July 26, 2020
Dear Trinity Family,
Since May 25th, the Healthy Church Team, an ad hoc committee at Trinity UMC, has been diligently monitoring the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, reviewing supervisory safety guidance, and assessing a plan to discern how best to bring us together for in-person gatherings at Trinity. Since then, we have developed a plan that abides by specific guidance from the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church, recommendations from National, State, and Local Health authorities, and addresses the needs of our congregation. In the last few weeks, our District Superintendent approved our plan which allows us to move forward with limited in person events at Trinity. Today, we are writing to let you know of two major updates:
- In August, we will be hosting PRAYER AND COMMUNION GATHERINGS on Wednesday evenings. These gatherings will take place each Wednesday in August (starting August 5th) from 8-8:30 PM on Trinity's courtyard (the grassy area between the church and the parsonage).
To ensure the safety of all who gather, we will be following specialized protocol. The Prayer and Communion Gatherings will be limited to 30 participants each Wednesday so we can maintain proper social distancing. Therefore, we encourage members of our congregation to register ahead of time. You can register here!
All participants will also be required to submit a Health Acknowledgment Form. These Health forms will only go to Pastor Grace and ask questions pertaining to COVID-19 symptoms and other risk factors. These forms serve two purposes; to help you self-govern your exposure and to establish a contract tracing mechanism. If you are experiencing symptoms or believe that you may have had exposure to COVID-19, we ask that you remain home and seek medical attention. Our doors remain open to the community and we will reserve a select number for walk up participants (who also must answer a COVID-19 questionnaire before attending).
During these gatherings, everyone must wear a face covering and maintain social distancing throughout. Family members and cohabitants of the same residence (roommates or partners) are not expected to observe social distancing requirements. Please bring your own face covering and personal hand sanitizer. The church office has a limited supply of masks and hand sanitizer available and will only provide them to participant who do not have a face covering or need a replacement during the service.
Several ushers will be available to guide and ensure participants adhere to safety protocol and social distancing requirements. Should any participant refuse to follow safety protocols, then they will be asked to leave. If they refuse to leave, then the service will be terminated.
Please note that these services will be in addition to, not in place of, our regular Sunday worship services.
2. At this time, we are recommending that our Sunday Worship service remain on-line ONLY for the time being.
While we look forward to gathering in person for Sunday worship, we want to ensure the safety of all our worshipers as well as maintain the quality of our worship experience. We will continue to monitor that need and keep you updated as changes occur.
In the meanwhile, we will be focusing on small group gatherings-both in person and virtually-that will be held in addition to worship services. Jesus reminds us that "where two or more are gathered together in my name, I am there among them" (Matthew 18:20) and we look forward to the ways we can gather safely and meaningfully in the weeks and months ahead.
The Healthy Church Team's charter has been to take a deliberate approach to develop plans that places the safety of our congregation at the forefront. Until there is a vaccine to protect us from the COVID-19 virus the nature of how we worshiped will look different. But the nature of why we worship will not change and we will do our very best to keep everyone safe as we return to worship at Trinity.
Thank you for your patience, flexibility, and for doing your part in keeping us safe. I encourage and welcome your feedback on how we can make every event safer.