The United Methodist Church of Enfield
Tuesday, December 01, 2020
Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.

UMC-Enfield Worship Guidelines for In-Sanctuary Services

The Church Council, along with other interested church members, developed the following guidelines for in-sanctuary worship services in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  The guidelines are based on information from The New England Conference of The United Methodist Church, the State of Connecticut, and the CDC. But above all else, they are based on our desire to care for each other.  As Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthian church so long ago:

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. … If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.  Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Corinthians 12:12, 26-27)

 

Before Entering the Church

 

à Make a self-assessment of your health

Please assess your own health before making a decision to participate in sanctuary worship.  If you have an underlying condition that makes you more vulnerable to the coronavirus, if you are feeling ill, or if you can’t wear a mask because of a health condition, please continue to worship with us online. 

 

à You must wear a mask – no exceptions

Bring a mask and keep it on from the time you exit your car, throughout the worship service, until the time you return to your car.  The mask style must fully cover your nose and your mouth at all times.  A loose bandanna or shirt collar pulled up will not do. Please bring your own mask, as we will only have a limited number of disposable masks available.  This is serious – If someone enters the church and refuses to wear a mask, our district superintendent has told churches in our district to close the worship service and send everyone home.  Worship leaders will wear masks except when they are at least 16 feet away from other people. 

 

à Make a reservation for worship. 

Connecticut requires worship services to limit the number of people to 25% of legal room capacity. For us that means no more than 38 people, including the pastor & music director.  As our average attendance is about 50, it’s important that people make reservations.  You can make a reservation by using the online reservation form located on our website (www.umce.org) or by calling the church (860-745-6241) and leaving a message.  Reservations can be made after 12pm on Sunday for the following Sunday.  (For example, if the next Sunday is August 23, you can make your reservation anytime after 12pm on August 16.) Please make your reservation by 9pm on Fridays. You will receive confirmation by email or phone.  

Be prepared to provide the following information:  name, address, phone number, email (if available), plus names of people in your household or family who will sit with you.  All of this information must be provided even if you are listed in the church directory.  We need the info on forms for future contact tracing should someone become ill with COVID-19.

Your reservation will provide you with a seat, but not a location of your choosing.  To meet physical distancing needs, we can only seat people on the ends of the pews, in every other row.  Ushers will guide you to a pew. Household members will sit together, but people from different households will be guided to separate pews.  Parents and children will be seated together, as there will not be any childcare provided. First-time visitors, with no knowledge of the reservation system, will be accommodated whenever possible.  A limited number of chairs will be available in the narthex for overflow. 

Those who can not be accommodated during one week can be first on the reservation list for the following week.

 

à Please arrive early

The front door will be open by 9:30am.  Arriving early will give you time for the check-in procedure (see below) and to keep your reservation.  People who have not arrived by 9:55am risk losing their reservations. 

 

à Enter through the main door only

For the check in procedure, which will take place in the lobby and narthex, only the main door will be open on Sunday mornings.  The remainder of the church will be closed.  The Education Wing door will be locked – please do not use this door even if you have a key.

 

à Physical distancing at all times

Please line up outside church, 6 feet apart, for the check-in procedure.  We have signs that will help you with this, but by now we should all be able to estimate the length of 6 feet within an inch or two!  In rainy weather people will line up in the hall to the right of the front door.

 

à Take care of personal needs before arriving at the church

Please use your bathroom at home before leaving. Due to sanitation requirements, the men’s and women’s restrooms will be closed.  The handicapped restroom will be available for emergencies only.  As we need to sanitize it between uses, please be respectful of the church member who will have to do this, and take care of your needs before leaving home.

 

 

As You Enter the Church

 

à  Hand sanitizer & temperature check

Ushers (gloved and masked) will provide you with hand sanitizer and check your temperature.  People who have a temperature will need to leave, but will do so with a special blessing. 

 

à Offering basket will be in the narthex

After the check in procedure above, you will be guided to the narthex.  A basket will be available in the narthex for your offering, as we will no longer be passing an offering plate during the worship service.

 

à Prayers and announcements will be collected before the service

Pastor Janet will be in the narthex to collect your prayer concerns and celebrations along with ministry announcements for sharing with the congregation during the service. 

 

 

 

 

à Bulletin will be distributed

A bulletin will be distributed as you enter the service by ushers wearing gloves.  There will be no Bibles, hymnals, or other material in the pew racks.   Please feel free to bring your own Bible, along with a pencil or pen to take notes.

 

à The rest of the church will be closed off

If you have something you need in the other parts of the church, please check with an usher. They will assist you.  Any surface that is touched will need to be sanitized – please do not create more work for our volunteer cleaning crew. 

 

 

During Worship Service

 

à Please remain in the pew

While it’s tempting to visit with each other before the service begins, please resist the temptation.  Also please do not shout a conversation across pews. 

 

à No congregational singing at this time

Singing, even through a mask, can spread droplets carrying the coronavirus both larger and farther than speaking.  Singing has the same effect as coughing.  So for the time being, we will offer other ways to make a joyful noise together in praise of God. 

 

à Holy Communion

We will share in Holy Communion using individual commercially pre-packaged grape juice and wafers.  More information will be given on the days Holy Communion is offered. 

 

 

At the End of the Worship Service

 

à Exit pew by pew to observe physical distancing

At the end of the service, everybody needs to remain in their seats until directed by the ushers.  The ushers will begin with the people at the rear of the church, and progress forward, alternating sides of the church to accommodate physical distancing of 6’. People should exit promptly through the narthex doors and not congregate outside the doors, on the stairs or in the parking lot for conversation.

 

à No Fellowship Hour at this time

Regretfully, we will not be sharing in coffee and goodies in the Fellowship Hall at this time.

 

à If you become ill with COVID-type symptoms within 2 weeks of attending worship, please notify Pastor Janet. 

Even if you are not yet diagnosed, it’s important to let the church know.  Even if you feel ‘fine’ otherwise.  We will work with the proper health authorities to notify other people who attended the same service.  This is the reason why it’s vital to provide your contact information every week – to expedite the process of contact tracing. 

 

 

Revised 10 August 2020