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Returning to church: Re-launching and Re-Forming Community

March 16, 2021

Returning to church

Re-launching and Re-Forming Community 

Hope fills the air this spring as we begin returning to church. As more and more counties across the Mountain Sky Conference area are cleared to enter the YELLOW PHASE of our return to services the following protocols continue to be required to gather safely:

Wash  Wash and sanitize your hands regularly.

Watch  Watch your social distancing to remain 6 feet apart from anyone in all directions.

Wear  Wear your masks! While gatherings may still be governed by local health offices, we all continue to be advised to wear masks four our protection and for others.

Several state and local offices are working together to provide daily update on the threat and recommendations surrounding the Covid-19 protocols for your community. Please remain aware of local restrictions and move to keep our churches a place where we do no harm. The following are suggestions for the YELLOW PHASE of our church community gatherings…

  • Continue to disinfect all areas of the church before and after use. This includes sanctuaries, narthexes and entry ways, restrooms and any other areas where people gather.

  • Continue to offer hand sanitizer for all visitors.

  • Have people sit in family units or individually with 6 feet of separation from those around them.

  • Have all continue to wear their masks before, DURING, and after service. One recommendation is to let your folks know that we stand in unity with our healthcare workers (hospital, retirement communities, and care facilities) and will lift our mask requirements when they are lifted for those facilities.

  • Small churches are advised to use plexiglass at the front of the sanctuary between the worship team and pews.

  • People may bring coffee from home and prepackaged snacks, but there should still be no gathering time, shared foods, or coffee hour.

  • Singing and corporate prayer are still not recommended, though if people are singing and praying, please have them join in gentle and quiet support of the worship team.

  • Individual servings for communion should be served, allowing participants to still socially distance. It is recommended to have multiple stations for communion and allow people to come forward as they feel comfortable. Another alternative is to have a dedicated day and time for communion to be offered to those who wish to come in only for the sacraments.

  • Immediately seat those coming in and have them exit the building when done. We are not prohibiting folks from gathering, we are just not hosting official gathering times at this moment. (See GREEN PHASE)

PLEASE CHECK LOCAL RECOMMENDATIONS for gathering each week to slow and prevent the spread of Covid-19 and any other contagions.

GREEN PHASE

We are going to be able to gather in full, without masks when the following criteria are met:

  • Every Staff member who has direct contact with our congregations has received the vaccine.

  • The positivity rate for your county has fallen below 2.0% (state numbers can be found here: https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america/ Check your county health department for up-to-date information on your community.)

  • Vaccines are available to all members of the public.

  • Community health recommendations have been lifted. 

When all of these criteria are met, churches may go back to full, in-person worship without facemasks required. It will be at this time too we can again join in coffee hour, community gatherings, and singing aloud in church.