UPDATE AUGUST 27: A Message from the Re-Entry Team re: pausing indoor gatherings, Sept – Oct 10
Returning to In-Person Gatherings for Oak Grove Presbyterian Church
INDOOR WORSHIP: Indoor worship and all indoor gatherings are paused September 1 – October 10.
9:00 AM – In-person, outdoor worship service (see details below).
In-Person Outdoor Worship Guidelines/Protocols
We are so very excited to begin to worship in person again on June 27 for our 9AM outdoor worship service. Below are some details and protocols that we ask everyone follow when we meet for outdoor worship.
- No RSVP’s will be needed for outdoor worship.
- Worship will occur on a portion of the lower (northern) parking lot on the side with the railroad tracks. The congregation is invited to sit (physically distanced) on the pavement and in the median under the trees and by the rain garden.
- You may park in the upper (southern) parking lot and on the northern most side of the lower (northern) parking lot. You may also park in the overflow parking lots (at the Old Town Hall, Funeral Home, and the white building next to the nursery). You will not be able to cross the railroad tracks in-between the upper and lower parking lots.
- Please plan to bring a chair or blanket (and maybe some sunscreen, a hat, and water)
- Please keep six feet of distance between households. Please greet each other while maintaining six feet of social distance as we continue to welcome one another, delight in our company, and protect the most vulnerable in our congregation and community.
- All attendees will mask when singing or when speaking communal liturgy. Unvaccinated members are encouraged to mask during the entirety of the service. Singing along with the hymns is welcomed and encouraged as you wear your masks.
- Leaders will be separated by more than 6 feet from congregation. Leaders, who are vaccinated, can remove masks when leading.
- We ask that you not stay after worship to fellowship.
- We ask persons to stay home if they are sick or if they have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- If within 14 days after worshipping in person at Oak Grove, you test positive for COVID-19 or learn you were exposed to a COVID-19 positive person prior to worshipping in person at Oak Grove, please contact the church office to let them know.
- If there is inclement weather, or the threat of bad weather, we will send an email by 8:15 AM to let you know if the outdoor service has been cancelled. You may also call the church office and the voicemail greeting will indicate if the outdoor worship service has been cancelled due to bad weather.
We affirm that our desire is to gather in person for worship. We also affirm that safety and care for the community is of primary importance. Holding these two affirmations in tension with one another, we are using the following to help guide decision making:
- The virus is still active in the community. Because of this, gathering in person still contains risk and actions to reduce that risk are necessary.
- While there are effective vaccines available, we also know not all persons are eligible yet to receive vaccines. In addition, not all who are eligible may be able to get the vaccine.
- Gathering indoors with recycled air (Air conditioning that does not refresh regularly with outside air) for extended periods of time poses the highest risk to spread the virus.
- There are two things to mitigate the spread of the virus:
- Being vaccinated
- Good hygiene practices and established Covid protocols remain the only other effective strategy, including wearing masks, handwashing, masking, and physical distancing. Physical distancing will be required until a vaccine is widely available, effective, and used by a majority of persons.
- We will use the most recent scientific and medical data available at the time it is available.
- Theological framing is just as important as science and medical considerations. Love of neighbor, care for the most vulnerable, and the inclusive love of God are central to our decision-making process.
- Kingdom (Church) economies are different than retail economies. Our benchmark is less about returning to business as usual, as soon as possible, and more about ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our congregation—even if that means making difficult decisions centered on what we should do rather than what we can do.
- We will ensure that connection is available to all, whether it is through in-person or on-line opportunities.
- We will be flexible and ready to move between phases or adapt within a phase. This will not be a linear process.
- We will monitor key indicators and trends to move from one step to another (or back again, if necessary). These indicators and trends include vaccination rate of the community and of church members, infection rates, positivity rate, numbers of new daily cases, and hospital capacity and stress level.
- We will assume a posture of flexibility and experimentation as we progress. We will seek to be adaptive and creative as we consider how to be most safe, and some things will look different than before.
**Vaccination is the best prevention from the virus and widespread vaccination is the quickest way to increase the safety and well-being of Oak Grove members. We encourage all those involved in Oak Grove to get vaccinated understanding that some cannot be vaccinated.**