Re-Opening Team Update
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.
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.
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 laws, regulations and Executive orders (collectively, “Laws”) and create an intentional process to timely review any updates and revisions.
- 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:
- 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;
- Expectation that anyone who desires to worship in-person take their temperature before coming to Church and not be experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms;
- Expectation that those attending in-person worship will practice social distancing while within the Church building;
- 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;
- Requiring all individuals attending in-person worship to wear a face-covering over the nose and mouth while in the Church building;
- 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;
- Asking members to register intention to attend in-person worship to aid efforts to keep attendance to a number that allows reasonable social distancing;
- Asking members attending in-person to refrain from any indoor conversations before or after worship;
- Placement of signage at Church entrance on protocols for in-person worship attendance;
- Enlisting Ushers to assist attendees in understanding and adhering to established guidelines; and
- Assisting Pastor Micah in explaining changes to worship required by Covid-19 protocols.
- Create a safe space for in-person worship by:
- Marking sanctuary seating to promote social distancing;
- Closing certain areas of the building to limit potential contamination;
- Establishing guidelines for community groups using the building;
- Creating a process and traffic flow to promote safe entry/exit;
- Taking into account mobility restrictions of older members who attend in-person;
- Having a supply of cleaning materials, facial coverings, hand sanitizer and water bottles available at all times;
- Developing a cleaning protocol consistent with Guidelines and cleaning the Sanctuary before and after each use;
- Removing hymnals, Bibles, pencils, attendance cards, etc. from the sanctuary;
- In consultation with Pastor Micah, limiting or modifying worship practices that may increase the risk of COVID 19 transmission; and
- Determining the best protocol for climate control/ventilation during worship services.
- Update the guidelines and procedures as deemed necessary or advisable.