Updated: May 12, 2021
As many of you are aware, the pandemic situation is constantly changing. Our state, our country, and indeed our world find themselves right now in a time of great concern. I have been very grateful to the people of FUMC for the responsible ways we have conducted ourselves in making the church as welcoming and comfortable as possible for all people, regardless of how they feel about their own personal risks while also working tirelessly to extend the ministries of the church into the homes of those who cannot risk any public exposure.
Today the official recommendations for public safety actions with regard to COVID-19 were updated substantially, so we are making significant changes to our protocols:
- Youth have been meeting in-person on Wednesday nights and will continue to do so. We are currently continuing to operate these meetings with social distancing and mask requirements in place, as there has not been availability for students under 17 to yet be fully vaccinated.
- Our sanctuary remains open for Sunday morning worship at 10:30 AM. Although an overwhelming majority of the adults in regular attendance have declared themselves to be fully vaccinated, we are aware this is not the case for everyone and that only those seventeen years of age and older have been able to be fully vaccinated at this point. Therefore, in accordance with updated guidelines, we will no longer require face coverings of all individuals. Those who are fully vaccinated may attend worship and other events without masks, although you are certainly welcome to wear one if it makes you more comfortable, and they will be provided at the entrance doors. Those who are not fully vaccinated are asked to continue wearing masks until seated in a socially distanced fashion. Every other pew will no longer be kept closed, but we do ask that those who are not fully vaccinated keep a 6-foot distance between family groups on all sides.
- Although we will still maintain some additional safety protocols, new procedures for the offering of Holy Communion, which will continue to be offered each week during worship, will be implemented beginning May 23, 2021. Additional details will follow soon.
- The church office will be open for in-person visitors, and those who are not fully vaccinated are asked to wear face coverings at all times when in the office spaces or moving throughout the campus. Regardless of vaccination status, all individuals are free to wear face coverings in our facilities without fear of comment, judgement, or harassment.
- Our child care center, Small Blessings, remains open, following very strict protocols for the safety of the children and their caregivers. The center has been reopened to parents, although the doors are kept locked at all times for security. Anyone needing to be in the childcare center is still required to wear a face covering for the protection of children who are not old enough to be vaccinated as well as their families.
- Out of love and concern for those who still cannot be vaccinated or who are awaiting full vaccination, we will continue to offer alternatives in line with our previous protocols for the foreseeable future. Face masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves will continue to be available free of charge to anyone who wishes to use them. An option for individually sealed communion elements to be consumed in the pews will continue to be available. All worship services will continue to be livestreamed through Facebook and YouTube.
Thank you for your assistance and understanding during these difficult times. Please continue to reach out to us if there is anything we can do for you or your family.
This letter is being sent out directly to everyone on our e-mail list. In addition, it will be posted to our facebook page and accessible through the dedicated COVID-19 page on our website at whartonfumc.org/covid.
In the love of Christ,
Rev. Steven C. Newcomb, Sr. Pastor