PASTOR K’S VIDEO NOTE

COVID-19 RE-ENTRY UPDATE 

Embracing a “New Normal”

(Five Phase COVID-19 RE-ENTRY PLAN)

Introduction:

Because of COVID-19, we are living in a new normal. In preparation for in-person operations and worship, we recognize the need to follow protocols that consider both safety, access, and quality as we make thoughtful decisions about re-entry.

Recent research conducted by health experts pointed to five factors when considering how risky a given in-person activity may be. They are:

  1. Whether it’s inside or outside
  2. Proximity to others
  3. Exposure time
  4. Likelihood of compliance
  5. Personal risk level

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the riskiest activity), experts ranked attending in-person church services an 8 out of 10 (9 out of 10 with singing) without a vaccine.

For African American congregations, these numbers increase as we have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. 

Factors to consider before reopening for corporate worship:

1. Ensuring no one is exposed to COVID-19.

2. Quality– not losing the “feel” of church church with masks, very limited to no singing, social distancing, etc.

3. Sanitation–consistently ensuring every space that people occupy is sanitized frequently.

4. Social distancing.

5. Access – Ensuring that no one is turned away and that everyone has access to register for worship should we go that route to ensure distancing measures.

As we consider these and other challenges to reopening, this five-phase plan that utilizes the recommendations given by national, state and local officials has guided our evaluation of when and how we’ll return for in-person activities.

PHASE ONE: ONLINE WORSHIP (Completed)


Under the “Stay Home, Work Safe” order, citizens are recommended to limit activity and stay at home. During this phase, we will employ:

  • Online worship services
  • Online Bible studies and groups

Note: Until there is a vaccine that has proved to be effective, and we can ensure no one has the possibility of being exposed to COVID-19, we will continue with online worship, Bible studies and groups.

PHASE TWO: SMALL GROUPS (Completed)


As restrictions are loosened, current CDC guidelines indicate groups of 10 or fewer in number will be recommended. During this phase, we will employ:

  • Online worship services
  • Online Bible studies and groups
  • Small groups of 10 or less off campus

Note: If smaller groups decide to meet in-person (away from the church), we ask they use all CDC recommended guidelines (e.g., staying 6-10 feet away, wearing masks, using hand sanitizer, avoid touching of face, etc.).

PHASE THREE: MEDIUM GROUPS (Completed)


If COVID-19 cases decrease, current CDC guidelines indicate groups of 50 or fewer may gather. During this phase, we will employ:

  • Online worship services
  • Online Bible studies and groups
  • Church-wide ministry events in which groups of 50 or fewer in number can use Cascade UMC campus/facilities
  • Smaller groups are still encouraged to meet off-campus
  • Social distancing for each group meeting, along with other recommended precautions (e.g., staying 10 feet away, wearing masks, using hand sanitizer, avoid touching of face, etc.)

PHASE FOUR: LARGER GROUPS (Current)

  • Online worship services recorded from the sanctuary with selected music staff, and clergy following social distancing guidelines.
  • Church-wide ministry events in which groups of 50-100 people can use Cascade UMC campus/facilities following social distancing guidelines. Masks are still required and gathering with those who have been fully vaccinated is encouraged.

PHASE FIVE: NEW NORMAL


As safety increases, we will resume more regular activities in addition to our in-person worship services while continuing to offer online worship opportunities.

Updated June 2021