The full version of the current Reopening Plan is available through Parishioner Resources, the link to which can be accessed in the body of every issue of the Shepherd's Crook. If you don't currently subscribe, you can do so here.
You can go hunt that down, but maybe you feel you just need the highlights at this point. The Reopening Task Force consists of Paul Dimick, Simon Drake, Karen White, and myself. Following is what we currently envision; we will update this blog as the situation develops.
Before We Reopen
- The re-flooring of our worship space will begin on June 14. The earliest possible Sunday for reopening is June 27. In the meantime, the Good Shepherd office is already open, and other in-person meetings are already taking place.
- The vestry will decide soon on whether to remove four pews (two in the front, three in the back) and replace them with chairs. This is called "Proposal B." The permanent chairs will probably not be here yet when we reopen in person. A team is forming now to research chair options and to give this research to the vestry.
- The vestry will meet on June 15 and vote on whether to complete "Proposal B."
- We could continue to treat everybody as unvaccinated until everybody has the option to be; this would seem to be the most inclusive stance. However, this would severely limit the number of people who can participate in worship at a time. On balance, we decided it is more inclusive to provide options for the vaccinated to sit closer to one another.
- In worship, always expect newcomers. Always assume that somebody present is not yet vaccinated. These measures are in place primarily to protect them and any other people they come into contact with.
- Masks are absolutely required for everyone in Sunday worship, vaccinated or not. Your mask must cover both your mouth and your nose; if not, you are not considered to be wearing one.
- You will have to pre-register for worship and sign a waiver every week. Please make sure before you arrive that neither you nor anybody else in your household has a fever or other symptoms of illness.
- When you arrive, you'll be asked whether you are vaccinated.
- If yes, you will be permitted to sit in the vaccinated section, which begins at the back of the nave going forward.
- If no, you must sit in the unvaccinated section toward the front, where more spacing is provided.
- Anyone who prefers to keep distance, vaccinated or not, may sit in the front where there is more distance provided. One of the benefits this provides is to diminish the distinction between those who are vaccinated and those who are not.
- Hand sanitizer will be generously available, though we understand that touch is not a way the coronavirus typically spreads. We will pass the offering plate; we expect everybody to keep their hands clean.
- Singing will be permitted; remember that we all remain masked. Those who are not yet vaccinated may sing only if they are wearing a three-layer cloth mask or surgical mask.
- When we pass the Peace, we will not shake hands, hug, or touch in any other ways. We can still be warm and welcoming, but we must not be cliquish or exclusive of those who are not yet vaccinated.
- We will reestablish Holy Communion. The priest will consecrate both bread and wine but will be the only one to drink the wine. Those who receive only the bread have received Communion; this has always been the case. Gluten-free wafers will be available as well.
- Godly Play and Childcare will be on hiatus in their previous form until young children can be vaccinated. We will develop other forms of Christian formation with our young people in the meantime.
- Online worship will continue in some form for those who do not or cannot join us in person. The tech team needs to assess whether this can be done with Zoom in the mix, or whether we will simply broadcast a non-interactive video of the service taking place. Stay tuned.
- Our office hours have now resumed, Mondays through Fridays, 9:00 to 12:30. Everyone who enters the building must wear a mask. We are in need of vaccinated helpers to answer the phones and to assist with office work. Please contact Becca DeShaw.
- Our weekday Bible study has resumed on Thursdays beginning May 27 at 10:30 a.m. It will be held in Seaman Hall because that is a larger room. The group has decided that if everybody present is fully vaccinated, nobody needs to feel pressured to wear a mask.
- Now that we have Zoom and know it well, we can continue to use it. Ministry committees are each invited to consider whether your work will be best accomplished in person, or continuing on Zoom.
- Smaller rooms with poorer ventilation include the Sacristy, Vesting Room, Prayer Shawl Room, Copier Room, and the portables. Only one person is allowed in these rooms at a time, or two if they are both vaccinated, and masks must be worn in them at all times.
- Small groups meeting in person are encouraged to meet in the largest space available. If everybody present is vaccinated, the group may decide not to wear masks, but they must gracefully defer to the most cautious person in the room. Remember to book space for your meetings through Becca DeShaw. This includes Zoom meetings; we are considering the Zoom room to be one of our available "spaces" from here on out.
If you still have questions, please direct them to me or to any other member of the Reopening Task Force. Blessings!
- Pastor Josh