To the faith-filled people of Enfield and beyond –
During these past two years, we worked hard as a community to rise to the challenges coming from the COVID-19 pandemic. We followed Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Connecticut state guidelines. We adopted new worship and gathering practices developed by the medical community and recommended by the New England Annual Conference. In every way we knew, we strived to keep the body of Christ represented in the faith community of UMC Enfield healthy. All of our sacrifices led to no known COVID cases transmitted through our faith community. Hallelujah!
Since the beginning of 2022, the number of COVID cases in Enfield and the surrounding communities has dropped significantly. Hospitalizations and deaths related to COVID have also dropped across the state. The CDC county risk assessment for Hartford County has been “green”, meaning “Low” for several weeks. Enfield’s case rate per 100,000 people is “grey” or less than 5 cases per 100,000 people for three weeks.
The Church Council recently revised the community-practice guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as we continue our commitment to care for each other during the ongoing challenge of the pandemic. See the chart below that correlates key COVID spread numbers with worship practices at UMC Enfield. As risks go up and down, the chart outlines the corresponding change in practices. Any change in levels of response will be noted in the weekly newsletter Notes from the Bell Tower.
If the downward trends in numbers continue this week, then our new COVID Mitigation Guidelines will be implemented as of Sunday, April 10 – Palm Sunday. Masks and physical distancing will be optional for all activities in the church including worship, singing, small group meetings and events. Whatever your choice may be, please be respectful of other people’s choices. Continue to ask before sitting next to someone who is not of your household, as you cannot be aware of their health concerns.
Please understand that if COVID statistics begin to rise again, we will change our practices. The chart is a means to communicate these changes in advance. Please contact me or any member of the Church Council – Tom Baziak, Steve Champagne, Lorraine Creedon, Stacey Doucette, Greg Hart, Bruce Martin, Wendy Morse or Linda Thorn with any questions.
As you look ahead to Holy Week, keep in mind that this will be the first Holy Week in three years that the sanctuary has been open for worship services. I strongly encourage you, and quite frankly expect you, to make every effort to be present at as many services as you are able either in person or online. More information about Holy Week is elsewhere in this newsletter. Let’s gather together to hear the amazing story of Christ’s passion for all people, and celebrate the joy of his resurrection.
Peace & grace,
UMC-Enfield COVID-19 Mitigation Guidelines
|COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies|
|Green – Level 1||Orange – Level 2||Red – Level 3|
|Risk Level of Hartford County|
(per CDC metrics**)
|# of Cases / 100,000 in Enfield|
(per CT COVID-19 Data Tracker***)
|<9*||10-14||15 or more|
|Pre-packaged individual||Pre-packaged individual|
|Singing||Yes (masks optional)||Yes (with masks)||Possibly|
|In-Person Groups||Yes (masks optional)||Yes (with masks)||No|
|Refreshments||Yes (masks optional)||Possibly||No|
* The metrics need to be at this lowest level for four weeks before we adopt the COVID-19 mitigation strategies for Green – Level 1.
**CDC looks at the combination of three metrics: new COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population in the past 7 days, the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and total new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past 7 days, to determine the COVID-19 community level. ( https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/community-levels.html ) ***CT Town Case Rate Map shows “Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town” during previous two weeks. (https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/COVID-19-Data-Tracker )