In conversation with recommendations from the synod, the state, our insurance company, an excellent video by Dr. Osterholm, and members of First Lutheran we offer the following plan for our ministry this summer. We hold in tension the priorities of health, spiritual nourishment, and the mission to equip our members to be fully committed followers of Jesus. While this is our plan, we recognize that facts on the ground may change and so we reserve the right to adapt to meet new challenges. Our primary motivation continues to be the greatest commandment given to us by our Lord Jesus, that we would love one another as Christ has loved us.
This virus is deadly. It is now the number one cause of death in the United States. It is spread primarily through aerosols (think the dust particles you see when sunlight streams through a window). The most dangerous place to be is indoors with a crowd of people. Masks, handwashing, and physical distancing are the best ways to prevent infection. With all that in mind your council, pastors and staff have developed the following plan for the summer. We recognize that summer may be a lull in the virus’s spread and that the fall may lead to increases that will require us to adjust our plan accordingly.
- We will hold a monthly outdoor communion service.
a. Wednesday – June 17, July 15 & August 12 , 9 am, 12 pm & 6 pm
b. It is possible to hold 100 people socially distanced on the south two sections of the front lawn. The service will be very short: a reading a word, prayers, some music, and holy communion. (30 minute service +distribution).
c. This is an experiment.
d. Masks will be required; chairs will be set up following physical distancing requirements.
e. Those who are sick or particularly vulnerable should not attend.
f. If the weather is unsuitable, we will reschedule.
g. Please let us know that you plan to attend either via the connection card or a phone call to the church office, so we know how many to set up for.
- We will open our building to 12-step groups. We will require that they wear masks and maintain physical distancing as well as sanitize the room upon their departure. Most 12-step groups will meet in Luther Hall.
- Small church groups of ten or fewer are welcome to resume meeting in the church building.
a. One group per level of the building may meet at a time – Gathering Place and Fireside Room for instance.
b. No card groups may meet; they are not able to socially distance and the shared cards create a possibility for contamination and spread.
c. All groups shall wear masks and socially distance.
d. The leader of the group will write down names and phone numbers to assist with contact tracing in case that becomes necessary.
e. The church will not provide coffee service; no shared food or drinks in groups are permitted.
f. Groups will be asked to sanitize upon leaving, and supplies will be made available.
g. Members of the group will be asked to wear masks, remain six feet apart, and sanitize the room before leaving.
h. Groups larger than 10 may meet outdoors with permission of pastors.
- We will continue to provide online Sunday worship services in lieu of physically gathering for worship on Sundays. We are following the Synod recommendation to refrain until at least August 31st. Council will continue to monitor conditions and evaluate our response.
- Summer Online Sunday School
a. Begins on June 7th and will continue through August 16th
b. All classes (K-12) will follow the summer sermon series.
c. Pastors will create a “Questions/Prompts for the Home” to go with the message and reading for that day. Youth staff could also create a craft or project to do at home.
d. Elementary Sunday School classes will meet via Zoom on Sundays at 10 am, 11 am, and 6 pm. Middle School Youth Group meets at 4 pm and High School at 5 pm.
- Youth Groups
a. Groups of less than ten, with permission from parents will meet outside, socially distanced with masks a few times a month, perhaps even weekly. Hula Hoops to be used for protecting personal space. “Hula Hoop Huddles” will be especially aimed at middle school age youth.
b. Hiking in small groups of less than ten is permitted for high school youth, with their parents’ permission. Masks are to be worn, social distancing practiced. Families must provide their own transportation to and from trailhead.
c. There will be no mission trip. We will re-evaluate any type of service project in mid-July.
Very thorough and understandable.
Thank you for the information for Summer COVID-19. Easily understood and very thorough.
This seems like a reasonable plan – taking into account advised precautions as well as our need to worship, as best we can, in community. It will be interesting to see how the incidence of the disease responds throughout the summer.