Grace and peace to all in these days of continued concerns due to COVID-19.
We’re so glad you stopped by to see how we are being church in this time ...
Since March, we’ve been worshiping together virtually through the gifts of technology, and since July, we’ve been able to come together outside in God’s creation and enjoy one another’s presence at a safe distance. As the weather grows colder, our way of being together will change yet again.
Beginning Sunday, October 4, worship services will be live-streamed from our sanctuary every Sunday morning at 9:30 am. We’ll be able to gather together from our individual homes in real time, knowing that the Holy Spirit will bridge the distance between us. We’ll send a note soon about how prayers and announcements can be sent to worship and included in real time. If you aren’t able to participate at that time, the video will be available later for you to watch on YouTube.
On the first Sunday of each month for the rest of the year (October 4, November 1, and December 6), you are invited to join us in-person, in the sanctuary while we live-stream the service if you are comfortable doing so. Of course, those who aren’t comfortable will still be able to worship virtually from home as on other Sundays. Because gathering indoors poses different challenges from gathering outdoors, we’ll need to take additional precautions for everyone’s safety. If you’d like to come to one of the three live-streamed services with in-person participation, please read the following guidelines carefully.
Who Should Come
- If you’re at higher risk for contracting illness, please continue to worship virtually from home. You’re an important part of our church, regardless of whether your presence with us is physical or virtual!
- Please stay home if you or a member of your household have symptoms of COVID-19. According to the CDC, these include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.
- With the constraints of social distancing, we can only accommodate 11 family units per service (a family unit is considered to be one person or more), for a total of about 25–28 people. As a result, you must make a reservation to attend. You can do so by calling the church office at (507) 387-6592, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by texting Diana Stoll at (507) 351-6864. If you don’t receive confirmation of your reservation in a reasonable time, please try again. If more people want to attend than we can safely accommodate, we’ll add a second service that Sunday.
What to Expect When You Arrive
- As soon as you get to church, please put on a mask or multi-layer, cloth wrap that covers your nose and mouth. We encourage you to bring your own reusable mask, but anyone without a mask will be furnished one. Keep your mask on at all times.
- Stay 6 feet away from anyone outside of your household, both outside and inside. Refrain from any physical contact with anyone outside of your household (hugging, handshaking, etc.).
- Ushers will conduct temperature checks and screen for COVID-19 symptoms at the front door. Be prepared to wait to come inside the building, and remember to maintain social distance as you wait outside.
- As you enter the church building, please use some of the hand sanitizer that will be available.
- As with our outdoor services, there will be changes to how we worship. Listen closely to instructions from Pastor Dana, other worship leaders, or the ushers. These guidelines may be especially difficult for young ones to remember. Parents, remind your children about them frequently, and stress that they are ways for us to show love for each other. Unfortunately, we can’t offer nursery service. Please bring your own toys or activities for your children, and don’t share them with others.
- Bathroom access is limited to one person at a time (unless a parent needs to go in with a child). Only use bathrooms that are clearly designated for use. Please disinfect surfaces before and after using them with the available sanitizing supplies.
- Because circumstances can change quickly, we may have to modify plans at the last minute. Please check your texts, email, and/or the church’s Facebook page for updates before leaving for worship on Sunday morning.
- If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 after attending a worship service, please let Pastor Dana know. Without disclosing your identity, she will inform other people at the service that they’ve potentially been exposed. If requested, we may give the names of people at the service to the Minnesota Department of Health for notifications.
- We will periodically review these plans in light of current best practices. Because things may change quickly, please check the date of any communication from the church to make sure it’s the most up-to-date.
These safety procedures are based on guidance from the CDC, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the Minnesota Conference of the United Church of Christ. While we’ve thought carefully about how to ensure everyone’s safety, there remains a chance of COVID-19 transmission at any in-person gathering. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that in-person worship will be completely safe. As you decide whether to come, think carefully about why you want to gather in-person and the risks involved.
Thank you for your diligence and good humor in adjusting to so many changes since March. Despite these disruptions, we remain committed to loving and serving God, each other, and our world. That will never change.
Peace to you all,
Church Response Team:
- Blake Couey
- Jessica Fite
- Richard Hammitt
- Lynn Ries
- Diana Stoll
- Sue Wear
- Doug Wood