401 SE 15th Ave.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301

Safely Reopening Together

May 28th, 2021 Update

All of us have had our lives altered by the presence of COVID-19. Additionally, the we have gathered as a church family has sustained changes as well. New changes approach First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale and the city where we live.  That is, the process of reengaging with one another in ways that some have not for more than 14 months. The most recent CDC guidelines are a welcomed relaxation of restrictions, but we also understand that many people will need time to readjust to not wearing masks indoors, shaking hands, sitting next to others, etc. While we have seen many restrictions lifted in our community, we must approach our return to the facilities and ministries of the church with compassionate care and mindful consideration for all who call this their church home. With that goal in mind, we all should foster the attitude and wisdom of Paul in his direction to the Corinthian church:


“Everything is permissible” – but not everything is beneficial.

“Everything is permissible” – but not everything is constructive.

Nobody should seek their own good, but the good of others.

-1 Corinthians 10:23-24


Your Reopening and Resuming Task Force and Session have been making these important decisions with prayer and careful attention. Last night your session approved a number of changes to the church’s social distancing guidelines.

Here is what you can expect in worship this Sunday:

  • We will continue to follow CDC guidelines which recommends that if you are unvaccinated to wear a mask.
  • You may sit almost anywhere you wish in the Sanctuary.
  • For those with personal needs or preferences who desire to be socially distanced, we will have socially distanced seating areas in the Sanctuary available.
  • There will no longer be reservations for worship, temperature taking, or a sign-in table.
  • Ushers will be available to seat you if you wish, but it is no longer a requirement.
  • Bulletins will be available at the door.
  • We will continue to livestream worship.

Still to come:

  • In the coming weeks we will be reintroducing the use of hymnals and pew Bibles.
  • When the time is right, we will begin passing communion and continue to have single-serving communion kits available for those who would prefer it.
  • Other elements still to come in the not-so-distant future are choral singing and multiple services.

Our foremost concern has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of all who participate in the life and work of First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale with special emphasis on those who are the most vulnerable within our family of faith. We continue to be committed to creating a safe space for our entire church family.

May 14, 2021 Update

Since the beginning of the pandemic, your church leadership has striven to follow local, state, and federal guidelines for medical and safety protocols in order to maintain for member and guest safety during in-person worship and gatherings. Stemming from the biblical mandate to love our neighbor, we sought to engage in best practices that ensured the well-being of all our members and members of the Fort Lauderdale community.  I am proud of our metrics and the leadership your Session demonstrated to our church and others during this unprecedented time. One organization we have used to measure our closing and reopening metrics is the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. On Thursday, May 13th, the CDC announced that it is now safe for people to gather together in larger crowds without masks if those individuals had been vaccinated for COVID-19.

Today, the Session approved the following recommendation: Per the most recent CDC guidelines, the Session suspends the requirement for mandatory mask wearing for in-person worship for those who have been vaccinated beginning Sunday, May 16, 2021.

This means people will no longer have to pre-register for worship or wear a mask. We still encourage, per CDC guidelines, non-vaccinated people to wear their masks as well as get a vaccine. This does not mean everything is back to normal next week.  The Church is like an old Chrysler: She’s been parked for a while, and we have to get the engine started and warmed up before we take her out for a ride! In other words, not everything will be starting at once.  The Task Force will be considering next steps to be recommended to the session.

Those of you who wish to continue to wear a mask for personal health reasons are encouraged to do so.

Lastly, thank you for your patience and for the love you have shown to one another as we continue to journey through this together.


Your Pastor and friend,


In the last few weeks, Florida as well as our own Broward County, has continued to see a significant decrease in Covid-19 cases and the positivity rate.  At this time there is no definitive standard by CDC or Florida Department of Health (FDOH) for when to continue in-person ministries. In an attempt to be proactive, the team discussed various benchmarks for this kind of decision. As such, the team recommends the following:


  • Two consecutive weeks decrease in the 7-day rolling average of cases rate in Broward.
  • We recommend these standards be retroactive and, as such, both of the above metrics meet the above criteria to move to phase 3 of reopening as described in the attached Detailed Schematic of the four phases for Reopening.

Brief Description of the Four Phases

Pre-Opening: No in-person worship attendance

Phase One: Resumption of limited worship. Staff members may choose to meet with a group of no more than 10 people in a public location while observing CDC social distancing guidelines unless otherwise specified in Detailed Schematic of the Four Phases. We will begin in the Sanctuary.

*Phase Two: Current Phase. Increased worship service, on-site church meetings can begin to resume on campus with adequate safety guidelines.

Phase Three: Campus is fully opened and outside groups can begin utilizing our facilities.

Visit Our Livestream Channel for Sunday Worship!

Click on the following link to get you to our Livestream! Join us every Sunday at 11am from your couch!