RELAXING COVID RESTRICTIONS

After two years of COVID shaping how we could be church, the Eden Prairie UMC Pandemic Response Team has assessed that the transmission level in our community is low enough, that we can remove nearly all of the safety protocols we have had in place. As we lift many of our restrictions, we also want to accommodate your ability to choose what feels safe to you.

 

Masking at church is optional.  The only exception is that adults will wear masks when they are working with children under 5 (those unable to be vaccinated). While masks are not required to participate in nearly all of the activities at the church, you are welcome to wear a mask for whatever reason. Some people, including some staff, will continue to mask in certain situations. Please respect another’s personal decision. If you do not feel well or have a cough or cold, please decide either to worship with us online or wear a mask while at the church. We want to do everything we can to keep one another healthy.

 

Social distancing restriction are lifted in the building.  You may sit / stand wherever you like. Again we ask that you respect one another’s comfort zones, offering space to one another or asking if you have left enough space for your neighbor to feel comfortable. If you prefer to continue social distancing while in worship, we invite you to sit in the “reserved” section in front of the sound booth, leaving six feet between you and others in that space. Families who do not want their children seen on the livestream video can also sit in the same section.

 

Food may be served in the building.  The Connect Team is organizing a celebration / fellowship time on Easter Sunday morning at 9:15 a.m. (between the 8:30 and 10:00 a.m. worship services). After Easter Sunday, we will return to having fellowship with food every Sunday after the 10 a.m. worship service. In order to create options, we ask that food and drink on Sunday mornings be consumed only in the Fellowship Hall (or outside when the weather permits). Space in the narthex / gathering area is for those  who do not wish to be around people eating and drinking. Food and drink will be served to you by a limited number of people wearing gloves, a best practice no matter what. If you want to help in some way with the fellowship time after Easter, please contact Deb Soderholm or Bruce Webster to volunteer, or email the church office. 

 

The return date of a staffed nursery is yet to be determined, but will be some time in the coming weeks. On Easter Sunday we want all children in worship, as any noises they make will be a part of our great celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. Kay Comerford will be a steady presence with our littlest ones; she looks forward to joining other volunteers to create this safe and welcoming space for our youngest children. If you would like to spend a Sunday serving in the nursery ministry (where worship is livestreamed on a monitor), please contact Rachel Casper.  Parents, let me say again, when the nursery opens some time in the coming weeks, adults working in the nursery will be masked for the safety of your child.

 

We open the building completely to you and your small group or gatherings. You can use the building as we did before the pandemic, sharing food and beverage as appropriate. As you lead your small group, continue to make space for people who for any reason choose to wear a mask or join you remotely.  We are working on the necessary technology to make hybrid gatherings of small groups and teams easier.

 

I confidently told the staff two years ago, that no matter what Sunday we returned to worship in the sanctuary, we would sing the Hallelujah Chorus. My naiveté has given way to reality so many times during the pandemic that I wasn’t sure when we would do that. But given these changes I've shared, I cannot wait to join my voice with yours on Easter Sunday, especially, as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and the ability to sing “Hallelujah,” anyhow.

Blessings,

Pastor Becky Jo

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