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Stage 2 Plan for Moving Toward Re-Opening the Church Building for Ministry Activities

Stage 2 Plan for Moving Toward Re-Opening the Church Building for Ministry Activities
Salem Covenant Church
July 2020

God made it clear early in the Bible that it is not good for us to be alone. We need each other and in recent months most of us have been feeling that reality more acutely than ever. We are thankful for the many ways we have been able to keep in touch, worship, and engage in ministry together through this time. Yet, we long to be together face-to-face. Of course, that longing must be kept in tension with the command of Scripture that we love one another and our neighbors, commands that almost always mean sacrificing some of what we want and even need for the sake of others. It has certainly meant that in facing this pandemic. In this season of difficult decisions, please continue to pray for wisdom for our church leadership and for all of us, as the Apostle Paul did for the Philippians (1:9-11), that our “love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help [us] to determine what is best…”

Such knowledge and insight regarding how best to love as we face Covid-19 certainly includes following the guidance for Faith-Based Communities by the CDC and MN Department of Health:

Large gatherings continue to present significant risk for increasing the spread of COVID-19. All faith communities are encouraged to provide remote services and choose not to open or host large gatherings.

Legal restrictions have lessened, yet we are mindful of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 10:23, “‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things are beneficial.” While we may celebrate that the government is not telling us what to do, that reality does not diminish our responsibility to care well for one another and our neighbors. As Salem enters what we are calling Stage 2 of our movement toward in-person gatherings in July, we continue to take the MN Department of Health’s advice to heart as we move slowly toward increasing the number of gatherings and numbers of people meeting in-person. Our plan for July includes:

Recorded Traditional and Contemporary Worship Services will continue to be offered online for viewing by individuals, families, and smaller groups to enable people to participate in worship safely.

Live-streaming equipment is being installed in both the sanctuary and the gym, and people will be trained to use it. This will enable us to record services more efficiently and with better quality. Then, possibly in August, we will begin live-streaming services as it is practical from a health and technical standpoint. (As God leads and enables you, please prayerfully consider making an extra financial gift to Salem to assist us as we take this significant step in mission.)

Two Midweek Outdoor Worship Gatherings will be offered in July for those who feel it is safe to participate. One will be led by Traditional Worship Service musicians and one by Contemporary Worship Service musicians. These opportunities will take place in addition to our weekend Traditional and Contemporary Worship Services which will continue to be offered online.

    • Midweek Outdoor Worship Gatherings will be held at 6:30 p.m. on July 15 (led by Traditional Service Musicians) and July 29 (led by Contemporary Service musicians). Rain dates for each are the immediately following Wednesday.
    • These gatherings will be transmitted through speakers and via FM radio frequency to car radios.
    • The MN Department of Health and the CDC recommend people attending such services remain in their cars and, if the car windows are down, to park in every other parking spot.
    • Those attending will be encouraged to bring bread and juice that they can eat and drink in their cars so that we can participate in communion together.
    • There will be a reservation process that will be announced in subsequent communications to ensure that we are able to maintain safely appropriate numbers of people attending these gatherings.
    • More details will be posted soon in emails and on Salem’s website.

Building Use during the week will be available on a limited basis. Requests for building use by individuals and small groups may be directed to our facility calendar coordinator, Janice Zdrazil, who will manage requests and scheduling in collaboration with our COVID Management Team. Groups using the building will be limited to certain times and rooms/areas to ensure adequate spacing, time between groups, and appropriate cleaning can be provided. In keeping with Health Department guidelines, we ask that:

  • Salem groups that can meet virtually continue to do so.
  • Groups meeting inside our building be kept to 10 people or less.
  • Groups that meet outside our building be kept to 25 people or less. (Wednesday evening worship gatherings are an exception given that we expect most people to remain in their cars.)
  • Further details regarding building use policies are posted on our website and at building entryways. We offer our gratitude in advance to all who enter the building for reading and following these guidelines.

Staff will continue to be encouraged to work from home except as necessary in keeping with Health Department guidelines stating that those who can work from home must do so. Pastor Alice will oversee the coordination of staff who may need to enter the church building for ministry work to minimize physical proximity with other staff and groups using the building.

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