Dear Friends of Scottsville UMC:
I wanted to report to you on the important conversation that your Administrative Council held during its meeting this past Tuesday, June 30
The Council received a report from the “Healthy Church Team,” consisting of Don Critzer (Chair of Trustees), Staci Hainsworth (Church Administrator), Sandy Shango (nurse), Ron Wormser (Treasurer), and me. The Healthy Church Team’s report included a plan to re-open Scottsville UMC for “in-person” worship that would comply with the current requirements of both the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church.
After extensive discussion, the Council approved the plan, but deferred taking action to re-open for “in-person” worship at this time.
During the discussion, several Council members expressed concern that the requirements under the plan would not offer the type of worship experience that was fundamental to our community. Among other things, the plan would require the following:
Each worshiper would be required to fill out a Health Acknowledgment Form each week and submit it to the pastor four days in advance of the worship service. The Form would require disclosure, among other things, of whether the individual submitting the form had experienced symptoms of COVID-19 or been in contact with persons who were ill with COVID-19.
Each worshiper would be required to take their temperature on Sunday morning before coming to church. No one would be admitted to worship who had a temperature in excess of 100.4
Worshipers would be required to maintain social distance at all times, staying at least six feet away from other worshipers, with the sole exception of other persons living in the same household. No hugging or shaking of hands would be permitted.
Worshipers would be seated by ushers in designated locations to ensure that the required six-feet of distance would be maintained.
All worshipers would be required to wear facial masks from the time they left their cars until they returned to their cars.
There would be no singing permitted during worship by the congregation, choir or any soloists, and no communion.
Several persons expressed concern about finding enough volunteers who would be willing to staff the various positions that would be required to satisfy these requirements.
There was broad consensus that we should continue to provide online worship and look for ways to make the online worship more accessible to our members and friends.
Council also recognized that the requirements of both the Commonwealth and the Conference were continuing to evolve as we all try to better understand the nature of the coronavirus and the way it is spread. All agreed that we want to re-open for in-person worship as soon as it can be done safely and in a way that would permit us to offer the quality of worship and fellowship that are so important to this congregation.
Let me add a few thoughts:
Even during this pandemic, we are still the church of Jesus Christ, who calls us to love God and neighbor in safe and prudent ways. I encourage you to keep in safe contact with your family members, friends, and neighbors and be alert to the needs around you.
Please join us for worship online. You can continue to watch our services on our Facebook Page and on our website. You also can request DVDs of our worship services to be sent to you.
Please pray for all who are afflicted by this disease, for all who provide care for those who are suffering this disease, and for a speedy end to this virus so we can freely gather together again. I also ask that you let me know how I can pray for you.
Remember the words of Jesus, who offers this promise: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Grace and peace,