COVID-19 Update

In-Person Worship (Last updated May 19, 2021)

In a time marked by separation and sacrifice, the new CDC guidelines offer a welcome invitation to resume many of the practices we have paused over the past year. Thank you for giving the Session a few days to review the most recent recommendations and their implications for our congregation. Below, you will find a significantly updated set of practices based on these guidelines. We anticipate that these will continue to be revised as vaccination rates increase, case counts decline, and we monitor future changes in guidelines and restrictions. 

 

Worship

What is changing:

  • We will no longer have capacity limits in the sanctuary for Sunday worship, weddings, or funerals;

  • People will not have to sign up in advance for worship;

  • Worshippers will not be required to distance;

  • There will be no restrictions on congregational singing;

  • Bibles and hymnals will be returned to the pews.

 

What is staying the same for now:

  • Everyone will be asked to continue wearing masks. While we are eager to drop the mask requirement, we recognize that the guidelines direct children under 12 and those with immunocompromising conditions such as cancer to remain masked even if they have been vaccinated. As people of faith, wearing masks so that some are not singled out is a way that we can care for one another and for our youngest church members;

  • We will not be Passing the Peace or sharing Friendship Registers and offering plates;

  • We will use single-serve communion cups;

  • We are continuing to explore ways that the choir could lead worship safely;

  • We will not provide coffee between services.

 

Small Groups and Committees:

  • Bible studies, fellowship groups, and others are welcome back in the church building. Members of those groups can make decisions about masking while together.

  • Committees can choose to return to in-person meetings or remain on Zoom. 

  • If you are planning to meet at church, please alert the office so that your gathering can be added to the schedule.

 

Church Building:

  • Beginning June 1, the church building will be open during the week for Summer Hours of 9am – 1pm Monday - Thursday. If you would like to stop by or have a committee meeting outside of those hours, please alert a member of the staff and we would be happy to accommodate this. 

  • Staff will continue to combine in-person and off-site work.

 

We recognize that broad guidelines do not cover every situation, and that much of what we are learning from the CDC would benefit from additional clarification. If you have questions about anything regarding re-opening, please contact the pastors or any of the names below.

 

Thank you for your flexibility and grace this year as we have gone through this historic period together. This pandemic has had dramatic impacts, both near and far. While our area seems to be trending in an encouraging direction, we are also mindful of those who are still grappling with its painful realities. We also hope that the lessons we’ve learned will remain with us for a long time to come.

 

Warmly,

 

Tracy Burke, Kathy Westhafer, and Vicki Gansner (Elders, Worship Committee)

Bob Sheldon and Caroline Cupp, Pastors