Current Reopening Phase: Outdoor Open
Indoor Small Reopening Phase Starts June 1, 2021
The second revision of our Phased Approach to Reopening is linked here.
You’ll see in this document a note from our Healthy Church Team, a “Prelude” with knowns and unknowns, four phases of reopening, and a “Benediction” that includes our 7:01 prayer. You’ll notice that one of these phases, the “Pre-opening” phase, is in a lighter font. That’s done because we believe we have moved past this phase and are unlikely to return to it, but we do want to make sure we have that information available for our community. We are currently in the “Outdoor Open” phase. There are some small adjustments in the opportunities within this phase from our last revision of this document. Most of the revisions in this document can be found in the section “Small Indoor Phase”. We remain in preparation to move into this phase and, when appropriate, the “Large Indoor Phase”.
We are currently in the Outdoor Open Phase.
What you should remember in this phase:
- The building and grounds are closed to public gatherings.
- Authorized personnel entering the building must report visits (e.g. name(s), date, time, area of the church, etc.) to Jen Score, firstname.lastname@example.org or (703)707-6271. It is preferred that you enter through Door #1 (near the sanctuary).
- Masks are required inside the church building. Please use the hand sanitizer at the door entrance when entering.
During this period, the Trustees continue to to work tirelessly to promote safety and security. Learn more about their work below.
Today I’m writing to you with news that beginning June 1, 2021, Herndon UMC will be shifting into the “indoor small reopening” phase. Two months ago, our Healthy Church Team released a document called “Herndon UMC Phased Approach to Reopening — Version 2.0”. In this document, our HCT detailed that we had discerned it would be appropriate to move into an indoor small reopening phase when the percent positivity rate of COVID-19 infections in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties was below 5% for two consecutive weeks. Since that time, our discernment has continued. Given last week’s news from the CDC about guidance for fully vaccinated individuals and the continued successful rollout of COVID vaccinations amongst adult populations in our surrounding counties, our HCT has discerned that we are at a point where we need to work toward safe gatherings in our building.
As a reminder, the indoor small reopening phase comes with some opportunities and some restrictions. Gatherings in the Herndon UMC facility will be based on capacities of rooms. Not every room in the building will be available for use and we will be practicing social distancing and masking inside the church facilities. The HCT, together with our church trustees, are working to ensure that we are using rooms with the best ventilation in our building, because we know this limits the transmission of the virus. Larger group activities such as worship will continue to be offered digitally and/or outdoors as this allows us the flexibility to do more while limiting the transmission of the virus. We will still be utilizing some kind of acknowledgement form for participants to ease the process of contact tracing should that become necessary.
And, as always, we will continue to monitor data, the wisdom of scientists, doctors, and epidemiologists, guidance from the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church, and (most importantly) we will continue to pray. As we approach the summer months, I believe we will be in a space that is ripe for experimentation. When it is safe to do so, we may experiment with indoor worship services on occasion in Doe Hall. We may be able to try some things we have done before alongside some things we have never attempted. Should data and discernment reflect the need to change our opening status, we will be prepared to do so. In the meantime, I am holding on to hope. My sincerest hope and prayer is that we will be able to discover the living, loving God that is in all and through all.
It is my honor to serve as one of your pastors. Should you have any questions about this move, or wish to express any form of concern, please don’t hesitate to be in touch with me (email@example.com) or our Herndon UMC Healthy Church Team (firstname.lastname@example.org). May God continue to guide us as we navigate all that is to come!
for the Herndon UMC Healthy Church Team
Questions? You may always contact the Trustees at email@example.com.
You will also find helpful resources here like:
A building map showing new room numbers. (Click the image to enlarge it.)
Learn more about the ministry of our Trustees here in the Trustees Tidbits blog below. These are also available weekly in the Tuesday e-News.
With the weather changing, small groups will again meet outdoors to fellowship and see God in nature. Having wet feet should not be part of the experience. Through the Trustees, improvements were made to access the area outside the kitchen. Paving stones were added and the gate repaired.
Outdoor Open Phase
Outdoor Open Phase began September 13.
Some key facets of this phase include:
- OUTDOOR small group gatherings at church are allowed in the four distinct HCT/Trustee designated areas only. See diagrams below/right. There are specific entry, exit and parking spaces for each area as well. Gatherings are permitted off-site but should follow the same protocols.
- Gatherings are limited to a maximum of 12 attendees (including the group leader) and must have a group leader identified who has completed training for this phase.
- Every participant will be required to complete an acknowledgement form before every gathering that participant attends.
- The potential for occasional outdoor in-person worship will be considered, focused on celebrating the sacraments.
- Digital worship will continue and small groups are still encouraged to hold virtual meetings to maintain and create new connections.
- Max telework for church Staff continues.
- Healthy Church Team and Trustees will continue to work to define what groups are appropriate for indoor gatherings once in small indoor phase (i.e. church-affiliated only, or a broader scope).
- The Herndon UMC building remains CLOSED for in-person group activities. There is NO ACCESS to bathroom facilities for these OUTDOOR gatherings. (See the above section for information and policies regarding limited building entry.)
Outdoor Gathering Site and Drive Thru Communion Diagrams
These plans show specific entry, exit, and parking (if for a gathering site) for each of the four sites and for the Drive Thru Communion service. Please scroll through the images to see the different locations. Please note that parking is every other spot.
Town Hall – March 7, 2021
A Town Hall meeting was held over Zoom on Sunday, March 7. This offered a chance to share with the whole church community about our process to get to this point, clarification on what is in this document, and where we go from here. Additionally, there was time for questions from the church community to be shared. A video recording of the session is available on YouTube.