The Re-Entering Well Team is comprised of staff & lay leaders committed to helping St. Paul's community re-enter our physical space and re-engage in activities using defined safety practices. The goal is to minimize the risk of exposing our community to covid-19. Members of the Re-Entering Well Team are: Rev. Dr. Pat Allen, Nathan Bazawada, Dr. Hal Frazier, Tracey Furman, Marge Higgins, Steve Lillie, Rev. Kate Mackereth Fulton, Phil Rush, Erin Steele, and Laura Tribble.
Re-Entering Updates: Worship
We continue to monitor and respond to the changing public health situation caused by covid-19, and the rules and guidelines provided by Montgomery County. Montgomery County officials also acknowledge that businesses, agencies, and institutions may impose their own restrictions beyond those determined by county agencies.
To date we have worshipped in person, with worship services indoors, without incident of exposure (primary or secondary). The total average attendance for our Sunday in-person worship has been about 100, allowing for ample distancing. Anecdotal conversations with members who have not been in attendance disclose personal reservations about returning whether due to (among other reasons) changing virus variants, immune-compromised family members, or children too young to be vaccinated. Additionally, some ministries and committees have disclosed their preferences to continue meeting online even if able to return to full in-person meetings.
The Re-Entering Well committee has approved the following steps toward full re-entrance into worship and office hours.
Masks will be worn during worship and during any events involving children. Please see additional worship-related protocols in the section below.
All fully vaccinated staff members and regularly-scheduled volunteers may be unmasked while in their respective offices and work spaces. Masks will be worn when other persons are present, or when social distancing is not possible.
We are currently limiting indoor activities that involve snacks or meals. Small groups may choose to offer food but large, open, or public events with food have not resumed. Children's activities will also not involve consuming food indoors since that would compromise masking among populations that may not be vaccine-eligible.
Small groups may submit proposals including food and drink but should either plan for individuals to brown-bag their own meals, or should have designated masked-and-gloved servers handing out plates and pouring drinks. (No self-serve/buffet style meals allowed.) Outdoor spaces are also available.
For all WORSHIP SERVICES (Sunday, baptisms, funerals, or weddings) in the Sanctuary or Chapel:
Beginning with Sunday April 3, 2022 the following Re-Entering Protocols will be implemented:
- Sign-in at the door for worship will be discontinued. Sign-in for worship will be managed using the attendance pads in the pews. Groups that are meeting must maintain a sign-in list in some format.
- All those attending worship must remain masked, covering mouth and nose, at all times.
- Bibles, Hymnals, Prayer Request Cards, and Attendance Pads will be returned to the pews.
- Singing while masked will be allowed. The Sanctuary Choir will lead music during the 10:30 service.
- Communion will continue to use the all-in-one element packets. These may be consumed in the Sanctuary or taken home to be consumed there.
- Blank offering envelopes will be available at the welcome desk. Offering Plates will continue to be placed at the Sanctuary doors for offerings.
- You will still need to enter and exit as directed, and take your worship bulletins and all other materials with you.
- We will continue to live stream our 10:30am service.
- St. Paul’s hopes all who are able to be vaccinated against covid-19 will demonstrate Christ-like love for themselves and their neighbors by receiving the vaccine.
- Coffee Hour and fellowship time will be held outdoors.
- In addition to following covid-related best practices, our worship and fellowship opportunities will adapt to the demands of our building renovation expected to last throughout summer 2022.
Additional issues will be revisited and addressed in the coming months.
Additionally, the Re-Entering Well Team continues to encourage the leaders & coordinators of ministries of the church as well as those outside groups regularly using the facilities of St. Paul’s, to contact us to discuss re-entering and to submit written proposals for how they are prepared to adhere to the guidelines and restrictions. Questions about our re-entering may be directed to the Re-Entering Well Team via firstname.lastname@example.org.