FAQ Questions about Covid-19 and St. Paul’s

 
When can I drop things off in the building, such as food donations, other collections, or my offering?

The foyer is open from 10-11am on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and on Thursdays from 2-3pm. Please wear a mask when you enter the building. 

 
When can we worship again in our beautiful sanctuary?

At this point, our plan is to continue worshiping online at 9:30 on Sundays. If you would like to worship in person, there is an outdoor morning prayer service at 10am on Thursdays. When the weather no longer allows for this, and assuming our local numbers remain low, we may move this midweek service into the sanctuary, practicing physical distancing and mask-wearing. We will worship in the building for our Sunday gathering once there is an effective vaccine and/or treatment. We may start small, short communion services before this. See below.

 
When can I have communion again?

We will have communion at our Sept 13 outdoor service at Riverbend Shelter, Genesee Valley Park, 11am. Starting in October, we will be starting “drive-through communion” on Sundays after the livestream. We will include the communion liturgy during the livestream, and then people can drive to church to receive the consecrated elements and a blessing from the pastor. We will ask you to sign up for a time slot between 11am-1pm to control the traffic flow, and to be prepared with the right amount of bread.

Once the weather no longer allows this, and if our local numbers remain low, we may move this into the sanctuary: the service of the word would still happen online, but family groups would come into the church building to receive the elements and a blessing.

 
Other churches are meeting in person in the sanctuary. Why aren’t we?

This is a complicated answer, but the short version is: we want to keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible. In this strange time of pandemic, we believe this is what it looks like to love our neighbor. 

The longer answer is:

Worshiping in person would mean no singing (except possibly a cantor), fellowship, children’s sermon, or even communal spoken prayer. Communion would be a challenge. Everyone would be masked, with pastor likely in a mask and/or face shield. Simultaneously livestreaming during in-person worship would mean a camera and mic would be set up near pastor, and that the livestream would reflect this no-music liturgy. 
 
Other churches may have different ventilation systems that changes out the air, where our ventilation system has no forced air. That means everyone’s air particles just circle around and around. This is not as safe for gathering in groups indoors.
 
With schools reopening in September, everyone’s bubbles will suddenly get a lot bigger, even if you don’t have family members in a school. We felt it wise to see how this goes before adding an additional large indoor gathering into people’s lives.
 
Can church groups meet in the building during the week?

The Safety Protocols Task Force is working on guidelines to allow groups such as Dorcas Rachel and LYO to meet in the building. These groups will be required to mask and sit 6ft apart, and may need to shorten their gatherings to stay within guidelines. In addition, they will be required to answer screening questions before entering, sign a waiver (our insurance company does not cover anything Covid-related), commit to following our safety protocols, and keep a list of who was at each gathering for the purpose of contact tracing.

 
Can outside groups meet in the building?
The Safety Protocols Task Force is working on guidelines to allow outside groups to meet in the building, depending on their numbers, demographic, and risk factors. These groups will be required to mask and stay 6ft apart, and may need to shorten their gatherings to stay within guidelines. In addition, they will be required to answer screening questions before entering, sign a waiver (our insurance company does not cover anything Covid-related), commit to following our safety protocols, and keep a list of who was at each gathering for the purpose of contact tracing.
 
 
Is the church able to hold funerals or weddings?

Once all of our safety protocols are in place, we will be able to hold funerals and weddings. Numbers will be limited to 50, or 12 family units, and at this time, we will not be able to have singing, though organ or piano music is fine, as is anything pre-recorded. All in attendance must wear masks at all times. For these services, we will do what we can to stream them for those not able to be physically present.

 
Will we keep live-streaming even after we are back to worshiping in person?

Yes, that’s the plan! Our tech-savvy folks have looked and given their recommendations for a set-up that will help us install cameras that will be mostly unseen by the congregation. Council has already approved the funds for this. We are also on the waiting list to get Greenlight internet; this high speed internet will dramatically improve what we can do with the livestream. 

If you have other questions, send them our way, and we’ll do our best to answer.