Our Return to in-person Worship Celebrations On May 6th, Bishop Elaine Stanovsky released the new protocol for reopening entitled Stepping Forward Safely in Love and Trust. Shortly thereafter, The Brownsville UMC church leadership team voted to adopt the provisions outlined in Option 2 which you can see by clicking here. We feel confident in this plan and in the current state of the pandemic recovery efforts in our area to begin our return to in-person worship beginning on Sunday, July 4th. Our services will continue to start at 10am PT and be live-streamed for those who are not yet ready or not able to return to in-person gatherings.
Masks According to the CDC, it is relatively safe for fully vaccinated folks to gather indoors. We are not requiring masks to be worn by those who are fully vaccinated. Masks will be made available at the front door for folks who are not yet fully vaccinated, or, who prefer to wear a mask. We will not be checking vaccine cards and are placing trust in those who come to our church to partner with us in Doing No Harm by wearing a mask if they are not yet fully vaccinated.
Social Distancing Worshippers are encouraged to maintain 6ft social distancing as best as possible. To help facilitate this, every other pew will be marked as closed. We ask that only one family sit in an open pew at one time. Also, to avoid complicated run-ins on the stairs we are restricting traffic to "down-only" on the stairs. If you park in back parking lot, you will need to walk up the sidewalk path and enter the church through the front red door.
Sanitizing We are working to do a good deep clean of the sanctuary, bathrooms, and children's area. More regular light cleanings will occur on a weekly basis to ensure that high touch surfaces are staying clean. Bathrooms will be open and we ask that you wipe down the bathroom after use. Hymnals will not be used at this time reduce the amount of sanitizing needed. All words and liturgies will be on the screen.
Changes to Worship Celebrations Indoor congregational singing is by far the riskiest activity we could engage in at this point. This is because of the increased spray of aerosols that are created when we sing. Until further notice, there will be no indoor singing during worship.It will no doubt be difficult to resist the urge to sing when music is playing but I ask that we join one another in solidarity and commit ourselves to this restriction. We will still have music in worship and are exploring alternate ways to sing without our voices including being led in song by an ASL interpreter who will teach us how to worship more fully with our bodies. Movements will be accessible for people with limited mobility.
We will celebrate Holy Communion on July 4th and on all subsequent 1st Sundays (and maybe a few others 🙂). I'll share specific instructions during the liturgy but the main thing is that you will be invited to come up and receive pre-packaged communion elements. Please wait until you are back to your pew to open and consume the elements. Hot tip: open the bread first, then the juice. All elements are gluten-free so that all may partake.
Coffee Hour Beginning on July 4th, will have an in-person Coffee Hour beginning after worship at 11am which will be held primarily outside under our 10'x10' tent. Prepackaged snacks and coffee will be available.
Live Streaming Finally, we are pleased to announce that our recent technology upgrades are complete, tested, and running as they should. This means that from this point forward we will continue to live stream our worship celebrations for those who are not ready or unable to come to worship in-person. Please take advantage of this worship option if you are not feeling well, sick, away from home, or have physical limitations that prevent you from coming to the church building. You are still with us!
What You Can Do to Get Ready This return to in-person worship is an "all-hands on deck" initiative. Here are some things you can do to personally prepare and to help the church be ready: 1. Get vaccinated! 2. Call people in our congregation to spread the word. Did you know that we recently updated our church directory? It's true! Email the church office if you need a copy. 3. Bring supplies. We currently have a handful of disposable masks and a small supply of sanitizing wipes. If you can, bring a box of masks or a bottle of anti-viral wipes to help with the cleaning efforts. 4. Pray. Join me in praying for the Holy Spirit to bless and guide our efforts as we do the best we can to declare and demonstrate God's boundless love for all.
Special thanks to Jim Hazel, Sue Tollefson, Victoria Poage, Kim Heidebrink, Tammy Fitting, Jane Reynolds, and Jan McLemore for their service to the church in creating this plan and paving the way for this return to in-person worship.
8811 Illahee Rd. NE, Bremerton, WA 98311 360-692-8266 email@example.com