Grace and peace to each of you,
On June 11, Bishop Carcaño asked each church in the California-Nevada Annual Conference to assemble a small team to evaluate the feasibility of relaunching in-person worship under certain guidelines and restrictions. We were asked to examine the risks and benefits through the lens of John Wesley’s principles for Methodists: Do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God.
Last week, we evaluated the requirements of the published protocol provided by the Conference against the unique needs of our congregation and the required safety measures to ensure a safe in-person service for all worshipers. We determined that it is not feasible to reopen at this time. Our recommendation is to continue online worship services, Bible studies, committee meetings and social hours until such a time as we can safely gather in person.
Listed below are just a few of the items we considered.
- The small size of our Sanctuary would severely limit the number of in-person worshipers who could participate while maintaining social distancing requirements.
- Outdoor services would also be very limited due to the requirements for six feet individual social distancing. Group seating is not allowed in the initial relaunch. Additionally, wearing masks in the extreme summer heat isn’t feasible for our elderly and high risk members.
- The protocol prohibits childcare during worship so families with children would be excluded from in-person worship.
- After-church fellowship and food service are not allowed.
In summary, we do not feel that we can safely reopen at this time without potentially causing harm to our wonderful congregation, our at-risk members, and Pastor Elizabeth. Hence, our recommendation is to remain closed for the foreseeable future. We will continue to evaluate the feasibility of relaunching worship and would love to hear your feedback.
Additional information can be found in the “Relaunching In-Person Worship and Ministry Activities during and following the COVID-19 Pandemic”, accessible via this link: Relaunching InPerson Worship This recommendation comes with love, concern, and care for each of you. Please contact any of us with your additional concerns or feedback.