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. 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. Thank you for your cooperation. Let us work together to remain welcoming and supportive to one another while guarding the health of all.
Congregation Information For Outdoor Worship As most of you may know, we are moving to outdoors for Sunday worship at 9:30 for the summer. (The prerecorded version of service will continue to be available each Sunday.) You will not need to make a reservation to attend outdoor worship!
Your church will make no distinctions between vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals. We are aware that many have been vaccinated, but others have not, or may be unable to take the vaccine. Therefore, we will continue to seek the well-being of all persons in our decision-making.
Plan to arrive AT LEAST 15 minutes early. Please park in the large lot near Route 50. Please leave handicapped parking spaces for those who need them. Bring lawn chairs, a hat, sunscreen. If you have young children, bring your own items for them and do not share with anyone outside your household. Do not bring food as your face covering should stay in place throughout.
We will continue to ask worshipers to sign in, so that we have a record of attendance. (This takes the place of the “red book” attendance pads indoors). No health screening/questions will be needed. Worshipers may choose their own seating location, bearing in mind appropriate space around household groups. Of course, ushers are always willing to help you find and get settled in your seating location. If someone in your group is unvaccinated and would feel safer with significant space around your seating, please allow an usher to help you select a comfortable location on the lawn (or in the sanctuary, when indoors). Please remember that worship is a gathering of vaccinated and unvaccinated persons, coming together as the Body of Christ to worship God. Remember, too, that children – who are so VERY welcome in our midst – are not yet vaccinated, and it is our responsibility to care for the most vulnerable among us. In that spirit, while no mandates are in place, we ask you, and trust you, to care for one another. We request and encourage mask-wearing while arriving, getting to your seat, and interacting with others. Masks may be removed once you are seated, but, if you wish to sing, please put your mask on to do so. In addition to protecting the unvaccinated, we do know of people who have become ill even after being vaccinated, and for this reason we simply ask for a common-sense level of care and caution. There will be no nursery and no coffee hour (nor online coffee hour).
Meetings onsite still need to be scheduled with the church office. Masks are encouraged; see worship section above. The limitation to one group meeting at a time is lifted; there may be more than one meeting, so long as each is properly scheduled and uses the space reserved for them. Entering the building: The rear doors are now unlocked during office hours. Sign-in is still requested, but no health-screening questions will be included. For the moment, expect to find exterior door signs that say: Masks are encouraged, especially for unvaccinated persons. In a spirit of caring for those who are vulnerable, please act in ways that protect the well-being of all.
Zoom will continue to be available for any group that wishes to use it for a meeting or study, or to create hybrid gatherings including remote and on-site participants. The church will maintain the Zoom subscription for the coming year. During the summer, however, Zoom coffee hour will not meet.
Cleaning – building will be regularly cleaned by custodian. Disinfectant spray will continue to be supplied in bathrooms and kitchen. Chairs and tables do not need to be disinfected after meetings. Air cleaning equipment will be used during gatherings in sanctuary or Knight Hall. Food service possibilities are improving, though care is still needed – watch for further news about Community Lunch, LAF and other opportunities. If you’d like to read what our Annual Conference leadership recommends, their guidelines are online at: Church COVID 19 Guidelines | The Upper NY Conference (unyumc.org) . You will note that particular caution is still urged around in-person singing.