Update August 19, 2021 Re-Gathering Updates and Protocols – a note from Brent
This fourth wave of the pandemic is not what anyone wanted or imagined. It is a challenging reminder that things rarely have simple or final solutions. Like all challenges, it is something we will face together; armed with hope, love, faith, intellect, and understanding. With the delta variant comes some new wrinkles, challenges, and risks. We have been meeting in the spirit of care for one another and in the truth that worship, gatherings, togetherness matters. In all of our work we will honor medical guidelines, we will make things as safe as they can be, we will communicate openly with you, and then invite you to make the choice that is best for you and/or your family. The truth is nothing we ever do is completely free of risk. In one of my favorite benedictions (from William Sloane Coffin) he asks God to bless us with grace to risk for the sake of the good. The Re-Gathering Committee has made important decisions that are fundamentally grounded in what the CDC and others tell us are the best practices to minimize the risk of the spread of Covid19. We hope that they will make you feel comfortable in being able to come to worship. A few details:
- The single best way to maintain safety is for everyone who can to get vaccinated. If you need help figuring out how to get vaccinated – call the church office – we can help. The next best mitigation strategy is to wear masks.
- We will be outside this week and next (weather permitting). Those guidelines include ALL wearing masks to their seats and then allowing those who are fully vaccinated to remove their masks while they remain in their seating area. Those who are over two and are not yet vaccinated are required to wear masks throughout the service.
- If it rains, we will invite those who wish to come inside for worship. All people, regardless of vaccination status, are asked to mask throughout worship. We will continue to provide spacing (every other pew) inside as well. Windows will be open.
- We are working with CE to create guidelines for both the Nursery and for Sunday School. We hope and plan to be ready for a process to launch on Rally Day (September 12). Stay tuned!
Update August 5, 2021
The call to be a Christian community does not cease in times of crisis; in fact, it rings louder and more true than ever. However, things will be different. As the coronavirus pandemic unfolds, turn to this page for current information on how we will remain connected and attuned to the needs of the world.
Regathering will be a transition. Our protocols take into account data from our community, guidelines from health and religious organizations, and protocols that are safe and help ensure everyone’s comfort so that we can worship in peace. We continue to gather together to worship. It is a central time in our share life.
Regathering Committee Update and Changes – August 4
Our Regathering Committee continues to draw direction from the values of our faith, scientific/medical professionals, from Denominational leadership, and from current local metrics to guide and shape our response to the ongoing pandemic. We strive to keep things consistent, simple to understand, reflective of what is medically safe, and mindful of additional measures that might ne needed to make people feel safe. We are mindful of the tensions of our faith that include strong values regarding care for others (especially the most vulnerable), community formation and gathering, and love. As a result, we are adopting the following approaches. We will continue to meet and evaluate in order to provide both real protection and real chance for connection.
Building Mask Requirement: Following CDC recommendations, we have reinstituted the mask requirement when in the church buildings regardless of vaccination status. We are making exceptions for staff when working alone in their offices and for worship leaders when they are speaking during worship. We will have masks on hand if people need them. This includes all functions held at the church.
Outdoor Worship Changes: Outdoor space is safer for gatherings. We are increasing the number of outdoor worship services in August (see below ). We will continue to use spacing as supported by science. All, regardless of vaccination status are required to wear a mask to their seat. Continuing to wear a mask is always a welcome sign of care. Those who are not yet fully vaccinated are required to wear their mask throughout worship. Those who have been fully vaccinated may remove their mask for all aspects of worship while they are in their seated area. Further at events or times when keeping distance is not likely outside all are asked to wear masks.
Upcoming Worship Schedule:
August 8 – Outdoor Worship (led by Barb Kershner, David Anderegg, and Hannah Brown on violin)
August 15 – Streamed Only Worship. Brent will be away this coming week for his Step-Mom’s funeral and will not be returning until Saturday. Since we will not be able to assess any changes to conditions or recommendations we are taking this step to ensure safety. Brent will lead this worship service with David Anderegg and John Demler.
August 22 – Outdoor Worship
August 29 – Outdoor Worship
Rally Day (September 12) – We are scheduling this service for Outdoors as we anticipate a robust Kid’s Choir and want to welcome as many of you as possible to be physically present. Should we have inclement weather we are anticipating holding this service outside on September 19.
Capacity: Governor Baker has not issued any new guidelines regarding capacity; previous limits were rescinded on May 29. We will keep a lookout for updates. In the meantime, we will use Governor Baker’s March 22, 2021 appendix to COVID-19 Order no. 63 as a guideline. This allows up to 100 people in a public venue. We will also refer to previous distancing guidelines when organizing worship services, etc.
At our meeting in Mid-August, we anticipate exploring more detailed questions about things like the Nursery, Sunday School, Fellowship Hour and other things that are so important to our shared life. We welcome and input, support, or questions – just give the Church Office a call.
- All Sunday morning worship services will be available via Livestream.
All scheduled meetings and gatherings of the church and outside users are evolving to a combination of in-person and Zoom. If you need to schedule a meeting, please contact Will in the church office.
Brent and/or Will will be in the office from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Monday – Friday, to make sure that someone is in the building to answer calls and e-mails and receive any deliveries.
Pastor’s Office Hours
Pastor Brent will hold office hours by appointment, please contact the church office. Meetings can be either by Zoom, telephone, or outside. Inside is possible, if all persons are fully vaccinated.
Weekly Virtual Bible Study
On Wednesdays at 1:00PM, you are invited to join Pastor Rick Floyd for a look at the scripture text for this week in advance of worship. To join via Zoom, click here
Wednesday Morning Prayer
Morning prayer will continue virtually, via Zoom on Wednesdays at 8AM. You are invited to gather starting at 7:45AM with a cup of coffee or tea in hand. To join via Zoom, click here
Thursday Walking Prayer
Please call Pastor Brent for more information.
Financial support remains essential both to pay for regular expenses (staff, utilities, insurance, etc.) and to support the new ways we are ministering (e.g., online services, food assistance support, etc.). You may mail checks to the church office or give online.