COVID-19 Response

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In-Person Worship Update- October 29, 2020

Friends,
We continue to find ourselves in the liminal or “in-between” space of the long journey of the pandemic. I’m so grateful for your flexibility over the past few months, your prayers, your faithful engagement in our modified life together, and your ongoing generous financial support that has allowed us to continue to meet all our expenses.
 
It appears we still have several miles left in this pandemic marathon, but we are not running it alone! We are still the church and God is still at work in and through us! We still have the gift of one another to walk together, even in modified ways.
 
I wanted to update you on our worship plan for November and going forward. Parts of the plan were discussed in the Zoom Board Meeting last week and the total plan was finalized last night when the Board Executive Committee met via Zoom.
 
Worship Plan
We’ll continue dual sanctuary (10:00 a.m.) and outdoor worship services (11:00 a.m.) through Sunday, November 15. Due to increasingly cooler weather, on Sunday, November 22, we’ll transition to just one service in the sanctuary at 11:00 a.m. (Our current sanctuary service attendance is less than half of our COVID capacity, so we anticipate one service will be sufficient.) We’ll continue to livestream the sanctuary service each week. All our current precautions will continue to be in place for worship services and our services will continue to be abbreviated (30-35 minutes) to minimize time together in the building. You are still asked to sign-up in advance if you plan to attend so we can monitor seating capacity. You can do so by calling the church office at 502-863-2049 or using the online sign-up form at: https://forms.gle/vrXCitSWmEsm8vs39
 
Other meetings/groups:
We’ll continue to use the fellowship hall as the meeting space/option for smaller groups in the building who opt for in-person over meeting online. Those groups should be masked & distanced at all times, no food involved in meetings, and groups will need to wipe down the tables and chairs and other common surfaces that were used. Any use of the space needs to be coordinated through the church office and is dependent upon both space availability and our ability to adequately clean the space in between use.
 
Responding to elevated case counts:
The next few months will likely require a fair amount of flexibility, as case counts are expected to rise at various points due to a number of factors. One of our underlying principles in our response to COVID-19 has been our God-given call to love our neighbors as ourselves, in this case by helping mitigate the spread of the virus. With that in mind, we will be taking the following approach to elevated counts:

  1. We will check the Team Kentucky COVID-19 page (the state government page) each Wednesday evening to see the status of Scott County. If we are in the “red” zone for elevated case counts (which is based on case count pro-rated per 100,000 people, 7-day average), we will cancel all in-person worship, meetings, and groups through the next week. A pre-recorded worship video will be made available for that weekend and we’ll offer a live time of prayer and communion at 11:00 a.m. that Sunday on Zoom. We have a good plan for precautions in worship, but taking this step is our being a part of a larger community effort to decrease elevated numbers. The recommendation from the state level is that people check the status on Thursdays and if they are in a red county, to make adjustments for the following week. We’ve shifted our own time-frame to Wednesdays so that we have adequate time to communicate, adjust worship plans, record the worship video, etc.
  2. Communication: You’ll receive an e-mail on Thursday morning of each week with the status of in-person worship and other events. We’ll also communicate the status of Sunday worship each week through Facebook posts, updated status on the church website, and in the event of a worship service cancellation, the church office will directly contact anyone currently signed up for that service by phone/text. 
  3. Provided Scott County is not still in the “red” on the following Wednesday, worship and smaller groups can resume in the building. If we are still in the “red”, we’ll cancel for an additional week. We’ll be taking this on a week-by-week basis for the foreseeable future. This will require some flexibility and intentional communication, but this is what loving our neighbors in this stage of the pandemic requires of us.
  4. It’s very possible the next few months will include some back and forth in terms of in-person options, both here and in other places such as schools. This adds an added layer of adjustment and vigilance, but we want to love our neighbors both within the congregation and in our larger Scott County community.

Again, we appreciate the flexibility you’ve already shown. “We are still the church!” has been my constant refrain since March and will continue in the months ahead. As we’ve been exploring in worship, “in-between” spaces are often difficult places to be, but they are also full of possibility for transformation as well. May we be open to all that God is doing in and through us, both now and in the next steps of our journey together.
 
If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please feel free to contact me at chriscashky@gmail.com or or Barb Southworth, board chair, at brgsouthworth@gmail.com.
Grace and peace,
Chris