Return to Public Worship Guidelines Have Been Updated as of August 19, 2020.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

 

 BASCOM UMC RETURN TO PUBLIC WORSHIP GUIDELINES 

Please note that during our August 19, 2020 Administrative Council Meeting the following policy was adapted: 

  • In the event the Seneca County Covid-19 Alert status reaches either the “Red” or “Purple” Alert Stage, Bascom UMC will suspend all in-person services. This suspension will stay in effect until the county has reached an “Orange” Alert status. During this time, virtual worship service will continue to be available on our Facebook and website .

 We recognize and accept that life is not going to return to what it was before COVID-19; therefore, how we live out our mission as the church will not go back to what we have always known. We will continue to change, adapt and develop new ways of being the church.

 Our return to public worship is not, and never should be, based on our own comfort, desires or preferences. It is based on our fulfilling God's mission and purpose for us, which is loving God and loving others. We believe that we are in a moment of the greatest opportunity for evangelism in recent memory. We have abundant opportunities to show those around us, even in the midst of this pandemic, that they are beloved children of God and that we love them. That love can be shown concretely through our following the practices that will best protect one another from this virus. To be faithful, we are called to be willing to do what is best for others, even when it means we must make sacrifices.

 While the State of Ohio remains on Phase One of Responsible RestartOhio, it has opened many businesses and released the social gathering limitation of ten people or less in many situations. With this in mind, after consultation with the district superintendent and our insurance agent, the Bascom UMC leadership team has concurred with returning to communal worship beginning Sunday, June 7. Understanding that not all our congregation will feel comfortable with communal worship, we will continue placing our Sunday Messages and Daily Devotionals on our website and Facebook page. As our new normal continues to manifest itself, the leadership of Bascom UMC will continue to adapt our worship and outreach activities to adjust to the changing environment.

 Guidelines and Considerations:

We will follow the directives and recommendations/orders of Gov. Mike DeWine, Dr. Amy Acton and the Centers for Disease Control. This includes the wearing of masks, safe distancing, size of gathering limitations and so forth.

Any person entering worship in any of the above phases must be asymptomatic. If you do not feel well, please stay at home. Until Phase 3, we are asking that masks be worn by all those in the building. During the worship service, the pastor and liturgist will be removing their masks as there is a twelve- foot separation between the chancel and the first pew.

Worship Guidelines:

Until further notice due to the requirements regarding sanitizing the church building, we will be celebrating communal worship with one combined service at 10:00 AM.

Safe distancing should be practiced in all seating. We will utilize every other pew, creating a six-foot space in front and behind each worshiper.

Families are to sit on each end of pews in order to attain the suggested six-foot suggested social distancing between non-family members. We will be able to utilize both sides of the sanctuary as our center aisle is six-foot wide.

In order to minimize exposure, those attending communal worship are asked to sit in the furthest forward (North) pew available in sanctuary. Upon completion of worship, we are asking those in the furthest back pews to exit the sanctuary first. The pastor and liturgist will enter the chancel by utilizing the basement stairwell to the front of the sanctuary.

Following the guidelines for safe distancing, we should greet one another in ways that acknowledges each other without physically touching. To help make this easier, our recommendation is to avoid the tradition of passing the peace as a part of our worship. 

The pastor and leaders must set the example by following these guidelines. This means that as the pastor greets those in attendance, they must do so while maintaining safe distances and without physically touching the person they are greeting. The pastor must maintain the safe-distancing guidelines and precautions. 

Holy Communion will be celebrated with self-serve blister packs that contain the bread and juice in separate compartments. On Sundays that we celebrate Eucharist, these packets will be spaced out on a table outside the sanctuary.

Any possible baptism celebrations will be structured in a manner that all participants (pastor, candidate(s) or candidate’s parents) concur maintains reasonable safety boundaries. 

Offerings will be placed in the “church” collection reproduction placed inside the sanctuary doors. Offering plates will not be passed from person to person. 

Children's and Adult Sunday Schools are suspended until further notice. Any other small-group gatherings should only be held where all safe-distancing guidelines, including the use of masks, can be practiced. Opportunities to have online Bible studies and online children's Sunday school will be investigated and developed as needed. 

Until further notice responsive reading will not be used in liturgy. For those wishing to sing, masks must without exception be worn in order to minimize the spread of exhaled breath. Because viruses can survive on paper and hard surfaces for hours, the hymnals and pew Bibles have been temporarily removed from the pews. We will utilize our projection systems to display the service’s words and text. 

Bulletins will not be handed out. We will use projector systems, social media, websites and other media for announcements and communications. 

All restrooms are limited to one person in the restroom at a time. Sanitizing products will be placed inside and outside all restrooms; we are asking that door handles, toilet handles, and toilet seats be sanitized after each use.

Narthex water fountain is not available for use.

A masked greeter will stand outside and open the Narthex doors (greeter to remain behind the opened doors) as people enter the church building for worship.  

The pastor, or designate, will keep accurate photographic attendance records in case contact tracing needs to be done. 

We must remember that even smaller groups (10 or fewer) must be aware of space/distance. Room size and ratio are important to consider when reopening buildings.

 The custodian will clean and disinfect thoroughly all spaces used by people after every use. This includes, but is not limited to, door handles, light switches, pews/seats, tables, counter tops and any other surface that is touched by adults or children throughout the building.

 Hand sanitizers and wipes will be readily available in all areas that are open for use.

 The use of Zoom or other communication/meeting online resources will be investigated and developed as needed.

 Leaders will be looked to as examples of how we expect our followers to act. Therefore, it is vitally important for our leaders to follow these guidelines. This gives to us the opportunity to show compassion to our neighbors by maintaining healthy distances and proactive behaviors that will limit the exposure of others to this dangerous virus. The decisions we make must be based on our mission of loving God and loving others.

 Revised August 19, 2020 from May 28, 2020 policy 




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There will be No Sunday School until further notice

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A Blended Worship Service at 10:00 a.m.

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