Bishop Sharma Lewis announced on June 3, 2020 that ALL United Methodist Churches can enter Phase 2 and thus can reopen at 50% capacity on Sunday, June 21, following the guidelines that she and her team have established. We have established a Healthy Church Team, as part of the Bishop’s Guidelines, to review these guidelines and implement them. The Healthy Church Team met on Sunday, June 7, at 12 noon to begin their work. I realize that not everyone will be rushing back to church when we reopen due to health concerns, and that is perfectly understandable. We WILL continue to live-stream the worship service on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m.
The guidelines the Bishop and her team have set for churches to be able to reopen are more stringent than the CDC guidelines and those of Governor Northam. In order to participate in worship services in Phase 2 you MUST follow the following guidelines:
- Those that want to attend must register with the church in advance at least four days (by Wednesday) before the service so there can be adequate planning. You can register by calling the church office at 540-898-2180 or sending an email to the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org. This will have to be done each week.
- Complete the brief Health Acknowledgement Form. You can find this form at the bottom of this page. You will download the form, complete it, and then send it in by email to the church office at email@example.com. If you do not have email, please call the church and arrange to complete the form. A form must be completed for EACH member of your family who wants to attend. These forms will have to be completed monthly. You will be asked on Sunday mornings when you arrive if anything has changed on the form.
- On the day of the service:
- If you are sick from anything, please stay home.
- Before you leave your home to attend the service, each attendee must take his/her temperature. It must be less than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit to attend worship.
- Bring your own face covering and hand sanitizer. However, if you forget to bring one of these items we will have a limited supply on hand to provide to you.
- Arrive early to church and be prepared to answer follow up questions about your health (i.e. Did you take your temperature and has anything changed on your health questionnaire?).
- Face coverings are required from the time you leave your vehicle until you return to your vehicle to go home.
- Strict physical distancing – six feet or more at all times:
- Stay 6 feet away from others as you exit your car, and as you enter the church.
- You/your family will be seated by the greeters in a pew, keeping with social distancing.
- Greeters will dismiss pews one by one at the end of the service, keeping with social distancing, and you are to return to your vehicles using social distancing.
- The main entrance will be the only entrance and exit points. However, in case of an emergency any exit can be used.
- Hymnals, Bibles, and all worship materials will be removed from the pews.
- Choirs are not permitted to sing.
- No Congregational singing, but humming or speaking the words is fine
- Digital bulletin (No paper bulletin. Everything will be on the screen).
- No children under the age of seven in Phase 2
- There will be no Nursery in Phase 2. (The Bishop does allow a Nursery in Phase 2, but since no children under 7 are allowed in Phase 2, we will not need a Nursery).
- No Sunday School in Phase 2
- No coffee or fellowship time in Phase 2
- Restrooms are open in Phase 2. However, there will be instructions posted on the bathroom wall on how to sanitize the bathroom after use to make it safe for the next person.
- No handshakes or hugging in Phase 2
- Offering in Phase 2 will be a basket at the door of the sanctuary that you can place your offering in.
- Holy Communion (pre-packaged) is allowed in Phase 2. However, you would have to take the pre-packaged elements back to your car or home and receive them. Thus, during Phase 2 we will continue to celebrate “The Communion of Empty Hands.”
I know this a lot to do in order to attend the worship service, but it is for the protection of each and every individual.
In Phase 2 we will have only one worship service which will remain at 10:30 a.m. in keeping with the live streaming that we have already been doing at that same time.
Again, do not feel like you have to come. You can still watch the service on our Facebook page each Sunday morning. However, if you choose to come please know that all the guidelines must be followed with no exceptions.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call me or email me.
Pastor Justin Williams