Dear Byron UMC Family,
This Sunday, July 12, we will resume worshiping in the sanctuary at 8:45am and 11:00am. We are very excited to gather once again in the sanctuary, and we are mindful that many in our church family are not yet ready to worship in person due to health concerns.
Thank you for your responses to our latest congregation survey. I can tell you that our church is not of one mind when it comes to how to handle COVID-19. We have the full range of opinions, from those who want to just go back to normal without masks, to those who do not believe we should be worshiping indoors at all. I can say this – everyone has been very gracious, kind, and considerate through this entire process. Nobody likes what we are going through. But you have been AMAZING. Thank you for being a loving church family.
If you are not yet comfortable coming to an in-person worship service, or if your doctor recommends that you continue to avoid groups, please do stay home. There is absolutely no pressure for anyone to come until it is safe for them and for those in their household. We will continue to offer worship online on Sundays at 11:00am on our website, Facebook, and our YouTube channel.
For those of you who are ready to worship in person, please be aware that it will be a bit different. Here is what to expect:
- If you feel sick, please stay home.
- Please only enter the Sanctuary through the Narthex entrances (the doors closer to the railroad track).
- We will be taking temperatures with a touch-free thermometer. This only takes a second or two. If you have a fever of 100 or higher, you will be asked to worship online instead.
- At each entrance, we will have a supply of hand sanitizer and face masks. Please use the hand sanitizer before you pick up a mask.
- All worshipers are required to wear a face mask. You may bring your own, and we will also have a supply of masks if you need one.
- We ask that you maintain a six-foot distance from people not in your immediate household. To help us do that, half the pews have been blocked off with tape. Please sit with the people in your household, toward the end of your pew. Leave space for others to sit at the other end, but only if a six-foot distance can be maintained.
- Rather than traditional congregational singing, for now, we will have instrumental music and solos. However, since we will be wearing masks, if you were to softly sing along with a familiar hymn, the singing police will not be coming by.
- The service will be shorter than usual – around 45 minutes.
- Childcare will not be provided for now. We will not have a nursery or Children’s Church. Children will need to sit with their families.
- Please refrain from handshakes or hugs, as hard as that is to do. We will opt instead for “air hugs” and friendly waves. 😊
- We are attempting to keep traffic limited to the sanctuary. If you need to use the restroom, please use the restrooms in the Narthex. However, the restrooms in the Education Bldg will be available if needed.
- We will celebrate Holy Communion this Sunday. We will have prepackaged communion elements placed throughout the pews. If you need assistance, a greeter/usher will be glad to help.
- We will exit out of any doors, not just the front doors. Please remember to keep social distance as you leave.
- We will ask for volunteers after the first service to sanitize the room before the next service.
About Sunday School :
Our Face-to-Face Ministries Planning Team is evaluating when will be a good time to resume things like Children’s Sunday School, Youth, and our Nursery. So much depends on what our school systems do and how the numbers go in our area. Not all our adult classes will be able to meet until we have options for children and youth as well. Two of our adult classes have begun meeting. The Faith Class is meeting in the Preschool-Afterschool Bldg. The Fellowship Class is meeting in the CFC Main Room. If you have a group that would like to meet, please contact Jessica Fuller, our Church Administrative Asst at 956-5717 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For now, groups can only meet indoors if they have 6 ft social distancing. The use of face masks is strongly encouraged anytime you are meeting indoors.
About Requiring Face Masks :
90% of our congregation indicated that they prefer to wear a mask or that they don’t mind wearing one for the sake of others. About 10% of our survey respondents indicated that they prefer not to wear a mask. Believe me, I get how annoying masks can be (I wear glasses, which now constantly fog up). However, our “Parking Lot to the Pew” Planning Team members and I have agreed that, for now, requiring masks is what is best. We have several people who have indicated that they want to come back to worship, but that if others are not wearing a mask, they will have to leave. We feel that requiring masks is something simple we can do to make it easier for us to meet together. We are aware that for some, masks cause anxiety and even panic attacks. If that’s you, please reach out to me so we can talk about it. One positive about requiring masks for all, is that it makes it possible for those who want to lightly sing along to do so. Without wearing masks, singing would be too risky.
I hope to see you this Sunday -- whether it's in person or online. Love y'all!
Grace and Peace,