"Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD. (Isaiah 54:10)
The past few months have been a bit of a roller-coaster. I hope that you have had many "ups" this summer - enjoying the beautiful outdoors, visiting family, staying healthy. And yet I know many people are experiencing many "downs" as well - lost jobs and income, isolation, illness and grief. I want you to know that whatever "ups" and "downs" the roller-coaster of life brings our way, we are on this ride together as a church - and we will be here for each other in good times and bad!
After making plans to resume in-person worship in late June, Allegheny County experienced another spike in COVID cases causing us to postpone our reopening plans. As our church leaders have been evaluating the current public health guidance, I am excited to announce that we will be resuming in-person weekly worship services at 10:00am at Faith UMC on Sunday, August 16th and at 11:30am at Roots of Faith on Sunday, August 23, using the following guidelines:
- Both the Faith Church and Roots of Faith services will be live-streamed on Facebook weekly for those who choose to participate in worship virtually.
- At both Faith Church and Roots of Faith, for both outdoor and indoor services, face masks will be required, there will not be congregational singing, and chairs will be spaced with 6+ feet between families.
- Faith Church worship at 10:00am will be held outdoors, weather permitting, with both seating in chairs and drive-in options. If the ground is dry, we will worship in the Chapel-In-The-Woods, and if the ground is wet from recent rain, we will worship in the Upper Parking Lot. Those who prefer to stay in their vehicles will park behind those seated in chairs. In the event of rain, worship will be indoors in the Sanctuary.
- Sunday School will be held for children grades K-5, whether worship is outdoors or indoors, with face masks required. Nursery care for children ages 0-5 will not be offered at Faith Church or Roots of Faith.
- Roots of Faith Worship at 11:30am will be held outdoors in the Kenneth Curley Parklet with 8th street blocked off, weather permitting. In the event of rain, worship will be indoors.
- A congregational email will be sent on Sunday Mornings indicating whether Faith Church & Roots of Faith worship will be indoors or outdoors.
- Please see additional details below regarding safety procedures for Worship & other church programs.
As we are slowly re-opening our church programs, we understand that many of our church members will not be able to attend in-person at this time, and we will continue to connect with one another in safe and appropriate ways. If you are not able to attend in-person services, please know that you are part of us and we miss you and we fully understand how each of us is doing what we need to be safe. If you have any questions about these plans, please contact Pastor Scott or any member of the Leadership Board. Please be praying for our church leaders as we implement these plans, and know that we are praying for each of you as you make decisions about how to safely participate in the life of our congregation.
Pastor Scott Shaffer
Faith UMC & Roots of Faith – COVID-19 Safety Procedures – June 2020
- Weekly worship services will continue to be offered online for those who choose to participate in worship virtually.
- Please do not attend worship if you have any symptoms of being ill.
- Hand sanitizer will be available at building entrances, and in worship spaces.
- Cloth face coverings must be worn by everyone age 2 and older. Congregants are encouraged to bring their own mask, but masks will be provided for those who need them.
- All frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned after each worship service or program.
- Faith UMC Worship services will be held outdoors whenever weather permits.
- Attendees will maintain 6 feet of distance from each other at all times. No hand shaking or hugs. Worship seating will be arranged 6+ feet apart, with only families living in the same home sitting together.
- In-person worship services will not include congregational singing or choral singing. Hymnals will be removed from the sanctuary. Communion will not be served. Food and drinks will not be served.
- Multi-person restrooms will be used by only one person at a time.
- Nursery care for children 0-5 will not be offered.
- Sunday school will be offered for grades K-5, while wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.
- Bulletins will be placed on chairs or a table to be picked up, rather than being passed out by an usher.
- Offering plates will be placed at the entrance to worship spaces, rather than passing the plate.
- A designated person will record the full name of each person present, and collect contact information from persons not already in the church directory to be used for contact tracing.
Open Hours & Other Programs:
- Masks must be worn at Faith UMC office and at Roots of Faith when two or more persons are present.
- Roots of Faith Social services will be offered by appointment only, with meetings in the “main room” with 6+ feet of distance.
- Circles Sharpsburg, Messy Church, Church Committees, Bible Studies, and Small Groups will continue to meet online to include vulnerable participants.
- Some groups may have in-person events at Faith & Roots, with pastoral approval, if masks are worn and social distancing is practiced.
- The Neighborhood Table may be able to resume in modified capacity. Meals would be offered in to-go containers. Legal, Ask-the-Doctor, and Financial clinics may resume following social distancing requirements.
- Fox Hill Preschool will resume for Summer Camp programs, with safety procedures followed.