Over the past six or so weeks, the COVID-19 team has been working diligently to review guidelines and advice surrounding how we might “be the church” during this time. Here’s an overview of what we’ve been working on:
When am I going to be able to go back to church?
Having considered the advice of the leaders of the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ, we agreed that it would be best to refrain from any in-person gatherings this summer. We agreed that, since September 13th would have been our usual “Welcome Back Sunday,” we would keep that date in mind as a benchmark to consider. As the summer months continue, we will be using this time to collect resources, create procedures, implement infrastructure, and make sure safety is in place for any kind of in-person meetings at church, including meeting for worship. There is no guarantee that we will be back on September 13th. This will be dependent on the number of COVID-19 cases at the end of the summer, and if there is a continuous downward trend in case numbers. At this time, case numbers are not decreasing within the county or state.
What will worship look like if we return?
We have also been asking ourselves the question, “does this aid us in our ministry?” No matter what, when we are able to safely meet together for worship, it’s going to look very different. There cannot be any kind of in-person singing (by a soloist, choir, and certainly no congregational singing). We wouldn’t be able to pass the peace the way we wish we could. We wouldn’t be able to gather for coffee hour afterwards. On top of this, we want to be mindful about how many people would be able to enter the space (and would want to discourage members of our community who are the most vulnerable to stay home). No matter what, worship just wouldn’t look the same. You can be sure, however, that whenever we do go back to meeting in-person, it will be a hybrid of virtual & in-person worship.
What about the Faire?
We are discussing ways the Faire might continue this year but using our collective congregational creativity so that it will definitely look different but still have the same spirit! Stay tuned for more information about Faire planning and questions. In the meantime, you can contact Betsy Schneider ( firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Is the building closed?
We are limiting staff presence in the building, encouraging working from home as much as possible, to help reduce any traffic in the building. Additionally, we have been asking ourselves what it means to represent “love of neighbor” at this time. First and foremost, loving our neighbor means protecting the most vulnerable in our community and limiting exposure to the virus. However, many of our building users are beginning to inquire about returning to the space. After much discussion and working together with Creative Arts, we have decided …