Church Reopening Guidelines

First United Methodist Church
Face-to-Face Worship Resource Information


Click Here for the Most Recent Letter from the Advisory Team


This information is being shared with you as we prepare for the reopening of face-to-face community and worship.  An advisory team has been working diligently to prepare for our reopening.  Planning for this reopening presents challenges for the church unlike any other.  We understand the importance of creating TRUST and maintaining a sense of SAFETY for deciding whether or not you will choose to attend.  We are committed to honoring the most vulnerable among us with whom we together make up the body of Christ at FUMC

The Apostle Paul described the Body of Christ as having many parts in 1st Corinthians 12.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. (verses 12-14)

God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (verses 12-14, 24-17)

As members together in the body of Christ at First United Methodist Church we offer this to you with the understanding that we have not and will not sidestep CDC Guidelines or other health directives given as important steps for reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Direct person-to-person transmission is the primary means of transmission of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). It is thought to occur through close-range contact, mainly via respiratory droplets; virus released in the respiratory secretions when a person with infection coughs, sneezes, or talks can infect another person if it makes direct contact with the mucous membranes; infection can also occur if a person touches an infected surface and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets typically do not travel more than six feet (about two meters).

Please do not attend church if you have any of these symptoms (even mild symptoms):
Cough
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Fever or chills
Fatigue
Muscle or body aches
Headache
New loss of taste or smell
Sore throat
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
Diarrhea

Also, those who are elderly (in years; not in mind or spirit) and those with underlying health conditions are encouraged to stay home.

Why?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of these symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.  Since some people can have an active virus with mild or no symptoms; you may not know if you have been exposed.

Elderly and those with underlying health conditions are deemed to be at higher risk for contracting the virus and also may have a more severe disease course.

Everyone attending a service of worship will be asked to bring and wear a face mask.

Why?

Face masks are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected but does not have symptoms.

HOWEVER – Face masks should not be placed on children younger than 2 years old.

If you are unable to wear a face mask because you have difficulty breathing, please join us from home in our live streaming service.

We will follow the social distancing guidelines provided by the State and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  That means we will be limited to 60 people attending the 9:00 am contemporary service and 140 people attending the 11:00 am service.  Pews will be marked off and ushers will assist in entrance and exit to promote social distancing. You will need to make a reservation below to attend.

Why?

Social distancing (remaining at least 6 feet apart) is a key tool to decrease the spread of COVID-19.

We will not have bulletins, pass the offering plates, or have hymnals or Bibles available in the pews.

Why?

Per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Guidelines, we need to do everything possible to intensify cleaning and disinfection during this period.

This includes minimizing items touched that could cause cross – contamination and avoiding the use of items that are not easily cleaned, sanitized, or disinfected.

We will be following stringent cleaning and disinfection practices (recommended by the CDC) before and after the services.

We will not have greeters, we will not “pass the peace” and we will resist the urge to shake hands and hug!

Why?

Social distancing (remaining at least 6 feet apart) is a key tool to decrease the spread of COVID-19.

The virus can be spread by touching those unknowingly infected and then touching the mucous membranes on the face (mouth, nose, eyes).

We will not have a choir or a full praise band (only soloists) and we will not sing congregational hymns.

Why?

Out of an abundance of caution!

It has been proven that the virus is spread through respiratory droplet transmission.

We would like to share this thought with you as we close.  It is an adaptation of the article, “Why Reopening a Church is Different” by Reverend Alex Shanks*.

(*Assistant to Bishop Ken Carter, the Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church)

Keep the faith! While we won’t think of everything, we serve a God who is with us now and is calling us into this new reality with hope and confidence.  Our ultimate faith is in God who is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3). …As we reopen our building, may we seek God’s time and not our own.  We follow a God of hope and resurrections that makes all things new.  That is where our ultimate faith abides.  We do all of this so that we might fully love our neighbors as we love ourselves! (Mark 12:31)