Our churches will reopen on June 14, but there are many aspects of our communal worship that will be different when we what back through the doors. While it is important for us to be together as a community, it is vital that we do so safely. Churches are ranked as one of the environments that COVID-19 is likely to spread if no precautions are taken. Unfortunately, this is our “new normal” as we return.
A small group with representatives from both churches has been working very hard to create a safe atmosphere to return and we present these guidelines to you today. It will be a great temptation to greet friends that you haven’t seen in months but I implore you to respect these guidelines, knowing that any one of us could carry the virus to others without us knowing. Our plan is to continue to live stream the service each week, and then to offer it on our websites. Depending on which service is recorded, that is the time the service is streamed.
The Twelve Commandments in the Time of COVID-19
- Stay home if you are sick!
- It is recommended that you wear a mask as much as possible. At the very least, wear it as you enter and exit the church. If you are unable to remain at least 8 feet (the new guideline) between you and another person, please wear your mask.
- Sit in areas designated by blue tape. We will be remaining at least 6 feet apart.
- Please use the bathroom BEFORE you get to church. We will have the bathrooms open for emergencies but will need to clean them after each use.
- Do not gather in small groups when entering or exiting the church. Keep your distance of at least 6 feet (and don’t forget your mask). You will be dismissed by rows at the end of the service to provide for an orderly exit.
- Place your offering in the plate on your way out the door. We won’t be passing the plate for the foreseeable future.
- No congregational singing or loud speaking. This could possibly be the hardest part for most Methodist churches, but singing is the fastest way to spread the virus. We will be listening to soloists and the piano rather than singing as a group.
- No bulletins. We won’t be passing any pieces of paper and when possible, will be displaying the order of worship on the screen.
- You will be checked in at the door and we request that you provide your contact information, if we don’t have it. This is our own form of contract tracing so that if someone in attendance does become sick, we can quickly alert everyone who attended that day.
- There will be no passing of the peace for the foreseeable future.
- No children’s time or Sunday school. Children in attendance will need to remain in the service. We can’t pass out activity sheets or bags during this time either.
- Use the hand sanitizer as you enter and exit – just to be safe.