In May, we sent out a plan for moving toward reopening the church buildings as the world begins to slowly creep out of lockdown and quarantine.
After watching reports in our county and the next door counties, we have selected a date to move into the next phase of our plan. We will be moving from red to yellow on Friday, July 10. If you look at the updated plan we have attached, you'll see one addition from the first edition of this plan - outdoor worship during the yellow phase. We have attached the updated guidelines at the bottom of this post so that you can download a full copy.
Did you know that being in a group of people outdoors is 19 times less likely to spread Covid-19 than being indoors? We learned that recently ourselves, and knowing that, we believe that by adding outdoor worship two evenings per month, we can still keep everyone reasonably safe from infection while still gathering together for corporate worship.
Here's what this will look like:
Saturday, July 11th at 6PM, we will gather for a worship service on the lawn at St. Andrew’s. We are asking that in order to save on disinfecting costs and effort, everyone bring with them their own lawn chair or folding chair. If you do not have access to such a chair or are unable to transport one for some reason, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will work something out. Households will be required to sit at least 6 feet apart from one another. Masks are recommended, and if you don’t have one, we will have a washable, reusable one available for you to use and take home for future use. While we know you’ve missed one another and this will be a joyful reunion, please refrain at all cost from hugging, shaking hands, or otherwise coming in physical contact with anyone from outside your household. We have many people in our community who are at risk for major complications from Covid-19 and we have already seen firsthand how dangerous it can be. Air hugs, jazz hands, shouting “yay! I missed you!”, and complimenting everyone’s crazy quarantine hair are all acceptable greetings. The building will not be open for restrooms, so please plan accordingly. Restrooms are the most difficult part of the building to keep appropriately sanitized. There is no rain plan. If there is a little bit of rain, grab an umbrella and come anyway. If there is alot of rain, we will cancel. Keep an eye out for a weather alert via our usual winter weather system if you are unsure.
On Saturday, July 25th at 6PM, we will gather at Emsworth on the lawn with the same directions for community safety. Please park on the far end of the large parking lot, the small lower lot, or the street, and we will gather on the half of the large lot closest to the building.
On both of these weekends, we will still have Sunday morning virtual worship just as we’ve been doing. This will allow those who are still uncomfortable gathering in person to worship from the comfort and safety of their homes. In other words, Sunday morning worship will continue exactly the way it’s been continuing over the past few months online, but we’ll be adding the Saturday evening in person worship twice a month.
We will also use both of these evenings to gather used laptops, tablets, and smartphones to begin putting together our new mobile technology education lab. This program will include a mobile technology lab, classes on technology use in day to day life, a tech lending library, and improved live-streaming abilities moving forward when we are back in the sanctuary again. For every working devise donated (please remember to bring the charging cables if you still have them), you will receive a receipt for the in kind donation and we will receive credit toward the matching grant we have been given. We receive $4 from the Presbytery for every $1 worth of donated items and cash donations, up to $4000 total of matching. If you have non- working tablets, laptops, or smart phones, we will recycle them for you for a recommended cash donation of at least $5. Those cash donations will count toward the matching grant. Anything we collect (in-kind or cash) over $1000 enables us to do even more with this new program. We cannot accept desktops, monitors, non-smart phones, or other electronics/accessories. Feel free to ask around to your friends and family for donations of items and cash for this project as well. The more we collect, the more we can do to help connect to our community and help our community connect as use of technology is becoming increasingly important in day to day life. Stay tuned for information on online fundraising for this project, as well as additional drop off dates that you can share on social media.
I can’t wait to see all your faces in person on July 11!
Stay safe and healthy, friends.