FUMC Covid-19 Protocol

RE-OPENING PROTOCOL FOR WAGONER FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

 

Join us for Sunday Worship at 9:30a in the church gym.” Please consider this one step among many as we hope to eventually return to our regular worship schedule.  We will constantly monitor the situation, considering both internal and external factors, in determining our next step.  Everything will remain fluid.

 

Guiding Principles

Matthew 22:37-39:   Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

 

Philippians 2:3-4: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

 

Romans 12:9-13: Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

 

John Wesley’s General Rules for Methodist societies:   Do no harm; Do good; attend to the ordinances of God.

 

These guiding principles remind us that everything, including our worship of God, is done in a spirit of love, which includes doing what is good and right, for each other and not just for ourselves.  It is our responsibility not only to do no harm but to do good for others as we attend to the ordinances of God.

 

Therefore, DO NOT ATTEND WORSHIP IF YOU FEEL ILL OR HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.  The most common symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

 

For additional information and emergency warning signs, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

 

If you are attending worship in person, we respectfully request that you wear a mask.  We are not using the term “mandate,” as we believe that our congregation will show love, care, and respect for one another.  We believe that our folks will want to create a safe environment for all those who feel comfortable gathering in person.  We don’t have to “require” when people willingly consider others and want to respond in love.  If you do not have a mask, we will have disposable ones available as you enter.

 

PROTOCOL FOR IN-PERSON WORSHIP

  • The entrance to the building will be through the east side doors to the CLC. We are asking people to not enter the building before 9:15 and not linger following the service.  Those who are volunteering to sanitize will stay briefly to clean and others are invited to take conversations outside.  While engaging with others, please refrain from handshakes and hugs.  Don’t create an awkward situation of having to decline physical contact.
  • Seating areas will be marked with tape for social distancing. Ushers will help direct people to available options.  Please do not fill in the open areas or assume that others won’t mind if you encroach where they are.  Just as we’ve been doing outside, households will sit together and people are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, which will reduce the need of sanitizing.  Church folding chairs will be available to those who need them.
  • There will be no nursery or childcare. Access will be closed to the rest of the building, including the kitchen.  The CLC bathrooms will be available but ask that use be limited for when it is absolutely necessary.
  • Worship leaders will wear masks except when speaking or singing as they lead. The congregation is asked to “whisper sing” or hum along with the worship leaders.  Clapping as a form of percussion is a way to be involved musically.
  • No offering plates will be passed. The collection box will be located by the east CLC doors so that people can contribute as they enter or as they exit.  Hand sanitizer will also be available at this station.
  • Online live streaming of the service will continue to be available, and we encourage worshippers to consider this as a viable option. For those who want to be at the church but not inside, we also providing a short-wave broadcast on a lower FM radio frequency, similar to drive-in movies.  If you’re worshipping electronically, please communicate that to us so we know we’re maintaining a connection with you.
  • Sunday school and other activities will continue not meeting in the building. Classes and groups may choose to meet offsite as they feel comfortable, and we encourage the use of masks and social distancing if meeting as a church group.

 

PROTOCOL FOR CHURCH OFFICE

  • The church office is open. Staff members will maintain social distancing or wear masks when needing to work in closer proximity.  Staff members who feel ill or showing any symptoms of COVID-19 are required to stay home.  Sanitizing wipes and hand cleaner will be available for staff to clean their work areas throughout the day.
  • Visitors are limited to 5 minutes in the office and asked to stop at the glass greeting area of the office.
  • Longer appointments for church business or counseling can be made. All persons involved are to wear masks and maintain social distancing practices.

 

PROTOCOL FOR FUNERALS & MEMORIALS

  • Funerals and memorial services will follow the same protocols as in-person worship.
  • There will be no family meals onsite.

 

Some may say that we are erring on the side of caution, I would rephrase that to say that we are erring on the side of love.  We want to do our best to minimize the risk of infecting our fellow members whom we love.

The Relaunch Team will continue to monitor conditions within the region and state and adjust as we can.  The safety of our congregation will be our highest priority as we seek to meet our human needs to worship God and maintain human interaction.  As I continue to ask, pray for our Relaunch Team, pray for the safety of our members, and pray for a vaccine.

 

Blessings,

Pastor Greg