Church pandemic update: June 6, 2021

Greetings St. Johners,

The Board formulated a plan for handling this pandemic last fall setting forth stages for re-opening. For programming purposes, in December, we decided to remain closed through May. As cases decreased in our area, we moved to stage 3: Limited church usage for small groups meeting inside the church. Now that vaccinations are readily available for adults and children over age 12, the numbers of cases are plummeting throughout the US. We are where we were a year ago in case numbers. It is time to move forward to stage 4: Church usage for limited services, gathering. WE ARE OPEN!!

But for now, these are our guidelines to be updated as more information and science becomes available:

  • For Sunday Service, everyone will be asked to wear a mask. We are aware that those vaccinated may, per CDC guidelines, be unmasked, but we want to be inclusive to those with apprehensions or concerns.
  • For smaller gatherings, Vespers or other small groups, mask usage may be decided by the comfort level of the participants.
  • There will be 2 doors open for entrances and exits – the main door and the back door leading into the parking lot.
  • We will not hold hands for the benediction, Any other contact is by mutual agreement.
  • There will be no order of service, and the offering plates will be at the doors, rather than passed.
  • Family units or pods (those who have been socializing together) should sit together. All others should socially distance and stagger seating.
  •  For the near future, all music will be either instrumental, small groups, or soloists. (Not that you can’t hum along inside your mask!)
  • Children should always remain with parents.  No childcare yet.
  • Please don’t wander around the building but stay in the Sanctuary, Haehnle, and Krolfifer to make it easier on Jeff, our caretaker/cleaner.
  • The only bathrooms in use will be next to the coat rack.  There will be disinfectant spray or wipes in the bathrooms you may use to wipe door handles, sinks, toilets, etc. (For Jeff)
  • There will not be any coffee or food available, so BYO coffee, tea, or whatever. Social Hour outdoors. Some services may provide snacks.
  • Please do not come to church if you are unwell.
  • We will be maintaining services on-line. This gives us 2 modalities for participation. We anticipate that many folks are still in the wait and see corner. This guidance doesn’t mean that we expect to see you in service until you are comfortable with current conditions.
  • Please remember that as a community, we care for each other. We are trying to stay up with the times, but not have to go backwards.
  • This is a soft start return to service. We plan more normal building services (ushers, sound system, etc.) on July 11. Then we will switch from zoom meeting with some people in the church to a full service with an on-line presence.

Brightest Blessings,

Edie Holder, President of the Board, 2020-2021

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