COVID 19 Update for April 2021


We continue to undergo changes and tribulation during this Virus. We began to meet again on Palm Sunday. We continue to be proactive by staying on top of this with truths and fielding the myths. Guidance from the Indiana Conference and Governmental Agencies has been easing and leaving decisions left to the individual church. I had discussions with the Church’s Key Four: Rod Dailey PPRC Chair, Mark Thayer Church Council Chair, Andy Hunnicutt Trustee Chair and Ben Miller Church Trustee. We bring this discussion to the Church Council Meeting April 20th after PPRC has tried to contact all the members of the Church for input on possible changes.

  1. We scheduled our first day back to worship in the church March 28, 2021. This was decided by the leadership team to bring this to the Church Council for final approval. This decision was made due to the availability of the Vaccine and the trending downward of positive screens. Mind you, this WILL change if the positivity raises back to 7% for the county of Bartholomew.
  2. At a meeting with the Key 4 more revisions were made regarding the usage of the church considering COVID 19. The church will continue sanitizing before and after every meeting in the church. The health, welfare, and safety of all who come into the building are paramount to us. We have also heard the concerns and wishes of the membership. This is still subject to strengthen or ease as the status of the virus changes.
  3. Groups must police their attendance to stay within the recommended guidelines set forth by Officials and recommendations of the State Health. But also keep with the plan of the Hope United Methodist Church. Our plan was offered to the County of Bartholomew Health Department and submitted to the Indiana Conference of the UMC.
  4. ANY group utilizing the church facilities will be required to sanitize the area/furnishings they use, this includes restrooms. The supplies will be made available by Hope UMC and placed on the cleaning cart located in the storage room for chairs and tables in the Wesley Center. If you use the last of any supplies notify the pastor immediately so that replacements can be made available for the next group. The church will not provide masks or gloves for the use of groups meeting at the church. These supplies are strictly for worship. It is expected that when you come for a group gathering that you have your own mask and/or gloves. The church will have hand sanitizer on the premises at each entrance.
  5. When it comes to committee meetings, it is up to the chairpersons on deciding whether to meet or not. I would suggest that you meet only if you have decisions that need to be made. Meetings will be made available on Zoom as well under the Church’s account for those who are not comfortable in person gatherings. After the meetings, we will need to clean and sanitize the meeting area and restrooms.

FOR WORSHIP

  1. There will no longer be restrictions on entrances to use when coming to worship.
  2. Hand Sanitizer, Masks and a booklet that has the most current information about the virus have been placed in the Narthex, and a wall-mount hand sanitizer unit at the rear door.
  3. A non-touch thermometer is available for use. Temperatures will only be taken upon individual requests.
  4. We will still be wearing masks when entering and exiting the church. Please maintain Social Distancing as you choose your seating in the pews. Respect one another’s space. Ask that you leave and empty pew row between you and person in front/behind of you that will remain corded off. Once in your seats and in a pod, you normally are in you MAY remove your masks. Keep others in mind if you decide to remove your masks. These are still trying times as we continue to ease back into gathering on Sundays.
  5. If someone finds out that after attending worship or a meeting, they have tested positive for COVOD 19. They shall contact the pastor so that those exposed can be informed and be able to go get tested as well. The infected person must isolate themselves and immediate family for the 10 days as directed by CDC and county officials. Those exposed should reframe from attending all activities at the church until tested negative or the ten-day isolation without symptoms.
  6. At the April 21st Church Council meeting, those from the congregation present in person and online vote in a majority to return to singing in worship.
  7. The church is cleaned weekly, Thursday’s focus is on disinfection. We have purchased spray bottles and bleach for the appropriate and safe mixture. We will spray the pews weekly with an anti-microbial through a fogger; however, the virus only has a surface life of 3 days in a dry environment.
  8. We will continue to not pass the plate during the offering. We will still be having time to prayerfully offer to God all our gifts of talent and time, but the plates/baskets will be at the entrance so that you may leave your offering as you come in or leave worship. Dani and Marsha continue to be included in the conversations and you can mail your donations to the church or Marsha. We will continue the agreement with Vanco as a way of an electronic donation from our web page. This is separate from our church accounts, but they do electronically deposit into the appropriate church funds and are completely bonded. They do have the availability to provide information to the treasurer about who donated and if you desire it designated to a particular fund. A report is sent monthly to Marsha.
  9. Communion: we will still have communion; however, it will not be by coming forward to the common loaf or chalice. We will have pre-packaged communion. When we can advance to bread that is pre-cut, separate cups, and each person will be issued a napkin if the status of the virus allows. As you receive communion, open your hands together, you will be given a napkin and the elements will be placed on the napkin for you, which you can go to the altar rail to come before God, yet maintain recommended distancing. A receptacle will be available to dispose of your cups. I will be the only one presenting communion to you and wearing gloves or use hand sanitizer to begin the Lords Supper.
  10. When we dismiss from worship, please re-place your masks.
  11. We are going to continue to transmit worship electronically on Zoom and FaceBook live. If you have an interest or expertise, PLEASE let me know. There are changes that need to happen to enhance the worship experience for those at home.
  12. We NEED every Sunday at least two people to help at each of the two open entrances. To greet and if requested take temperatures/ handout masks as needed. WE need someone else to monitor the Computer to admit anyone who joins on Zoom.
  13. We still need at least two people that can work as a team to make phone calls on those who miss worship to simply check on their welfare and health. Also, these could be additional way members can check-in. Members are more than welcome, to call and check-in with the Pastor. The Pastor will try to make phone calls to congregants. Can we redevelop the phone chain to keep others up to date on things in the church or happenings? If you have internet, please log on to the webpage for continued updates and schedule.
  14. Remember: I encourage you to do what is safe and take the necessary precautions you need for your health and wellness. Also, PLEASE test and challenge the information you see especially on social media!  Much of it is simply distracting and discouraging. Again, for your mental health, measure carefully your intake of such things. However, if you decide to miss Sunday Worship to protect your health, please know that we will certainly miss you, but we know that God calls us to be good stewards of our bodies, and certainly sometimes staying home is the best thing one can do to protect not only your own health, but the health of others.