As Messiah prepares to welcome back in-person small group gatherings, we need to acknowledge the trials and tribulations many have experienced. It has been a difficult year, in so many different ways, for so many people.
However, as we begin to re-gather in community, we can also acknowledge how this past year has prepared us for the future. As we have shared our pandemic stories and experiences with one another, we have learned of our adaptability, our patience and creativity in the face of challenge, and our determination to never again take for granted our in-person fellowship with one another.
The following is an introduction to how in-person gatherings will begin to happen at Messiah. Read with care, and more information will be made available for the needs of specific small groups as they begin to gather.
SUMMARY OF CURRENT GUIDELINES
In compliance with State of Washington Faith-Based Organizations COVID-19 requirements dated January 11, 2021, Messiah may hold indoor worship services (including small groups) with up to 25% of room capacity, excluding organization staff, so long as six feet of physical distance can be maintained in all directions. At this time, small groups are limited to 12 participants.
WHAT MESSIAH IS DOING TO KEEP YOU SAFE
· All Messiah Staff and Volunteers have been properly trained on the prevention of virus spread and all COVID-19 state-mandated guidelines.
· Sanitizing and disinfecting efforts have been increased throughout all common spaces in the building. High touch areas and pews are being sanitized after each use.
· Hand sanitizer will be available at the Church entry. Soap is available at bathroom sinks.
· Tissue and trash cans are readily available.
· Water fountains have been closed to avoid shared use.
· All people entering the building will be required to check-in and pass a health screening before entry.
· Staff, music performers, and all volunteers will always wear a mask before, during, and after worship.
· Signage has been increased to remind everyone of safety measures and social distancing requirements.
· Building capacity is being limited to ensure ample space for everyone to maintain six feet in all directions between those not in your immediate household.
· Building access will be limited to one entry and one exit. Entry and exit doors will be clearly marked.
· Doors and/or windows will be propped open to increase ventilation. Please dress appropriately.
· Worship will continue to be live-streamed so that everyone can safely engage with worship.
WHAT IS EXPECTED FROM YOU TO KEEP OUR CONGREGATION SAFE
· All small group meetings must be scheduled ahead through the Church office.
· Each small group will require a designated and trained COVID Supervisor to monitor compliance with all guidelines for the duration of each gathering.
· Before departing your home, please self-assess for any COVID-related symptoms. If you or anyone in your household have a fever over 100.4 or are exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms, please stay home.
· Masks are required while attending meetings at Messiah and must remain covering your nose and mouth at all times. This does apply to those of you fortunate to have received a vaccine. The mask mandate is still in effect for businesses. Masks are available at Messiah if you forget yours.
· Please remain six feet apart from anyone outside of your immediate household.
· Please obey all health and safety restrictions in effect here at Messiah. Signs have been posted throughout the building as reminders.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING SMALL GROUP MEETINGS
· Small groups will utilize Galli Hall for meetings.
· All small group participants will enter the building through the northwest entry near the main office.
· All participants will need to check-in and pass a health screening before entering. This includes screening for COVID related symptoms and recording your current temperature. During the check-in process, please be patient and continue to stay 6 feet apart while waiting to enter the building.
· Please use hand sanitizer before entering Galli Hall. Soap is also available in the bathroom and frequent handwashing is encouraged.
· Please ensure that six feet of distance is maintained between all participants at all times. Spread tables and/or chairs out to encourage appropriate distancing.
· Bathrooms are open and available but limited to 2 occupants at a time.
· No food or drinks may be served during small group meetings. You may bring your own water. Masks can be briefly lowered when actively taking a drink and must be immediately replaced over your mouth and nose.
· We ask that all participants immediately depart at the conclusion of the small group gathering.
WE ARE ALL ASKED TO KEEP ONE ANOTHER SAFE
At each service of worship you will be asked to sign-in. Your signing-in is both to keep a record of those in the building and an acknowledgement that you agree to follow the posted guidelines for gathering. It is also your further acknowledgement that
– you are COVID-19 symptom free
– that you have not been in close contact with anyone the previous 14 days with COVID-19 or COVID-like symptoms
– that you have not had a positive COVID-19 test within the past 10 days or are not awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test, and
– that you have not within the past 14 days been told by a public health or medical professional to self-monitor, self-isolate, or self-quarantine because of concerns about a COVID-19 infection.
If you come down with COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of attending a small group meeting or in-person worship at Messiah, we ask that you please contact our Church Office immediately so that we can properly trace and contain any virus spread. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 but have not attended a small group meeting or worship, we would still like to hear from you so that we can pray for you.
Finally, we recognize that every Messiah member and friend will be at a different place in regard to their comfort level for regathering in-person. These guidelines are in place to help everyone feel safe as we regather as an in-person community of faith. May God bless us all as we make this new journey together.