- Neighborhood Ministries
- First Steps Preschool
- Small support-related groups
- Planning for future worship
Each of the first three areas of discussion represent outreach activities of our church. These are areas that serve our community beyond the walls of the church, and some church members as well. Our priority has been to open these outreach functions first.
A. Neighborhood Ministries – the reopening committee for Neighborhood Ministries has prepared a detailed plan for restarting their Summer Camp activities on Monday, July 6
. This plan includes complying with CDC youth and summer camp guidelines. Sean Hults, our director, emphasized that he is comfortable with the reopening plan and that he believes it can be fully implemented to ensure the safety of participants and staff to the greatest practical extent. That said, he reminded the Executive Committee that no plan is without risk of incident, so the possibility that there could be COVID-19 exposure and how to deal with that are part of the plan. Communication to parents regarding camp procedures and risks are a specific aspect of the reopening plan.
The Executive Committee voted to approve reopening summer camp activities on July 6
Sean also asked that we take specific action regarding field trips requiring bus transportation. Maintaining social distancing will require three large busses, a significant added expense. Bus sanitation will be difficult. After consideration, the Executive Committee voted not to do field trips requiring bus transportation. Walking field trips to nearby locations remain a viable option.
The summer feeding program for children, operated in conjunction with the Polk County School Board, began distribution of meals on Monday, June 8
B. First Steps Preschool – Cherry McClellan presented the reopening plan prepared by that reopening committee. The plan was developed using the guidelines of the Florida Department of Children and Families, the CDC, and the United Methodist Church Strategic Planning Committee. Staff and parents will be notified of reopening procedures and will be required to provide written consent. Staff will be engaged in two weeks of “dry run” training prior to reopening. A start date in early July is the present objective.
The Executive Committee voted to approve the First Steps Preschool reopening plan. Note that this will include meal service with food prepared in the Church Kitchen.
C. Small Support Related Groups – a third reopening committee has prepared a “template” to be used by small groups engaged in community outreach. Such groups include local feeding programs (Kids Pack, Mulberry Food Bank), Children’s Clothes Closet, Tuesday Tigers, AA, NA, grief support, and other similar groups. Each group will prepare a plan specific to their activities and complying with the general requirements of the “template”. Plans will be approved by church leadership (Church Council Chair and Vice Chair, Senior Pastor, Facilities Manager, and Church Administrator).
The Executive Committee voted to approve the Small Group reopening plan.
D. Mike Stasiak, Kitchen Manager brought an item to the Executive Committee regarding preparing food for Parker Street Ministries summer program. This is something the kitchen staff has done for many years. Menu will parallel that being used for the First Steps Preschool meals. Cost to Parker Street will include food supplies and staff time. Kitchen activities will be organized to respect social distancing criteria and Mike will coordinate his operational plan with senior church staff.
The Executive Committee voted to approve meal preparation for Parker Street Ministries.
E. Worship Planning – currently, reported statistics for our immediate community do not support our reopening onsite worship at this time. The numbers are increasing explained in part by increased testing and testing of the most vulnerable populations. The fact is, however, that our church congregation consists in large part of this most vulnerable population. We will continue with only online worship.
At this time, planning is underway for future worship so that it can be started promptly when that time arrives. Toward this end, David McEntire requested that the Executive Committee approve the concept of two types of worship services when we do reopen. One service could be performed for the online streaming broadcast (with no live attendees) and include singing, creeds, music, communion, and other elements we see now in our online worship. Other services would be planned specifically to accommodate live worship attendance in accordance with social distancing and other in-person worship guidelines that our Worship Committee will develop.
The Executive Committee voted to approve these two worship formats for our future.
F. Fred Murphy, at the suggestion of some of our medical community, has been investigating the cost and feasibility to upgrade our air conditioning systems. This would include installation of UV lights to disinfect the air flowing through each air handler and the addition of carbon filtration. Total cost for all systems is about $48,000.00. Cost to do systems for those areas of the church to reopen first (Preschool, Gym, Building F, Sanctuary, and Fellowship Center) is about $25,000. The proposed UV systems will provide an ongoing operational benefit in promoting cleaner coils and less future maintenance for our various systems.
The Executive Committee voted to approve these UV/ carbon filter systems to be installed by Payne Air Conditioning.
The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be scheduled as needed. No specific date is set.
I want to thank each of you who wrote in response to my previous report. Your input is valuable to our committee. I also want to thank John Naser, Tom Kurrack, and Dale Dreyer for chairing our three reopening committees, and thanks also to all who participated in that committee work.
The Lord is our God. Be healthy. Stay healthy.
John R. Curtis, Chair, Executive Committee