In-person worship options return on Sunday, October 10.
Thank you for everyone who responded to our recent online poll in regards to returning to in-person, indoor worship. 50% of the 94 respondents indicated that they were “somewhat” or “very” interested in returning to the sanctuary on Sunday mornings, even under COVID safety restrictions. This, along with hearing from many others in the congregation directly, indicated enough interest to resume indoor worship.
Therefore, we will be back in the Sanctuary on October 10 at 10 AM. Facial coverings will be required, as well as physical distancing, no congregational singing, and no indoor social time in the narthex or coffee hour.
However, for the other half of the congregation not interested or “on the fence” about returning, we will not only offer our online live stream on YouTube (available for later viewing as well), but will continue to consider ways to make online worshipers feel personally connected to the service. We encourage you to watch live and check in on the chat feature to make us aware of your presence, share the peace, and offer your prayers of concern and thanksgiving.
A Word on Vaccine Requirements
Another survey question was the issue of comfort level of requiring anyone wanting to attend an indoor service show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. This idea was proposed by our COVID Response Team and had strong support in the poll, with 77% of respondents stating they would be comfortable with such a mandate.
However, it was felt there were non-medical/safety issues to consider before instituting such a policy. Therefore, the idea was brought to the Church Council for further consideration at lasts week’s September meeting. The Council, after a thoughtful and detailed discussion, landed on the following recommendations:
Regarding a requirement that everyone attending in-person worship services provide proof of vaccination before entering the building, the Council recommends that:
We do not institute a mandate at this time. We will continue to pay attention and be responsive to public health guidelines and needs, and may revisit this decision in the future based on that guidance.
We develop thoughtful statements of welcome and care for the health of the community that encourage vaccination and other COVID safety practices. One such statement would ask people who are not vaccinated to join us online for worship.
We clearly communicate protocols for in-person worship services, including masking, social distancing, and refraining from singing.
The COVID team continues to investigate what would be required if we implement a mandate - including how we would enforce that mandate - and report back to the Council.
Thanks to everyone for your continued patience and flexibility as we continue to navigate the rising and falling seas that is church life during a pandemic. Feel free to contact me with any questions in re: Safety Concerns.
TLCS Administrator (firstname.lastname@example.org)