregational vocal participation will be limited. Therefore, the liturgy will not include responsive readings and congregational hymn singing.

f. Offering plates will not be passed during worship. The offering box will be available to deposit your tithes and offerings prior to and following the worship service. All members of DUCC are highly encouraged to make their offering online through or via bank bill pay. You may also mail your offering to the church. 

g. There will not be a traditional receiving line for the pastor to greet worshipers leaving the service. There will also not be refreshments for fellowship time. If you wish to socialize following the service, please do so in a socially distanced manner on the church lawn. 

h. Please be no hugging, handshakes, or physical contact with those who live outside your household. 

i. Offering envelopes and communion elements, when needed, will be available on tables near the sanctuary doors prior to entry.

j. Parents are asked to accompany any children to the restrooms.

Will groups meet in the building?

All continuing small groups are welcome to return to meeting in person, while socially distanced and wearing masks. Each group is invited to decide among themselves whether or not they would like to continue meeting online. 

Do I have to wear a face mask?

Yes. No one will be admitted to the building without wearing a mask. Wearing a mask is a sign of our Christian concern for our neighbors’ health and safety. 

What is the plan for children’s ministry?

Holy Moly will resume in November. Each class will meet in a socially distanced space until Fairfield and Franklin counties are downgraded to alert level 1. Beginning in November, children will remain in worship on the first Sunday of the month for an intergenerational communion service. 

How are the facilities being cleaned and prepared for worship services?

  • Hand sanitizer stations will be available at entries and exits as well as throughout the building.
  • Our services and guest interactions will be intentionally touch-free (e.g., no hugs or handshakes for now).
  • Extensive cleaning and disinfecting procedures will take place before and after every service.
  • Hymnals, offering envelopes, and welcome cards have been removed from all sanctuary chairs. Additionally, there will be no bulletins for the time being. The worship order will solely be on the projection screens.

Read David’s UCC Protocol for In-Person Gatherings below.



  • For any prayer requests, emotional support, or other assistance you may need during these time, please email Rev. James at

David’s Extended Care is currently open. If you are in need of childcare please call 614-837-7734.


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