Following the Bishop’s recommendations, FUMC will re-open with the necessary caution required to ensure the safety, health and well-being of our congregants.
We anticipate a return to sanctuary worship no later than Sunday, June 14th, 2020.
The following is our proposed process for a gradual return to in-service fellowship.
a) Only the 11 am Sunday Service will be reinstated as a first step in re-opening FUMC.
What this means is that Sunday school, on-site committee meetings and other activities will remain suspended until further notice. With our initial attempt at congregational gathering we will monitor the health of our membership before opening the church further.
Committee chairs are encouraged to conduct business via internet email, Zoom conferencing, texting and phone calls.
b) The entrance and exit points to the 11 am service will be identified and monitored by appointed ushers.
The purpose of this step is to maintain safe-social distancing. The entrance and exit points will have hand-sanitizer tables that congregants can use. Masks and gloves will be available at the entrance point to the sanctuary. Whereas the use of gloves are optional, the use of masks for the initial services will be required. We hope to move beyond masks in the near future, but this decision will be contingent on the status of the virus in our community.
c) Seating in the sanctuary will be structured so that every other pew is unoccupied. Families that live together will be able to sit together, otherwise, social distancing of approximately 6 feet will be enforced.
d) The FUMC Choir will not be assembled. Alternatives, such as solos and instrumentals will be utilized during worship. Congregational singing will be minimized due to the required use of masks.
e) A tithing box will be set-up at the back of the sanctuary in the center isle for on-going offerings. Persons entering or exiting are encouraged to give their tithe in support of FUMC either through the use of this tithing box or by mail.
f) Communion will be controlled with the use of separate wafers and cups that are administered by the Pastor and a Communion Steward. Ushers will control the movement of congregants from their pews to the Communion rail and back to their pews.
g) Physical contact between congregants (such as hand-shaking, hugging etc.) will be avoided during this pandemic.
h) Children will be permitted to remain with their parents or placed in the designated classroom during the service. Parents will need to ensure that the children are healthy (not running a fever, cold, coughing, etc). The classroom will be monitored by two healthy adults who have the authority to accept or turn away any child -based on symptomatic concerns.
i) Because of the nature of this terrible disease, no liability can be assumed by the Church regarding the health of parishioners who choose to attend the 11 am service. While our hope and prayer is that everyone will be healthy and immune from this plague, it remains an ‘invisible enemy’ that can strike anywhere. We are committed to protecting our congregation with practical preventions such as frequent cleanings and sanitizing of our building.
j) Finally, we are requesting that each congregant participates in self-care that will go a long way to the protection of others. Monitoring one’s own health is vitally important during this time. Persons who are not feeling well MUST remain home until recovered. With practical measures we add the necessity of personal prayers. Through prayer, our physical health and our spiritual health are placed into God’s loving care.