When the original Methodist societies began to meet back in the 1700’s they had no buildings and no COVID-19. But they did have three simple rules to live by. Today, as we try to faithfully respond to the challenges brought about by the pandemic, we seek to balance the challenge of those three simple rules expressed today as:
1) Do no harm.
2) Do good.
3) Stay in love with God.
To do so, we pattern our response based on the guidelines issued by the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, our insurance company and the MN Department of Health. As each church situation is unique–and as the COVID-19 pandemic is constantly changing–we will adapt as needed to protect our community and carry out our mission for Christ. Below are some specifics as they relate to Resurrection UMC.
We are currently in the stage where only groups of 10 or less are encouraged to meet.* Such gatherings are required to maintain social distancing. Groups are still encouraged to gather online or outdoors if possible, however the building will be available for meetings if necessary with the following conditions:
- Group leaders will be responsible for sanitizing surfaces in their meeting area when they are finished using the cleaning supplies and instructions supplied in each room.
- Seating in each room will be limited and designated to maintain a 6-foot social distance. Please take this into account when considering which room to schedule.
- These conditions apply to any group wishing to use the building. Contact Dan Kocher to schedule when needed (Note: multiple groups will not be scheduled to use the building at the same time.)
We will start gathering again in the sanctuary for worship at some point in the near future. When we do we will implement some new protocols to minimize the risk of spreading the virus. Separation and sanitation will be crucial. Below are some expected changes that will allow us to meet in-person. As the situation changes these may be modified, but initially we expect:
- We will continue putting our Sunday services online so that those who are at higher risk and those who are not yet comfortable with larger gatherings can still participate in our
- (over) worship together.Seating will be reduced to provide for social distancing between families.
- Common surfaces will be sanitized after each service (door handles, restrooms, counters, etc.)
- Those who are in high contact positions such as ushers will wear masks. Others are encouraged to wear masks but it is not required.
- All parts of the service that involve multiple people touching objects will be modified or eliminated, e.g. offerings will be placed in a free-standing container instead of in passed offering plates; there will be no handshakes; communion will be modified; folders will not be passed, etc.
- To avoid crowds in hallways, the lobby and at doorways, there will be no coffee fellowship time. The coffee shop will remain closed and persons will be encouraged to leave the building immediately after worship and hold any conversations in the safer outdoors environment.
- Initially there will be no nursery or Sunday school. Those with children are asked to have their children attend with them in worship.
- As singing is an especially effective way to transmit the virus, we will not be standing to join in the songs. Our music will be live with musicians safely distanced from the congregation.
- Each week, worshippers will be asked to let us know ahead of time what service they will be attending by using an online form available on the website and rezNews. This will replace the attendance folder and allow for quick follow-up contact should someone at the service subsequently be found to have COVID-19. (Note: Everyone will still be welcome even if they do not sign up. The service will be shown in the fellowship hall for overflow in the event that attendance exceeds the allowed capacity in the sanctuary.)
As noted previously, all of these responses are subject to change depending on the situation and as more information on best practices becomes available. However, Resurrection Church promises to do its best to do no harm, do good and stay in love with God. May the One who doesn’t change – the eternal God of all creation – bless us and keep us.
*Governor Walz has recently permitted churches to hold worship services indoors as long as social distancing and an appropriate COVID-19 Response Plan is in place and followed, and so long as attendance is no more than 25% of the capacity of the worship space. This applies only to worship services, weddings and funerals. All other meetings including anything with food or drink are still limited to 10. We are studying the feasibility and advisability of large group worship in our sanctuary given these restrictions and will provide adequate notice when we once again move to worship in the sanctuary. Until then we will continue to provide worship exclusively online.