COVID-19 Update 31 May 2020

This information comes from your Session and supersedes what is in the June Voice, which is arriving in mailboxes this week.

The first service together at the church building will be no sooner than July 5.
As we acquire and install the equipment for live-streaming, we will gradually transition from our current practice of staging the service to one which will more closely resemble what will happen when the people gather. The Worship Committee will be responsible for recruiting people to operate the equipment and they will be invited to observe as we transition, in order to become familiar with the equipment.

There will be no group singing for the near future.
When the congregation does gather for worship, we will listen to a soloist who will be placed an appropriate distance from them. Worshipers, wearing masks, may quietly speak or hum hymns with the soloist.

Outdoor events are permitted under the following guidelines:
Only household groups may be together; at least six feet of separation must be maintained otherwise.
Attendees must all wear masks, bandannas, or other facial coverings.
There will be no shared food or beverage.
If the event is an hour or less, the building will remain locked and restrooms are off-limits.
If the event is longer, and restrooms are needed, then the organizers must have volunteers ready to thoroughly clean the restrooms every half hour.
Indoor events continue under the same restrictions as before.
That is, no more than ten persons, six feet of separation maintained, facial coverings required.

Although there has been a gradual downward trend in percentage of positive tests in Douglas County, it is slight and recent. Furthermore, the opening processes in other states (such as Arkansas) appear to have generated an upward trend. So we believe it wise to “wait and see” if the changes in Nebraska’s practices will likewise generate a spike in new cases.

Singing appears to be particularly problematic. It produces six times more droplets than talking, it sends droplets farther (although no one seems to be able to say how much farther; it is more than six feet but less than twenty feet), and singers breathe more deeply, thus increasing the risk of contracting a disease.

The best spaces for gathering are well-ventilated (to fresh air); one factor that greatly contributes to the spread of a virus is air conditioning. The fact that our Sanctuary has no windows and relies entirely on circulated air makes it one of the worst possible spaces.

I am continuing to have “drop-in hours” on Sunday mornings; I unlock the front doors of the Church about 8:30 and I watch the Sunday service about 9:00. A few of you have taken advantage of that opportunity to come by. Also, the Church office remains open its regular hours for any who want to drop by, talk, or just see friendly faces.

Continue to worship with us online and, above all, continue to seek Christ every day, everywhere, and in everyone.

Pastor Bob