GORDON MEMORIAL UMC & BRADEN MEMORIAL UMC
PHASE 1: RETURN TO IN-PERSON WORSHIP
The COVID19 Re-Entry Coordinating Team has been very busy praying, planning and staying abreast of the CDC and the Tennessee Annual Conference Guidelines for opening of Worship Facilities in the Davidson County Area. We are grateful to everyone who completed the Return to In-person Worship Survey. The feedback was critical in the decision making process.
The results of the In-person Worship survey revealed that over 50% of the congregation is prepared to return to in-person worship if appropriate practices are adhered to ensure safety and reduce risk. Our in-person worship experience will be dramatically different. Everyone will be expected to abide by the new guidelines so that we can ensure everyone’s safety and help to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Our projected date for return to onsite worship is July 12th. Phase one will include the following:
GENERAL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
• Building Cleaning & Disinfecting: A thorough cleaning and sanitizing of the building has been completed by the Trustees and a group of volunteers. Cleaning and disinfection of frequently contacted surfaces will be conducted prior to and following any service.
• Masks: To reduce potential transmission everyone will be required to wear a mask or face covering before entering the building and continue to wear it until returning to their vehicles at the end of service. The church will supply a face covering if needed.
• Physical Distancing: Six feet physical distancing will be adhered to.
• Hand Hygiene: Touch-less hand sanitizing stations will be available at the entrances for disinfecting hands upon entering and leaving the building.
• Occupancy shall be limited to no more than 50% capacity in Phase 1. The Barbara Gray Thomas Room will be the overflow area where the service will be streamed for the worship experience.
• Doors: Interior doors and entry/exit doors will remain open to limit touching of door handles. Separate doors will be used to enter and exit the building.
• Signage will be posted throughout the building to provide public health reminders regarding social distancing, gatherings, options for high risk individuals, and staying home if sick.
• Elevator will be in use with the following preventive measures:
a. Practice physical distancing
b. Wash hands and use disinfectant after contact with elevator buttons or rail
c. Avoid overcrowding elevator
d. Refrain from talking
e. Do not lean on walls
f. Wear mask
ENTERING & EXITING THE BUILDING:
• Worshipers should plan on arriving earlier than usual.
• Worshipers will enter through the double doors at the front of the building or lower level entrance at six foot intervals between household units.
• Households approaching the building to enter will stop six feet from the screening volunteer who will be wearing a face covering and gloves. The screener will:
a. Check the temperature of each person using a contact-less thermometer and verify that the temperature is less than 99.9°F.
b. Review with each person prior to entering if they, today or in the preceding 48 hours, have experienced: Cough, Shortness of breath, Difficulty breathing, Fever (greater than 99.9°F), Chills, Muscle pain, Headache, Sore Throat, New Loss of taste or smell, Vomiting or diarrhea, Close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days, International travel, or Domestic travel to a Covid-19 hotspot.
To reduce potential transmission of the virus, it is suggested that only persons answering“no” to each of the screening question will be allowed in the building. Likewise, it is suggested that those who answer “yes” to any of the questions; or register a temperature greater than 99.9°F, not be admitted.
Further suggestions include that these individuals and their household unit, should either return home or be escorted to a quarantined area of the building away from the trafficked areas if they were dropped off and cannot return home immediately.
Entering and Exiting Worship Space: Worshipers will follow the directions of the Ushers for seating. Pews have been marked to maintain 6 feet physical distance. Ushers will direct worshipers to their seats beginning from the front. Family units will be allowed to sit together, but it may be in a different location from the place you usually sit. Ushers will also direct the exiting of the sanctuary after Worship Service starting from the back.
Congregating in the narthex/hallways is strongly discouraged.
Offering of Gifts: In this season, it is not safe to pass the offering plate. The best practice is to offer online giving, and/or to provide a touch-less receptacle at the entrance and/or exit for persons to deposit their offering. It is recommended that counting and preparing offerings be done in a way that offers the greatest protection to the persons handling this task. This includes:
• Wearing gloves and masks
• Preparing the offering, placing it in an envelope, and then placing the envelope in a sealed plastic bag.
Holy Communion: The pre-filled cup and wafer communion elements will be placed in the pew rack before service by the Communion Stewards. After consumption please place empty cup back in pew rack.
Music: Data clearly reveals that best practices for in-person worship recommend against congregational singing. Music will be pre-recorded or led by soloist or small praise team. There will not be a full choir, due to recommendations of 26 feet between singer and anyone else. It is recommended that microphones not be shared or be disinfected between each person use. Preliminary scientific research in the area of singing suggest singing without a mask can be a super spreading event and one of the most dangerous activities we can engage in during worship.
Expressions of Love and Peace: We encourage you to refrain from handshaking, embracing, and other forms of passing the peace. You may choose to wave at one another, or adopt another creative way of communicating.
Liturgy: It is recommended that microphones not be shared and that all microphones be disinfected and sanitized both before and after use. Proclamation of the Word should include 26 feet distance from nearest person.
Procession and Recession: Candle lighters and other items held and carried during the procession and recession will be disinfected before use, only be touched by the person carrying them and disinfected after service.
Bathroom Use: Only one household to use the bathroom at a time to abide by 6 feet physical distance guidelines. Please utilize good hand hygiene.
As stated earlier, these guidelines were prayerfully developed to allow us to gather safely. We will continue to closely monitor medical developments and adjust accordingly. All current electronic means of participating in worship Facebook Live, Zoom, and Conference call will
continue for those who are not able to return to in-person worship at this time. We continue to hold unto God’s unchanging hand as He leads and guides us through this wilderness experience.
In Service to Almighty God,
Covid- 19 Re-entry Coordinating Team & Rev. Dr. Paula Smith