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.
We have established the following five-phased re-opening plan, which our Leadership Team will implement 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 rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 emergency.
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)
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.
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)
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)
Worship held onsite without need for safety protocols (i.e. everything is back to "normal" with certain qualifications that are yet to be determined)
SAFETY & SANCTUARY PROTOCOLS
For such a time as this, our ministry is to provide safe space for those serving vulnerable populations 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.
Only enter the building if it is 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-19.
If you must access the building, make sure to log your visit by emailing the church office ahead of time. This is essential in the event of necessary contact tracing.
Everyone (ages 2+) must wear a face mask in the building (except for ADEC and Goshen City Behavioral Health staff).
Those in the building should sanitize areas used with the cleaning supplies available near the welcome center.
The kitchen is off limits (except for Goshen City Behavioral Health staff).
Members locking the building must wear face masks and gloves when doing so.
Immediately contact our Leadership Team chairperson if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and have previously accessed the building. If you don't have her contact information, email the church office.
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.
Increases in COVID-19 cases cease to continue in our community.
The percentage of new positive cases in our region is at or less than 10% of those tested in any given week.
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 pandemic and its effects on our daily lives seems to change by the day, if not by the hour. This 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, nurture, and empower the Body of Christ.