Re-Opening Team Update

July 18, 2020

RE-OPENING TEAM UPDATE

The Re-Opening Team has been working hard for the past weeks trying to read and understand the ever-changing guidelines and best practices of the various government agencies advising when and how in-person worship would be possible.

Through this work we have developed a policy statement that we will use as a blueprint to help us move toward in-person services when:
1) it is safe to do so.
2) when we can provide a meaningful worship experience to both those who can attend in-person and those who cannot.

This policy statement is a fluid document that is meant to change as new or better information becomes available.

The Re-opening team consists of Pastor Micah, Maryellen Reek, Dale Rohn, Ken Krach, and John Hummel. Please thank them for their efforts with this ever-expanding project.

Pastor Micah
John H.


Policy Statement of Faith Lutheran Church
on Resuming In-Person Worship Amid the COVID 19 Pandemic

Faith Lutheran Church (“Church”) will resume in-person worship at a time and in a manner that:
·         Complies with applicable laws, regulations, and Executive orders (collectively, “Laws”);
·         Is consistent with guidelines and suggested best practices published by the CDC, the Maryland Department of Health, the ELCA and other faith groups (collectively, “Guidelines”);
·         Allows the Church to timely react to revised laws, Executive Orders, and Guidelines;
·         Allows the Church to offer a meaningful worship experience to both those who can attend in-person and those who cannot;
·         Considers the median age and risk category of the Congregation and the physical constraints of the Church’s facility (“Facility”);
·         Contains a process for congregants to report a positive Covid-19 test to the Church following in-person attendance and appropriate Church action(s) in response.
·         Considers the burdens placed on Church staff and volunteers in offering both in-person and online worship experiences.

Re-opening Plan
To accomplish the re-opening of Faith Lutheran Church in a manner consistent with the Church’s stated policy, the Church Council has established a Re-Opening Committee (“Committee”), which will:

  • Review applicable Guidelines and create an intentional process to timely review any updates and revisions.
  • Update the Church Council as needed, but in no event less than monthly, until such time as the Church Council informs the Committee that the Committee’s work has concluded.
  • Establish an escalation process to deal with significant changes to Laws and/or Guidelines or the occurrence of any event that might suggest the continuation of in-person worship as then being conducted will expose members of the Church Community to increased risk.
  • Develop means to simultaneously offer meaningful in-person and on-line worship experiences in a manner that does not impose significant expense on the Church or place undue burdens on Church employees and volunteers.
  • Limit attendance at in-person worship to a number that can reasonably practice social distancing, while reserving space for visitors.
  • Communicate clear guidelines to members of the Church and visitors who desire to worship in-person, which shall include:
  1. Expectation that no one who has tested positive for COVID 19 in a time frame deemed relevant by Laws and Guidelines attends in-person worship;
  2. Expectation that anyone who desires to worship in-person take their temperature before coming to Church and not be experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms;
  3. Expectation that those attending in-person worship will practice social distancing while within the Church building;
  4. Equipping Ushers with a thermal scan thermometer to enable them to take the temperature of anyone who neglected to take their temperature before coming to Church;
  5. Requiring all individuals attending in-person worship to wear a face-covering over the nose and mouth while in the Church building;
  6. Encouraging anyone who has attended an in-person worship service within a time frame deemed relevant by Laws and Guidelines and who subsequently tests positive for COVID 19 to report the test to the Church;
  7. Asking members to register intention to attend in-person worship to aid efforts to keep attendance to a number that allows reasonable social distancing;
  8. Asking members attending in-person to refrain from any indoor conversations before or after worship;
  9. Placement of signage at Church entrance on protocols for in-person worship attendance;
  10. Enlisting Ushers to assist attendees in understanding and adhering to established guidelines; and
  11. Assisting Pastor Micah in explaining changes to worship required by Covid-19 protocols.

  • Create a safe space for in-person worship by:
  1. Marking sanctuary seating to promote social distancing;
  2. Closing certain areas of the building to limit potential contamination;
  3. Establishing guidelines for community groups using the building;
  4. Creating a process and traffic flow to promote safe entry/exit;
  5. Taking into account mobility restrictions of older members who attend in-person;
  6. Having a supply of cleaning materials, facial coverings, hand sanitizer and water bottles available at all times;
  7. Developing a cleaning protocol consistent with Guidelines and cleaning the Sanctuary before and after each use;
  8. Removing hymnals, Bibles, pencils, attendance cards, etc. from the sanctuary;
  9. In consultation with Pastor Micah, limiting or modifying worship practices that may increase the risk of COVID 19 transmission; and
  10. Determining the best protocol for climate control/ventilation during worship services.
  • Update the guidelines and procedures as deemed necessary or advisable.

7/14/20

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