More About our Sunday Worship
COVID Protocols for Immanuel, effective May 23
On Sunday evening, May 23, the Council of Immanuel met to discuss the lifting and relaxing of COVID related social distancing restrictions we have been practicing in our building. Eight Council members and Pastor Dale were present.
We took into consideration the most recent:
· CDC guidelines on the effectiveness of the vaccines and the newest mask guidelines.
· Dorchester County Health Department reports of active COVID cases, which are going down, and Dorchester County Vaccination rates, which are relatively low (currently below 50%).
· State of Maryland guidelines on social distancing and public gatherings.
· Several other resources regarding singing and virus transmission in closed spaces.
The Council Has voted to:
· Eliminate temperature checks upon entering the building.
· Allow masks to removed while sitting in the pews. They would ask that masks be worn upon entering the building and when not in the pews.
· After much discussion, the Council voted to trust everyone to social distance properly in the pews. We will remove the ribbons and noodles and all pews will open.
· When we have ushers, who are able and willing, we will hand out bulletins personally.
· When we have ushers, who are able and willing, we will collect the offering in the pews.
· The Spiritual Council will discuss the use of Zoom. We will continue its use, but very likely the cameras will be placed differently, and the PowerPoint presentation will be minimized or discontinued, and the screen in the front of the church will be removed.
· When proper supervision is assured, we will allow the nursery to be opened. Currently we recommend, as the schools do, for children 3 years and older to wear masks.
· We will also be anonymously polling worship attendees in the coming weeks regarding their vaccination status. We will be asking those attending worship each week to complete a simple form. It will ask if you are vaccinated, not vaccinated, or if you prefer not to answer. No names will be required, and it will be collected anonymously. This will allow the Council to make more informed decisions regarding our worship.
Finally, despite a great desire to resume singing, the decision to do so, was tabled. Many resources, including our local Health Department describe singing indoors as inherently risky at this time.
Immanuel has maintained a steady and safe presence in the days since COVID came to town and to the best of our knowledge, has not been involved in the spread of the virus. For this the Council and Pastor Dale give thanks and seek to safely return to the full expression of our congregational life.