Moving Forward: Phase III
We are very excited to announce we are expanding in-person offerings at First Pres as the virus continues to subside and government guidance continues to lift public health and safety restrictions. With the safety of you and your family as our chief concern, the plans and protocols for Phase III were developed by the Reopening Recommendations Work Group (RRWG). The recommendations are based on the latest scientific studies and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and supported by staff. Session approved RRWG’s motion to move to Phase III beginning June 1st.
The following principles will guide us as we regather and reconnect this summer:
- We are entering a phase of the pandemic where we must emphasize personal responsibility and trust people to use their best judgment about their participation in church ministry.
- While everyone can be glad about improved conditions with the virus and many are celebrating the lifting of protocols across society, we recognize that some among us feel things are moving too fast and may prefer to continue worshiping virtually, while others may sense reopening is happening too slowly and may prefer to worship in-person.
- We will give grace to each other regarding our personal decisions about masking and other protocols.
- We encourage all who are eligible to get vaccinated. If you need guidance, contact one of our Parish Nurses, Barb or Stacey, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As of June 1st, First Pres will move into Phase III of our Framework for Re-Entry to Our Church Building.
What is Phase III?
- expands in-person opportunities to be together as a church community, indoors and outside,
- increases capacity so larger groups can meet, and
- relaxes protocols for wearing masks and some social distancing measures for fully vaccinated persons.
The summer gives all of us time to gradually adjust to this new way of living until the virus further subsides and we ramp up to further opportunities this fall..
Expanded In-Person Opportunities:
- All-Church Picnic (Outdoors - masks optional)
- Jazz Worship Services (Outdoors - masks optional)
- Vacation Bible School
- Taize Worship Services
- From 70 congregants to up to 90 congregants in our Sanctuary by the end of June, with probable further expansion
- For fully vaccinated groups, some spaces will be available for larger groups
- More large group gatherings of our ministry, either outside on church grounds or inside our building
Relaxed Social Distancing Guidelines:
- For outdoor events, masks are optional
- For indoor events masks are optional ONLY for fully vaccinated persons. Unvaccinated persons must still wear a mask when indoors.
We are continuing to evaluate the latest CDC recommendations about social distancing, cleaning, touching surfaces, air quality, food, etc. to further expand in-person opportunities.
Expected Next Steps:
- Eventually reducing social distance spacing, especially for fully vaccinated persons
- Relaxed Social Distancing measures for those fully vaccinated
- In-Person Choir for Fully Vaccinated Persons
- Return to Congregational Singing
What is NOT Changing?
Everyone is still welcome to the church and to be a part of this church family whatever their comfort level with the viral conditions. While we welcome you back to the building, please note:
- We are still asking everyone to call the church office ahead of time or email the person on staff with whom you would like to see to set up an appointment or timeframe for your visit.
- You will still be asked to sign-in at the Welcome Center, at least for now. Reserving space still goes through our website using these links: Event/Meeting Request Form and Event/Meeting Work Order.
- Reduced Church Office Hours will be maintained for most of the summer, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday - Thursday, to allow for our staff to take vacation and to better handle soon-to-be-filled vacancies.
What does this mean for me and my family?
You will have additional options to be in-person with other church members, if you choose to do so. If anyone in your family is fully vaccinated, they will be able to participate without a mask, if they so choose. For those who are not fully vaccinated and over 2 years of age, continue to wear a mask and follow all other social distancing guidelines.
In addition to these expanded in-person options, you will still be able to connect virtually:
- Livestreaming of all worship services in the sanctuary will continue on YouTube and Facebook
- Many Adult Ed offerings will be done virtually
- Many Congregational Meetings will still be done virtually until more persons are fully vaccinated.