Re-opening In Person Church Policy

Purpose:

This document will serve as a place for formulating our process and plan to re-open public worship at West Concord Trinity Lutheran Church. Each of the items is subject to change as more information becomes available and as discussion continues to take place.

The COVID-19 re-opening policy and guidelines will be emailed to the congregation, posted on the web page, and posted on the bulletin board.

Sunday Morning Worship:

  1. The church will first consider the advice of the Governor’s office and SEMN Bishop when determining the timeline of opening. If either recommends closure, we will do so.
  2. The church will consider the availability of sanitizing products (e.g. disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, etc.). If there is still a shortage, and we can’t obtain ample supplies, we will remain closed.
  3. We will ensure that we are not exceeding the number of people allowed in an area as determined by the Governor’s office and SEMN Bishop. Upon initial re-opening, the nursery will be unavailable and we will not offer fellowship following the service.
  4. Cloth masks need to be made available and worn. Exception is people leading worship who are 6 feet away from the closest person.
  5. The pastor will not be greeting before or after worship.
  6. The offering will not be collected by passing the plate.
  7. Communion will temporarily be given in sealed, individualized packets to maximize safety.
  8. We will have collection plates on the table in the back of the sanctuary; the plates will not be passed. Online giving remains an option.
  9. Singing will not take place – instead we will hum with or listen to song leaders.
  10. The service will continue to be made available online.
  11. Pencils, Bibles, and hymnals will be removed from the pews.
  12. Bulletins will be placed in the open pews, except on communion days. On communion days, packets and bulletins will be on a table in the entrance.
  13. Seating will be done in every other pew. Pews not to be used will be roped off. We will dismiss from the back of the church at the end of the service
  14. Exterior & interior doors will be kept open as people are entering and exiting the church.
  15. Following each worship service everyone will be encouraged to leave the building and commence their fellowship time outdoors following social distancing.
  16. We require that people who have a fever, or feel unwell in any way, please stay home. Anyone who shows symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19 within 5 days of attending a service should contact Pastor Chad Christensen to aid in contact tracing.
  17. Attendance will be recorded each week in the event we need to contact individuals.
  18. If someone knows they have been exposed to COVID-19 we require that they stay away from worship and any church activities for two weeks.

 

Congregational Care:

In-person visits by the pastor:  At this time phone calls will be made to parishioners to visit with them. It will be up to each individual to have the pastor visit them in their home or by phone.

Other Things to Consider:

  • Masks will be a requirement in the building at all times whenever more than one person is present. We will have a supply of masks on hand.
  • We will continue to sanitize and clean all publicly open spaces, once per week.
  • Outdoor worship opportunities may happen and we will follow physical distancing rules.
  • The church office will be open only to essential staff (paid and volunteer).
  • Sunday school classes will not begin on the same week as public worship. An announcement will be made from the pulpit, and social media, the week before classes restart.
  • The church will not be actively promoting item donations upon initial reopening (e.g. school supplies, food products, etc.)
  • We will continue to encourage people 65+ and/or with health vulnerabilities to participate from home and will continue offering worship and connection opportunities for them remotely.
  • Non Worship gatherings must be approved (both church and community). Those using the building must disinfect after, open windows if available, and provide a list of those in attendance.
  • Funerals and weddings will follow the guidelines of the Governor’s office, CDC and the Bishop office.
  • Following the state of Minnesota guidelines during this time, worship attendance is limited to 50% in the Sanctuary.