COVID-19 AND OUR CONGREGATION

The safety of our members, staff, friends, and our broader community are of the utmost importance to us. Our plan for maintaining church operations and re-opening our building reflects God's call to support and nurture the common good in this time of great vulnerability. Remember – church is not about the building, but about how we, as a community, live out our faith values.

SPIRIT OF SANCTUARY

For such a time as this, our ministry is to provide safe space for the most vulnerable in the midst of the COVID-19 public health crisis. As such, we ask everyone using the Goshen City Church of the Brethren building to adhere to the following protocols in order to maintain safety and sanctuary.

GENERAL PROTOCOLS

  • Only enter the building if absolutely necessary. If you need materials from the building, contact the church office

  • Do not enter if you are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with others diagnosed with COVID. If you are diagnosed with COVID and have been inside the building, contact our Leadership Team chair and the church office immediately.

  • Log your visit with the church office prior to entering the building, in case of contract tracing needs.

  • Everyone (ages 3+) must wear a face mask in the building (except for Goshen City Behavioral Health and ADEC staff). 

  • Sanitize areas used with cleaning supplies available near the welcome center.

  • Do not use the kitchen unless you are on staff with Goshen City Behavioral Health.

  • When locking the building, wear a face mask and gloves.

  • We encourage voluntary identification of vaccination status. Email the church office to count yourself among those in our congregation who are vaccinated. 

SUNDAY WORSHIP PRACTICES

  • Onsite worship resumes on Aug. 8, 2021. Those who are unable or choose not to attend in person are invited to join in prayer and sharing on Zoom from 8:30 to 9 a.m. 

  • Time in the building will be limited. Doors will be unlocked at 9:15 a.m. and worship will promptlybegin at 9:30. Every effort will be made to limit worship to 45 minutes, to reduce time in the building.

  • Wear your masks. Face masks must be worn by all individuals over 3 years of age.  

  • Sit wherever you like in the sanctuary. You may sit wherever you like in the available pews, making sure to respect socialdistancing between family units.

  • Remain seated as much as possible. Restroom facilities are available, but please return to the sanctuary promptly. Children should be accompanied by a parent. 

  • Support our ministries. Offering plates will be available at the back of the sanctuary for your monetary gifts.

  • Wait for an usher to dismiss you. At the conclusion of worship, please wait until an usher dismisses your row from worship.

  • Catch-up with each other outdoors. All are invited to gather on the church lawn for fellowship afterwards. Please make your way to the lawn in a timely manner.

  • Children's activities remain on hold. Sundays will not include children’s time or a Christian Education hour. Our crib room is available for children and parents, but will not be staffed by church volunteers. 

  • Take a technology break. We hope you enjoy some “screen-free” worship, and will not use PowerPoint for the time being. Large-print hymnals are available. 

RE-OPENING PHASES

Our Leadership Team has implemented a five-phased re-opening plan, based on the benchmarks listed below and other pertinent guidelines and mandates. Be aware that this plan may be modified at any time, due to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We currently are in Phase 4.

We currently are in Phase 4.

PHASE 5

Worship held online only (i.e. benchmarks are not met, or the benchmarks are met but the congregation is not yet comfortable having onsite worship)

PHASE 4

Online worship continues, but some small groups and pastoral visits may meet outside of the church building (i.e. partial benchmarks are met or all benchmarks are met but the congregation is not yet comfortable having onsite worship)

We currently are in Phase 4.

PHASE 3

In-building worship resumes with physical distancing and cleaning protocols in place (i.e. all benchmarks are met, but the pandemic is still very real and presents a threat to public health)

We anticipate moving to this phase on Aug. 8, 2021.

PHASE 2

Worship held onsite, with moderation of protocols in accordance with CDC guidelines (i.e. pandemic numbers are much improved, but no widespread vaccination is available)

PHASE 1

Worship held onsite without need for safety protocols (i.e. everything is back to "normal" with certain qualifications that are yet to be determined)

To maintain Goshen City Church of the Brethren's mission of being an inclusive body, we will not consider holding onsite activities and worship (indoors and/or outdoors) until the following benchmarks are met.

decreasing bar chart

Increases in COVID-19 cases cease to continue in our community.

percent sign

The percentage of new positive cases in our region is at or less than 10% of those tested in any given week.

group presentation

It is discerned that vulnerable populations can safely re-enter public spaces.

Our Re-Opening Team is monitoring these benchmarks and is in regular consultation with our congregation's Leadership Team. Current plans are to gradually offer onsite worship opportunities beginning at the end of May 2021. The congregation will receive two- to four-weeks' notice before changes are made.

BENCHMARKS FOR RESUMING ONSITE ACTIVITIES
A TIME FOR GRACE & GRATITUDE

The changing nature of the pandemic and its effects on our daily lives has made the work of caring for our church and community – and the planning for our anticipated return onsite – extremely challenging. We are grateful for the hard work of our Re-Opening Team and Leadership Team, and the various ways each of our church members are supporting them and one another. Thank you for continuing to build up and nurture the Body of Christ.