As a church family we have been missing a vital part of who we are and what we do as believers in Jesus Christ, corporate worship. We know that the guidelines for a pandemic are not “one size fits all”, and therefore we have come together as the leadership of Maplewood United Methodist Church to address our own guidelines that are specific to who we are. We will do our best to comply with state and local authorities in the matter of public safety, and plan to return to worship on June 7, 2020. The following guidelines will be in place in order to protect those that choose to come to worship. We will not require or expect everyone to be in attendance. Those who are at higher risk should stay home and continue to view the service online. We want you all to continue to be blessed, but also to be safe.
- We will follow the directives and recommendations of Gov. Mike Dewine, Dr. Amy Acton, and the Centers for Disease Control, as they pertain to our specific worship environment.
- We strongly suggest that you wear masks when in worship, but it will not be enforced.
- Social distancing will be kept.
- Size of gathering limitations will be limited to current state of Ohio phase:
- Phase 1 – No more than 10 people gathering with strict guidelines
- Phase 2 – No more than 50 people gathering with moderate guidelines
- Phase 3 – No limitations on number of people.
- Worshipers must be asymptomatic before entering worship.
- Safe distancing will be practiced in all seating areas and gatherings. We encourage you to spread out, even if it might be out of your normal seat.
- Following the guidelines for safe distancing we will not encourage physical touching. No handshakes. No hugs. No passing of the peace as part of our worship services.
- The sacrament of Holy Communion will be taken with individual, pre-packaged, all-in-one cups with wafers. These will be available, spread out on a table, as you enter the sanctuary, each in their own bag. The bag can then be used for the placement of your empty containers to be thrown away. The elements will be prepared from a new box, placed in a new Ziploc bag, prepared by someone with gloves and mask so as to not contaminate these items.
- The sacrament of baptism will be handled on a case by case basis.
- Worship will be shortened in duration as to limit the length of exposure each worshiper has to the crowd. Sunday School and children’s activities will not be held until Phase 3. Bible studies and small groups will still be held online.
- There will be no bulletin, and all liturgy will be displayed on the screens for decrease in handing items to one another and containing any possible contamination.
- There will be no attendance books in the pews to register attendance and pass on.
- Doors will remain propped open during the length of worship services. Worshipers will be encouraged to use the facilities wisely and safely, and wash their hands.
- Greeters will no longer be offering peace through touch, but will be opening doors for people to the outside when possible and offering peace and welcome without touching.
- Church will resume in a gathered worship on June 7, 2020. This is only in accordance with the state of Ohio recommendations for group size limitations, and will continue as long as we remain in Phase 2 or 3.
- All surfaces within the church will be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis. This includes door handles, light switches, chairs, tables, counter tops, and any other surfaces that may be touched by adults or children. Hand sanitizers and wipes will be readily available for those that need to use them in our open areas.
- We will continue our weekly email communication to update worshipers of any changes, identification of those who are sick or have become sick, and to update on worship structure changes if needed.
- We encourage you to clean up after yourselves in order to minimize cleaning and touching by staff, and as a way to be responsible and kind to those around you.
- Reminder, no bulletin, be prepared for note taking. Make sure you bring your own notepad or something in which you can take notes and write down announcements so that you can take it with you.