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Procedure for reopening

Healthy Church Team Action plan for Community and St Mark UMC

  1. The HCT is composed of the Pastor, each Administrative Council chair and each SPRC Chair at the present time. Others may be added as needed.
  2. Given the current average attendance of each church and the ages of the members, we anticipate being below the 25-worship person limit in Phase 1. We anticipate that only half of St Mark’s regular attendance and a third of Community’s will probably participate in the first several weeks of live worship. The first two Sundays of opening we will combine the two churches to work out any unforeseen issues in the plan. The first Sunday we will open St Mark (June 7) because they have been stocking up on PPE supplies and on the second Sunday we will meet at Community(June 14). The third Sunday (June 21) each church will hold it’s own worship. Should the numbers be too low to make keeping both churches going we will combine the worship services at the more attended church. This is the plan for all of phase 1.
  3. As of now, there is no desire of either church to have drive in church. Also, looking at those who are watching online we are not attracting our most vulnerable or shut-ins. We will continue to video the services but not in real time. They will be posted to the Facebook pages and Youtube channel each Sunday afternoon.
  4. Six foot of distancing will be mandatory for everyone who is not living in the same household. Both sanctuaries will allow for a vacant pew between rows and they are six feet apart. This will still allow us to stay under the 25 maximum participants.
  5. Face coverings are required and not an option. Mask will be worn at all times. They should be put on before leaving your vehicle and not taken off until back in your vehicle.
  6. It will be the greeters job to make sure everyone is social distancing and wearing their mask. Should there be an occasion where someone’s mask comes down or social distancing is not maintained, they will ask the person or persons to correct the situation. Should someone refuse, the pastor will hold up the service and reiterate the requirements for mask and distancing. If the situation is still not corrected then the pastor will end the service.
  7. There will be one greeter located outside the door who will be in a mask and gloves. That person’s role is to make sure people coming in are masked and that they retain the 6-foot distancing as they come in. They will also assist with the door to prevent several people from handling the door knobs. Should it be nice weather, the door may be propped open and left that way during the entire service. There will be a second inside greeter again in mask and gloves to make sure people sit in pews in accordance with the 6-foot rules.
  8. Once inside, the six foot rule must be adhered to while going to their seats.
  9. When leaving, the sanctuary will vacate with the rear pews leaving first and moving forward.
  10. The offering will be collected by means of plates at the rear of the church where the money/envelopes will be deposited. The money counters will wear gloves and mask while doing that duty.
  11.  For this phase of worship, we will purchase the sealed, prepared juice/chip cups. Anyone handling them will put gloves on just before handling them and promptly removed them after dispersal. For phase 1, the liturgy of Communion will be done at the church, the people will be given the prepared Sacraments and they will take them with them to consume at home. This is doing done to keep mask in place and to not leave possibly contaminated used cups in the church.
  12.  Both churches have sufficient hand sanitizers at this time. However, people will be encouraged to bring their own to help minimize the touching of shared containers.
  13.  There will be no handshaking or hugging during this phase. Passing of the peace may still be done but only to those immediately around you and without touching and maintaining distancing.
  14.  There will be no nursery, children’s time, or children’s church during this time. Sunday School will also be suspended during this time. For phase 1, no one under the age of 12 may attend. In phase 2, no one under the age of 7 may attend.
  15.  There will be no snacks or beverages and people are encouraged to leave after worship and not congregate in the open spaces even if social distancing. If people must talk, they are encouraged to do so outside in the open area and maintain social distancing.
  16.  The sanctuaries will not have any Hymnals, Bibles, or envelopes for offerings in any of the pews. Congregational singing is forbidden during this phase but music may be played or cd’s with lyrics may be used.
  17.  A bulletin will be prepared and emailed out each week. It will also be posted on the Facebook and church website pages. Each person will print the bulletin at home and bring it with them and take it with them when they leave or look at the electronic version. There will be a few bulletins printed at the church four days before worship and placed in a plastic sealed bag for those without any means to print one or use electronic media. These will be handed to the person in the sealed bag by a gloved greeter and the person is to take it home with them afterwards. Nothing is to be left in the sanctuary after worship.
  18.  Baptisms are suspended for the time being. Weddings are allowed but must follow all other distancing and mask requirements.
  19.  Any member not feeling well or sick should not come period. Each person coming to worship should take their temperature before leaving home. Temperatures will not be taken at the church. The pastor will advise the person when they submit their Health Acknowledgement form if there is anything on there that should stop them from coming to worship.
  20.  The churches will be cleaned before each service and after each service. Cleaning should be done four days after worship so any virus may die and at lease one day before worship. Basically, cleaning should be done Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Since we rarely have people in the church Monday through Wednesday this is a safe alternative. Cleaning will be in accordance with the Handbook for Local Churches page 18, 23 and 24. A copy of the handbook and guidelines will be kept at the church for reference. The book will be in the center of the pastor’s desk.
  21.  All other events, group meetings, etc are cancelled for this phase.
  22.  What coming to church will look like. You will take your temperature before leaving home and print your bulletin. Parking would be normal, but the social distancing must be maintained coming into the building. Once in the building, social distance must be maintained in the pew. Again, each person will bring their own bulletin they downloaded at home or use their electronic device to obtain it. There would be normal liturgy and prayers. There would be an offertory prayer but the offerings would be placed in the plates in the foyer when coming in or leaving. When it is time to exit the building the rows in the rear would leave first slowly each row would leave until the front rows have left as well. Social distancing and mask are a must for all. The offering would then be counted by counters wearing mask and gloves. Disinfectant sprays such as Lysol can be used to help cut down any spread of virus on the plates, money or envelopes. 
  23.  Signs will be posted on the front and rear doors stating, “No one with a fever or symptoms of COVID 19 or known exposure to COVID 19 in the prior 14 days is allowed in.”
  24.  Signs will be at the front and rear doors stating, “No children under the age of 12” during Stage 1 or pioneer church stage. Drops to age 7 at Stage 2.
  25.  When parking your vehicle make some space between yours and the one next to you. Again, please put your mask on before getting out and only take it off after you are back in the vehicle.
  26.  Weekly, each person will complete a “Health Acknowledgement Form” and submit it to the pastor only. The pastor will then give the ok either by list, email, or verbal for the person to come to worship and the greeters will be given a list of those approved. The HAF may be downloaded from our Facebook page, a weekly email sent out, the Conference web page (http://doc.vaumc.org/News2020/HealthAcknowledgementform.pdf) or simply call the pastor and he will fill it out for you. This form must be filled out BEFORE the day of worship. This will be communicated on our social media and other electronic methods.
  27.  If by chance a visitor would show up for the service at least 15 minutes before the start time and was just absolutely not aware of the HAF the pastor will attempt to accommodate them. If that is impossible they will be notified of the process and turned away.
  28.  The HAF will be maintained on the church web page for download and a link will be on each Facebook page as well. The person can fill it out and scan it back to the pastor. There will be a few copies at the door for visitors that may come without knowing about it sealed in a plastic sealable baggie.
  29.  On final approval of this plan, copies will be put on the Facebook pages, website, emailed, and a copy kept at the church for all members to review from time to time, especially as changes are made.
  30.  Things that will disqualify you from attending service is any international travel in the last 14 days. Two or more symptoms of Covid 19 with the exception any temperature of 100.4 or higher is an automatic denial to come to worship. If you fail to complete the Health Acknowledgement form procedure and there is no time for the pastor to be involved you will be denied admission.


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