When will we get together again? It is certain that we will continue with online worship services until we can ascertain a good probability of safety to use the sanctuary.
You are loved. You are missed. We continue to care for one another and to be the church together.
Update: May 27, 2020 (continue to scroll down the page for more recent updates) Guidance and Protocols from the BHUMC Re-opening Task Force
The pastors have convened a team of leaders to address the steps needed toward re-opening the building for meetings and gatherings, and eventually, when safe, for worship. This task force is meeting regularly, and carefully studying recommendations and practices from our denominational authorities, as well as from county and state health agencies.
The team affirms that the life of this church has been accessible and responsive during this pandemic, with worship, study, prayer and fellowship continuing and growing. We are grateful that congregation members are reaching out to care for one another in many ways.
The team intends our building to be truly a sanctuary, a place where soul and body are respected, nurtured, and kept safe. Therefore, in order to guard the health of church staff and church members, the re-opening task force has put in place some protocols for use of the building. We understand that these practices are new, and here is why: As people stop isolating and begin to interact more, there will be increased potential for infection. We provide these protocols for the safety of all:
There will be no meetings scheduled inside the building at this time. We are working and praying toward safe gatherings in the future.
Your voice and thoughts are desired but for now, please rely on telephone, electronic or written communications in reaching out to staff and fellow church members.
If you need something that requires entering the church, please call first to make an appointment.
The building will have one entrance, which is the door nearest to the Administrative Office. (Any key currently in your possession will only work at this one entrance.)
Please do not visit the church building if you are ill. Take your temperature before you arrive to be certain it is normal. Be prepared to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth while you are in the building. Your hands should be washed thoroughly before you arrive and, as necessary, use hand sanitizers as you progress through the building.
There will be cleaning products on hand, to spray any surfaces you have touched which could be likely to serve as “transfer” points (bathroom faucets, door handles etc.)
Everyone must sign in upon entering the building. You will enter your name, the date, the time of entry, the purpose and destination of your visit and the time you leave. You will be expected to respond by checking a box about the current status of your health. This may sound invasive, but it will be important to track what spaces are being used so they may be cleaned thoroughly. Also, this information will aid any tracking of the Covid-19 virus that could be required by the State or County.
Enter any space respectfully by staying six feet away from other persons. As much as possible, do not touch surfaces. Keep your mask in place and do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands.
Thank you for your cooperation. These directives may seem burdensome, but they are a burden we all commit to share. Let us work together to remain welcoming and supportive to one another while guarding the health of all.
Update: June 3, 2020 Our region is now in Phase 2 of reopening in New York State. With “Do No Harm” as a primary value, the BHUMC team is meeting and planning for safe and caring ways that we can BE church together. At this time, we are able to make the COURTYARD outdoor space available to groups of 10 or fewer for outdoor meetings. A tent will be set up there, as is typically done in the summer, to shelter from rain and sun. Here are the guidelines for church committees or groups using this courtyard space: - Groups of 10 or fewer persons - Please call and schedule ahead with office - 0utdoor use only (anyone needing to enter building please use rear door and sign in and follow protocols) - Please bring your own chairs if possible - Participants should bring and wear facemasks (group chair can obtain masks from office for any who cannot bring their own) -Participants please self-screen for fever and refrain from coming if you have been near someone who is positive for COVID; - Group chair must fill out attendance sheet and submit to office. Group chair is asked to notify church office if any group member becomes ill after being in a group setting at BHUMC.
Please understand that your church leaders are responsible for protocols of reporting, distancing, communicating, and cleaning. During stage 2, we are limited to groups smaller than 10, and challenged to fulfill certain cleaning protocols which are not easy. Anyone who wishes to inform themselves further may visit https://forward.ny.gov/ - the code for religious organizations is 813110.
Update: June 18, 2020 As our state moves into Phase 3 of Re-opening, many people are no doubt wondering, when will our church begin to hold worship services and meetings? Be assured that we all look forward to that time, and church leaders are meeting weekly via Zoom to thoroughly discuss and consider the safest and healthiest way for this to happen. We all value the importance of being well informed, following state mandates and the Centers for Disease Control guidelines. To adapt to this “new normal”, the custodian, as well as any of us using the building, will have increased cleaning responsibilities. Guidelines are being established for all to follow and necessary supplies are on order (though some are difficult to obtain). As announced recently, outdoor meetings of up to ten people can be held in the courtyard tent. Please schedule with the church office, bring chairs and masks, and submit attendance list. We are aware that not all members are able to access the worship services that our Pastors and worship team create and upload onto YouTube each week. Our team is concerned about this, and we are exploring ways to provide viewing opportunities to those who may not have computer connectivity at home. We are thankful for all the ways you all have reached out to stay connected with one another during these weeks of change and disruption. Please know that we are working hard to envision the best way to move forward, and we welcome input and questions. BHUMC is so blessed to have such caring and devoted Pastors and staff. Let us pray for our congregation and staff, and for the hope of better times ahead.
Update: July 3, 2020 BHUMC leadership continues to be guided by the principle, “do no harm,” prioritizing our congregation’s health and safety, as the re-opening team researches and plans. The following article from umc.org describes some of the concerns that need to be addressed, and steps that will be part of returning, whenever that happens. Please remember, we cannot immediately go back to “how things were,” especially in relation to singing, sharing food and fellowship, and touching/hugging/greeting. https://www.umc.org/en/content/going-back-to-church-what-to-expect