Church Schedule and Ministry Update
The Administrative Councils of both congregations (Community UMC and Grand Avenue UMC) have decided to extend the August building use and worship practices through the month of September.
Both Administrative Councils have looked at the current state of containment and management of the pandemic this month. They have received recent guidance from the Wisconsin Council of Churches and updated advice from the Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church Covid-19 Task Force. They have taken into consideration the risk categories of members, and the current availability of an effective treatment or vaccine. They have noted what the different school districts are doing about in person attendance this Fall and are watching to see how these policies work, how they affect families, and what the consequences are with children gathering indoors in close proximity. They have learned from other congregations in our area who have attempted holding indoor worship in limited numbers with all the necessary precautions. These churches have seen a very small response for in-person indoor worship, usually 10% - 15% of normal attendance prior to the pandemic. They have analyzed the amount of energy and work associated with preparing for and managing safety and liability for indoor in-person worship services. Guidance from experts and best advice from our local church leaders is that it is not time yet. There is so much more we can do outside in ways that are less rigidly controlled.
We want to come back to inside in-person worship as soon as it is possible and in ways that are safe for all our members and constituents. We want people to feel confident and unafraid, and able to focus on worship. We want it to be a worshipful and joyful experience and not another form of trauma. We are developing new and better ways to provide ministry including video options for worship, exploring ways to adapt technology for older members, and finding alternative ways for people to connect with each other.
In September both congregations can and will
Worship in unlimited numbers outside with performance music using social distancing.
Meet small groups inside in a designated room using masks, social distancing, and deep cleaning.
Worship and connect for meetings and small group conversations online.
Stay connected with each other using the telephone.
Read the Bible and pray, remembering that the church is not the building, the church is the people.