Protocol for In-Person Worship Outdoors

RedeemerLetter1.pdf
RedeemerLetter2.pdf

Title

Protocol for In-Person Worship Outdoors

Description

Letter from the Redeemer Lutheran Church announcing the opportunity to worship outdoors beginning on July 26, 2020. Protocols for in-person services include social distancing, face masks, and no singing.
A Thompson Free Library patron who is a member of the Redeemer Lutheran Church donated this letter to the archive.

Date

July 15, 2020

Type

Format

PDF

Rights

Creator retains copyright. Item may be used for noncommercial purposes under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.

Text

From the Church Council

Over the past several weeks, the Re-Opening Committee, along with the Worship and Music Committee, have worked on the idea of how we might restart in-person worship at Redeemer. The goal was to identify ways to reduce risk from Covid-19 to offer a reasonably safe place and way to worship in person. We have reviewed information from the CDC, the NE Synod, ELCA, as well as information from the Wisconsin Council of Churches. We have reviewed on-line scientific reports and best practices information. This includes considering the effects of aerosol transmission of the virusl the amount of aerosol produced when speaking, singing, and humming; the level of ventialtion in our church, and the amount of protection different types of masks provide.

For the next several months we believe that our primary way to worship will be an on-line service each Sunday morning. However, we also acknowledge that some members of the congregation want to be able to worship in person at the church. To accomodate this desire, we will be ofering an outside worship opportunity twice a month starting July 26. In-person services will be different than in the past. We will need to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. Because speaking and singing greatly increase the aerosols we all produce, we will not have singing nor unison responses. We will ofer communion using pre-sealed containers that have a wafer and grape juice.

Specific protocols for outside services are listed on the back of this letter--please review. If you have questions regarding why we are recommendin certain practices, please feel free to email Wally Jakubas at ---. He will group your questions into similar themes and will work with Council and Reopening Committee to develop responses to these questions. A question and answer document with the responses to your questions will be sent out. Questions can be directed to Council or the Reopening Committee. If after reading the responses you believe that a particular protocol should be changed, please let a member of the Congregational Council know what you would like to see adjusted.

Without Question there is no 100% safe way to reopen church that guarantees that no one will get Covid-19, but we also believe that the protocols approved by the Congregational Council offer a reasonably low-risk place to worship. Each member of the congregation needs to decide whether they are comfortable attending an in=person service or would rather continue worshipping via the on-line Sunday service.

Over the next months, things will change and new information will become available. The Reopening Committee and the Congregational Council will continue review new information and use it to inform our worship and meeting practices.

Protocol for In-person Worship Outdoors
  • In-person worship will begin with an outside service starting July 26, 2020. Additional in-person services will occur on August 16th, August 30th, and every other week thereafter as weather permits. If inclement weather develops, the in-person service wil not be moved into the church building but will be cancelled. An internet service will be available. The protocol for cancelling outdoor services will be made available to the congregationa as soon as possible.
  • For those who choose not to attend an in-person worship service, a pre-recorded internet service will be provided on YouTube. Live Zoom worship will be held on other Sundays.
  • Please do not attend in-person worship if you have a cold or are not feeling well. 
  • Maintain a minimum of 6 feet of social distance and wear a face mask at all times. It is tempting to relax social distancing when talking to friends--please be vigilant.
  • Please hold conversations outside, rather than inside, of the church building. This will reduce the buildup of aerosols in the building and the chance of aerosol spread of the virus. Conversation produces 10 times the aerosols of normal breathing.
  • Masks and hand sanitizer will be available at the church.
  • The church will maintain a list of those attending a service in the event we need to help with "contact tracing".
  • For the service, please bring your own lawn chair from home and place it on makred areas on the lawn. The markings will assure a minimum of 6 foot spacing for social distancing. Ushers will provide chairs for those people that cannot carry a chair or who did not bring one.
  • During the service, the congregation will not sing or respond in unison. Singing produces 60 times the aerosols as normal breathing; therefore, even singing outside is not recommended.
  • Communion will be celebrated in place, at your seat. Sealed communion cups of grape juice and a wafer can be picked up from a table and taken to your seat prior to the start of the service.
  • At the end of the service, the congregation will leave in a way that maintains 6 feet for social distancing. Masks should be worn until you are well clear of the church service area.
  • At this time, we will not be hosting a coffee or social hour. Exposure risk to the virus increases the more time we spend together.
  • If you need to enter the church to use the bathroom, please go directly to the bathroom. Do not use or enter the church office area or Fellowship Hall. One person at a time in the church bathrooms; please leave the ventilation fan on when you leave. The ventilation fan will remove the aerosols which otherwise could remain airborne a long time. Disinfectant sprays and paper towels will be available in the bathrooms, and hand sanitizers will be outside bathroom doors.
At this time the Reopening Committee feels that there are too many open questions associated with an in-person service inside the church building to recommend that option. We will continue to work to identify safe practices so that we might have an in-person service in the church building as soon as possible.

Collection

Citation

Redeemer Lutheran Church, “Protocol for In-Person Worship Outdoors,” Heart of Maine Community Stories, accessed December 5, 2020, https://heartofmaine.omeka.net/items/show/71.

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