Reopening our building for worship
September 18, 2020
Dear Church Family and Friends,
First, I give thanks to God for keeping each of you safe during this difficult time. Although we have tried to remain connected in different ways, like you, I have also ached to have in person worship. I also want to thank you for your continued faithful and generous financial support during this time. Praise be to God.
In response to the North Alabama Conference “Do No Harm” recommendations document, our Church Council created a COVID-19 Ministry Action Plan outlining steps we would take in order to move to in-person worship. Although there will be significant changes to how we worship, our goal is to move forward in unity while keeping everyone safe. We also recognize that each of us have different comfort levels with required protocols, and that is okay.
I want to share with you our initial plans for reopening the church doors, ask for your grace, and input as we move forward with love and courage. It was developed based on discussion between the Church Council and the Worship Team. I ask for your patience as we navigate through this abnormal time. We have implemented the following guidelines based on our understanding of the Do No Harm document and CDC guidance to help us care for and protect each other. As higher-level guidance is updated, these protocols will change and we will keep you informed.
September 20 & 27 – we will offer a 10:00 am outdoor worship service (weather permitting) in front of the FLC. We ask that you bring your own seats and if you feel comfortable, we would love to see your masked faces and as we worship together. We will livestream this service as we did on September 13.
October 4 (tentatively) – we will offer our initial indoor worship at 10:00 am in the FLC. The worship space will be open at 9:45 am. This service will either be live-streamed or recorded and posted online as soon as possible.
Health and Safety Protocols
If you are uncomfortable attending in-person gatherings for whatever reason, we understand that this is a personal decision you and your family must make. We do plan to continue live streaming the service.
If you have the following symptoms: cough, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches, loss of sense of smell or taste, or suspect you may have a transmittable illness.
If you have traveled to a high risk area as defined by CDC or if you have been exposed to COVID-19. If you have tested for COVID-19 and do not have a negative test result.
Entrance and Exit
We will enter through the front of the building and exit through the door next to the kitchen (weather permitting). We will provide additional instruction at the end of the service.
Ushers will be available to help you with seating and answer your questions.
Practice social distancing between people of different households by a minimum of six feet.
We will arrange chairs in the FLC to make social distancing straightforward.
We will set up tables for families with children to use since we will not yet provide childcare. Families will need to bring their own materials for their children (e.g. crayons, paper, books, etc.)
We will refrain from physical contact such as shaking hands, passing the peace, and holding hands during the benediction.
Until further notice, we will not have Communion.
Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the facility and we encourage you to use upon entering and exiting.
We will require masks as currently recommended by the CDC for faith communities. We appreciate your understanding; masks will be available if you need one.
Trash cans will be located at the exit area; if you have trash, please properly dispose of it as you exit the area.
Metal chairs will be used; if you need a cushion, please bring it with you. We ask each person (if you are able) to wipe down your area (table/chairs) before you leave. Resources will be provided.
We encourage you to use the bathroom before coming to worship. Bathrooms will be available for emergency use only.
The water fountain will not be available for use.
Offering plates will be placed at the Entrance and Exit areas; they will not be passed. We also encourage you to give electronically at www. weaverfirstumc.org/give or text on your phone any amount to #84321
Contact information will be collected so we can contact you should you inadvertently be exposed to the virus by someone within the congregation. This will be done with visitor cards placed near the offering plate or through our website: https://www.weaverfirstumc.org/contact
We encourage you to either sing while wearing a mask or simply listen to the music and words.
We will ventilate the FLC with ceiling fans while we are worshiping to reduce the density of aerosols that could carry COVID-19.
Worship Service Facility Preparations
The facility will be cleaned prior to each worship service.
Windows and doors will be left open where possible to increase clean air circulation and limit touching of doorknobs. Keep this in mind as you are choosing what to wear.
Signs will be posted around the building to assist in following the health and safety guidance.
We will continue to monitor the number of people gathered and make changes as needed to ensure everyone’s safety. Keith Kilgore, the Family Life Center Director has volunteered to be the Safety Director and will be providing more guidance on different topics as we move forward.
I am extremely grateful for the wisdom and careful leadership of our church council for taking this pandemic seriously in order to love our neighbor and protect the vulnerable. They are faithfully leading us to live within the tension of the three simple rules of the Wesleyan tradition: “Do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God." Church will be a “new normal” for all of us as we move forward. But we can rest our faith and trust in Jesus’ promise: God is with us!
With love in Christ,
Pastor Matt Headley