Worship News The ReOpening Team, carefully considering the health and safety of all, balanced against our congregation’s shared life of worshiping and serving God, proposes: -That online worship be the primary worship option for the foreseeable future; -That beginning October 18, 9:30 AM worship be offered in the sanctuary by reservation, with 50 or fewer in attendance. UPDATE: As of Sunday, December 13, in-person worship in the sanctuary has been POSTPONED until further notice.
We understand that there are many who should not, or do not wish to, gather in person, and so we are committed to continuing a quality online worship experience. For those who choose to worship on-site, once we reopen again, the procedures will be as follows: 1. Please make a reservation by Thursday noon, providing preliminary response to the standard “COVID questions” covering health and travel; 2. Please do not come if you are feeling unwell, or have been with others who are sick or who have tested positive for COVID; 3. Please wear a mask at all times, and remain in your seat (understanding that you will be ushered to your seat, and from your seat at the end of the service). 4. Restroom is available as needed/for emergencies. 5. Humming, or joyful “inward singing in your heart,” will substitute for congregational singing. 6. Supportive gestures from a distance (eg, praying hands, hand on heart, wave) will substitute for shaking hands or hugging.
Your church leadership is committed to providing as safe a space as possible, including:
Having the sanctuary well cleaned before you arrive. A new air purification system has been installed, which purifies the air approximately every 15 minutes, killing mold, bacteria and viruses.
Providing hand sanitizer and spray disinfectant in the building;
Assigning seats appropriately distanced;
Using music that is pre-recorded or performed at a safe distance from congregants;
Fulfilling our responsibility to follow the NYS reopening plan, which is posted on our church bulletin board outside Knight Hall;
Monitoring COVID case levels in our region, and suspending onsite worship as needed to protect public health. As an example, if local public schools are forced to close, onsite worship would also be suspended.
Unfortunately at this time, there are several things we will be unable to do for safety reasons. There will be no shaking hands, hugs or other close contact. There will be no singing or hymnals; words to hymns will be projected so you can follow along. (Humming will be encouraged!). There will be no nursery,, no coffee hour (although the online “coffee hour” will still be held at 11 AM).
If you are still a “go”, please read the following guidelines in addition to above in consideration of and care for others. Thank you!
To Do (once in-person worship is again offered as an option):
Call or email office (518-399-5144 or firstname.lastname@example.org) by Thursday EACH WEEK before noon if you plan to attend the following Sunday. Provide your last name and the first names of those you expect to be with you and a contact phone number. You will receive a return call if you left a message or sent an email. (If your plans change, you may call Libby Horn at 518-698-4043 to check on space available or to cancel.)
Be prepared to answer “COVID questions” about whether you or family members have had symptoms. If any answers to these questions are “yes,” please wait until the end of your quarantine to attend.
Plan to arrive AT LEAST 15 minutes early. Park in main parking lot.
Please use the bathroom before you come. The bathroom near the sanctuary will be available in emergency. Use electric door openers with elbow going in and coming out. One person at a time in restroom unless related. Wash hands for 20 seconds. Please spray all surfaces touched with Lysol, before you leave the restroom.
Be aware of surroundings when leaving vehicle and returning; “wait your turn” to maintain social distancing.
There will be stations near the front door for sign-in. Be prepared to answer again the COVID questions on the laminated sheet on the table for all in your party. Use hand sanitizer if needed. Wait outside until you are invited in, one party at a time. Put your offering in the designated container (In-person offerings will be deposited in the safe) – or continue to mail your offering. Pick up your own bulletin. Your party will be seated together. Expect dismissal will take as long as arrival! Please be aware and follow all these instructions and those provided by the Welcoming Team. Our volunteers are trained to assist you. They are using the guidelines we are required to follow. Please respect them and thank them for their service to our congregation.
Group Leader? Planning a meeting? Further information for leaders of groups meeting in church building Team chairs, please remember: 1. Please schedule Knight Hall with the church office. 2. Ask your group members to sign in AT YOUR MEETING, not at the back door, where bottlenecks can occur. Gather a roster of ALL in attendance, including phone numbers, and provide a copy for the church office. 3. Read to your group members the “Covid questions” (laminated copy available in Knight Hall); anyone who cannot answer “no” to the screening questions should be encouraged not to be present that day. 4. Sanitize chairs, tables, doorhandles after use; a bucket of supplies and instructions are provided in Knight Hall. Thank you! It is wonderful to see your (masked, but lovely) faces!
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. 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:
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.
Knight Hall will be the only location available for meetings for your group. No more than one group may meet at a time, to avoid overlapping traffic. The number of attendees is limited to 30, if using half of the room, or 50 if using the whole room.
If you have reason to be upstairs in the building, you may see doorknob hangers on classroom doors – these are to signal that the room is unused since its last cleaning. If you have reason to enter/use a closed room (remember, groups are to meet downstairs in Knight Hall!), please flip the door hanger to signal that the room should be re-cleaned.
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.