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COVID Changes to Sunday Worship

COVID Changes to Sunday Worship

This is just another step toward being back together in old and new ways for worship, ministry, sharing, learning, and serving as Christ’s body, the Church!

by Jim Wishmyer on June 03, 2021

LUMC Post-COVID Recovery Policy - Worship/Ministry Activities For Summer 2021

Worship with us each Sunday this summer in-person or via livestream at 11 a.m.!

I am extremely grateful to our Church Leadership Team (CLT), who has just approved our new policy regarding in-person worship and ministry activities. With the sudden changes to the COVID-safe guidelines mid-May, we felt the ripple effect through our state policies, and on to our United Methodist Church, and then to our local church. Our newly formed Post-COVID Recovery Group (PRG) that replaces our Healthy Church Team, along with our CLT, have wrestled with how to balance the yearning of many to experience in-person worship without restrictions with the imperative to do no harm and care for the vulnerable among us. As you might guess, our congregation and our leadership team have perspectives that span the spectrum of what we now can do, or should do. We believe that our LUMC approved policy (6/4/21 Post-Covid Recovery Policy   -  Mitigation Assistance Plan) is a positive step in the right direction for our congregation. It does not answer all of the questions we have, but it is a start. As we move from policy to practice, you will discover that many restrictions have gone away for those who are fully-vaccinated; and have been eased even for those who not yet vaccinated. Things that for the past 14 months were required – such as pre-registration for worship and other activities – now are either simply encouraged or they are no more.

Over the past 14 ½ months we have learned much and experienced several serendipities that we hope will continue. One of these has come through the use of the in-person check-in. We now have one or two members outside the building welcoming our worshipers! This has served not only to provide a cheerful greeting to all who come, it has also borne witness to passers by. Thank you, to our loyal servants who have been here week after week to greet, welcome, and check people in. We’d like to continue this check-in feature even though beyond capturing each person’s name and some contact information, all else is optional.

So, take a look at the policy while keeping in mind that this is a living document, continuing to be revised and will go through updates throughout the summer. Stay tuned. And, if you have questions about the policy, please address them to me, or to Angela Becek, or to Stephanie Konkus.

Wrapping up, here are some key changes to what we have been doing to keep everyone safe:

  1. Fully vaccinated persons do not have to wear a mask or practice physical distancing, indoors or outdoors.
  2. Fully vaccinated persons can sing indoors and outdoors without masks.
  3. Non-vaccinated persons can sing while wearing a mask.
  4. Non-vaccinated persons do have to wear a mask indoors; but not outdoors.
  5. Non-vaccinated persons should still practice physical distancing indoors.
  6. While not required, we do encourage persons to pre-register for worship each week.
  7. VBS and SPY will also have pre-registration.
  8. We are trusting in each person’s honesty and integrity when it comes to having been vaccinated. The question in our pre-registration about vaccination is entirely optional and no one will be turned away or excluded if they choose not to answer the question. No one will be verifying; no one will be watching to see who is wearing a mask and who is not.
  9. Realizing that we do have church members who may still want to practice physical distancing, we will continue to have a section of our sanctuary set up to facilitate physical distancing.

I am sure that all of this information leads to numerous questions. Please feel free to reach out. And, as a reminder that this is just another step toward being back together in old and new ways for worship, ministry, sharing, learning, and serving as Christ’s body, the Church!

Tags: church, christian, downtown, virginia, united methodist church, methodist, christian church, leesburg, covid-19, covid

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