Spring Hill UMC Plan for Returning to In Person Worship.

Edit 1 (May 16, 2020): Changed dates to reflect the State's adding of phase 1.5 and moving phase 3 back.  Current date is June 21, 2020 for reopening.

Edit 2 (June 3, 2020): Changed the dates to reflect new decisions of the Council and Pastor; and changed the instruction on singing.  Also changed language to reflect the Governor handing control back to the counties.

Edit 3 (July 2, 2020): Updated the mask requirements to follow the Governor's Executive Order effective July 3.

Background:

Spring Hill UMC will follow the guidelines of Johnson County

At the time of this discussion, those are guidelines, not rules, laid out in 4 “phases,” which will be rolled out as certain conditions are met.

 

The current plan is that phase 1 began statewide on May 4, phase 2 begins on May 18, phase 3 on June 1, and phase 4 on June 15.  Those dates may be pushed back, but will not be pushed forward.  Johnson county rolled out phase 3 in late May.  Pastor Michael feels comfortable following guidelines for “theaters and indoor leisure venues” in the plan and following guidelines for the number of people gathered, since churches are not specifically mentioned.  

For SHUMC, the guidelines would thus be Closed for phase 1; allowed to open with no more than 30 (socially distant) for phase 2; allowed to open with no more than 90 (socially distant) for phase 3; and allowed to open with unlimited gathering (socially distant) in phase 4.

 

Although there are no requirements from the state for facemasks or hand sanitizer, the Great Plains Conference has recommended having many stations of sanitizer available and to encourage the use of facemasks, as well as many other recommendations.

 

Proposed Spring Hill UMC Plan:

 

Worship:

  • We will remain online only until phase 3 would have originally happened.  This could be pushed back, but we will plan for returning to in-person worship on the June 28, 2020

    • Since gatherings of up to 90 are possible in phase 3, we will have only one worship service at our normal time of 10:45.

  • Masks will be required to be worn by all over the age of 5 (and if possible for under the age of 5 as well.  Masks should not be worn by those under 2). 

    • Several cloth masks have been provided and many disposable masks have been acquired to hand out to guests in need.  

    • Cloth masks that are returned after worship will be washed before the next week.

  • Those showing symptoms will be explicitly requested to stay home.

    • We will continue to provide an online option, either through recording of the Sunday morning service (preferred) or through pre-recording options.  We are exploring options.

  • We will sit 6 feet between families.  This means roping off every other pew and having people sit on the ends of the longer pews or one family per pew on the shorter ones.  If we add chairs below the window and put chairs for at least 4 families in the overflow in place of the tables, I believe we can fit 18 families in our sanctuary.  We also can send the sound into the fellowship hall and put more families down there if needed.

    • Non-household families will be recommended to sit separately, but not required.

    • This should allow for about 36-40 people.  Given that some will want to stay home for a few weeks, this should let us open without turning anyone away.

  • Hymnals and Attendance pads will be removed.  Hymns will be copied and placed in each bulletin.

    • An attendance sheet will be included in the bulletin, which can be put in an attendance plate at the rear of the church upon leaving or left in the pew.

    • Communal singing is an integral part of worship.  However, studies are telling us that singing is a particularly effectve way of spreading COVID-19.  For now, singing will not be done in worship.  Special music will be provided and pre-recorded songs will be listend to in meditation.  This will be re-evaluated as new information comes out.

  • Meet-n-Greet time will be staying in place and waving.  This will be re-evaluated as new information comes out, and is in an effort to maintain 6 feet as much as possible.

 

Sacraments and Food:

  • Communion will be planned for July.  Ushers wearing gloves will pass out a wafer/cut piece of bread, and a cup of grape juice.  Once everyone is back to 6 feet apart, masks will be removed and the Eucharist celebrated.

  • Baptisms will wait when possible.  Professions of faith will be done from the pew if any are desired.

  • 2nd Sunday celebrations will be suspended until further notice.

  • The before church gathering should remain 6 feet apart and it is recommended not to have food.

 

Entering/Exiting:

  • People will enter as they arrive, and the greeter will open the door for new arrivals.  On good weather days the door can be propped open.

  • Hand sanitizer will be available as people enter the room and parishioners will be expected to use some as they enter.

  • The side door next to the bathroom will have a “please use other door” sign and will be treated as an exit only.

  • Bulletins will be placed on the seats before service.

  • Manuscripts of the sermon will also be available, in order to allow the Pastor to wear a mask.

  • Ushers will release attendees by pew, beginning in the back and waiting for 6 feet distance before the next row is released.

    • It is recommended that parking lot conversations maintain 6 feet, but we are not going to try to police the parking lot.

 

Educational Wing:

  • Sunday School will be suspended until August. 

  • The Nursery will be closed during worship.  All toys will be washed/sanitized before reopening in August.

 

Cleaning:

  • Each pew and chair will be cleaned with disinfectant each week.

  • The door handles for all doors will be disinfected each week.

  • Hand sanitizer will be refilled each week.

  • Lysol and disinfectant wipes will be provided in the restroom for cleanliness.

  • Microphones used for prayer request time will be wiped down each week.

  • Typical cleaning will continue as well.

 

Other Gatherings:

  • No outside groups will be allowed to use the building until further notice.

FACEBOOK

GREAT PLAINS CONFERENCE

Service at 10:45 each Sunday

CONTACT US:

T: (913) 592-3660

E: umcspringhill@gmail.com

A: 112 E Nichols St.,

     Spring Hill, KS, 66083

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