Throughout this pandemic, we have been cautious in our responses and always paying attention to the science and the most vulnerable in our community. We have worked toward inclusion in our worship services and prioritized accessibility.
How do we, as a church, navigate these next steps of emergence from the pandemic? We are noticing many different truths: Covid-19 is still with us. We are a highly vaccinated community, experiencing low transmission in our city. We have many vulnerable folks who are an important part of our community. We want to prioritize accessibility and creating safer spaces, and, we have many ways of connecting digitally. Our online ministry is growing. We want to empower each person and family to make the best choices for them. We know some are feeling more cautious, while others are wishing we would take steps to get back to normal.
As we prepare to welcome guests for Christmas, here are our new Covid-19 guidelines:
- NEW: The sanctuary balcony is now mask-optional spaces. Science tells us that with our improved ventilation/filtration, folks choosing to unmask in the balcony will not put those in the main floor of the sanctuary at higher risk of Covid-19 transmission.
- NEW: The lounge is now a mask-optional location. Coffee hour will be offered in the lounge after worship. Please keep food/drink in the lounge, and replace your mask when you exit.
- NEW: The area behind the tech team is the new fragrance-free zone. This had been held in the balcony and is an important way we practice hospitality for different needs. Because we cannot assume that those with fragrance sensibilities will want to sit in a mask-optional area, we are designating a different space in the sanctuary. If you usually wear cologne, perfume, or other scented products and normally sit behind the tech team in the back-pulpit side section please plan to not wear those or sit somewhere else.
- Please remain masked in the main floor of the sanctuary and in the narthex, hallways, bathrooms, the church office, and other spaces.
- Small groups may be mask-optional with consent from all participants. Food and drinks are allowed in small groups. Each ministry may define what size group is considered “small” for the purposes of sharing food and unmasking. Please defer to the most cautious in each group. When possible, we encourage you to make a decision about masking and food prior to the event, and communicate to the participants ahead if time so everyone knows what to expect.
- The library will remain a masked worship-viewing room, with extra filtration, socially distanced seating, and no singing.
- As always, we encourage you to make the choices that feel best for you and your family – including participating online – and to be welcoming of everyone’s boundaries around masking and distancing.
We know the tools for wellness include being vaccinated and fully boosted, testing when needed, and having high-quality masks. We want to support this in the building and at all times. We have upgraded our building air filtration system and have purchased additional portable filters for some spaces as well. Our church has masks and rapid tests available, especially if you’re having trouble finding them or they are too expensive. We can also help you navigate getting a vaccine or getting boosted. Please get the latest Covid-19 booster! Everyone over 5 years of age is eligible, if it’s been 2 months since your previous vaccine dose.
We also want to encourage you to get vaccinated against the flu, to wash your hands regularly and avoid coming to church if you are feeling unwell.
Please reach out and let us know how we can support you. We’re in this together! If you have questions you can reach out to our Covid-19 officer, Kyna Shilling at email@example.com.