An Updated Regathering Plan: May 2021
by Dennis W. Foust, Senior Minister
As you have heard me quote repeatedly, ‘Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.” This pandemic requires flexibility and our COVID-19 Task Force has sometimes felt like we need the wisdom of Solomon when making decisions for the whole community while considering variations of perspective. As one of our physicians said, “we are a church family and we make decisions that are best for those in our family.”
In all ways, St. John’s seeks to be a community of compassion practicing the teaching of Jesus, “Love one another.” While we celebrate the increased freedoms being enjoyed by those of us who are fully vaccinated, we are also aware that our children (age 11 and younger) cannot be vaccinated as of yet and others of us live with health situations that increase our vulnerability. Caring for the most vulnerable among us is at the heart of God’s Gospel. Therefore, with the information released last week by the Center for Disease Control and by Governor Cooper’s office, our COVID-19 Task Force has updated our St. John’s Regathering Plan to begin our regathering journey in the slow lane. Over time, we will increase our speed (change lanes) as we journey together.
Our changes are:
- We have removed all attendance limits and physical distancing protocols as we begin regathering to worship on June 20.
- We will still register on Realm or call the church office (704.333.5428, ext. 10), prior to each Sunday and then check-in upon arrival using iPad kiosks located outside the sanctuary doors. This helps us with tracking should this be necessary.
- To care for the most vulnerable among us, face coverings will be REQUIRED of all Sunday worshippers, whether fully vaccinated or not fully vaccinated. This protocol will change as more of our members inform us they have been fully vaccinated and as we move toward autumn and vaccines for children become available.
- Staff and worship leaders will model concern for and solidarity with our children (and others) who cannot receive vaccines as of yet by wearing face coverings at all times in worship except when leading our aspect of worship.
- Face coverings will be required at all times for each adult serving in Worship Care for Young Children.
- Face coverings will not be required for outdoor gatherings.
- Face coverings are required for all persons in the buildings while on the ground floor due to the presence of children (Weekday School, Head Start and Freedom School children) who have not yet been able to be vaccinated.
- All groups using or meeting within our facilities (beginning June 1) MUST reserve the space through contacting Jacquelyn McAbee in the church office to assure the space has not already been scheduled (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- With Freedom School using many rooms in our facilities through July, we will delay the optional gathering of Sunday Morning Sunday School Growth Groups until August 1.
- All Sunday Morning Sunday School Ministry Growth Groups will be scheduled to begin gathering on Sunday, September 12.