SSMUMC COVID-19 Update

May 29, 2020
 
  • PLEASE REVIEW the following regarding the church re-opening guidelines. The church will re-open for worship services on Sunday, June 21st. The document explains all the details for this re-opening. This document was sent out last week in our E-blast as an attachment and was sent Thursday in a separate email and is posted on our website for your convenience.
  • CURRENTLY -The office will be open between the hours of 8:30am and 12:30pm, Monday through Thursday. Our church will remain locked but you may contact us by phone or email.
  • Online worship only will continue until June 21st and will be Live Streamed from that Sunday forward. Both in person and online worship will be available on Sunday, June 21st.
  • No groups will meet at the church until further notice.
  • Your church staff misses you and we look forward to when we can be together again. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Please contact us if there is something we can do to be helpful.

A Plan for Reopening
St. Simons United Methodist Church

 
Love Unconditionally – Serve Enthusiastically – Advance Consistently
 
This plan for our church reopening was developed by the pastors and staff, with input and guidance from Tom Smith, Lay Leader, and John Bird Daniel, Church Council Chair. The plan was presented to and approved by our Church Council on May 21, 2020.
 
These are the first steps for reopening. Please understand that this plan is fluid. The steps will likely change as guidelines from the State, CDC, and/or South Georgia Conference are relaxed or tightened. We appreciate your flexibility and support as we continue to work through these uncertain times.
 

Worship

  1. We plan to return to in-person worship on Sunday, June 21, with services that will include a variety of worship and music styles, 9:00am and 11:00am, in the Sanctuary. This proposed start date is contingent upon the COVID-19 guidelines that will be in place at the time. Livestream worship of the 11:00 worship service will continue.
  2. A deep cleaning of the church facilities will be done before we reopen under the guidance of the Trustees. The Sanctuary, restrooms, and entrances/exits will be sanitized and disinfected after each service.
  3. Masks will be made available but are not required to enter the Sanctuary. All are welcome and encouraged to wear their own masks.
  4. Social distancing will be practiced. Seating will be in every other pew. Ushers will be available to assist everyone in seating to ensure proper spacing. Families will be allowed to sit together.
  5. There will be no printed worship guides. Everything will be removed from the pew racks. All parts of the worship service will be projected on the walls for the congregation.
  6. Entering and exiting the Sanctuary will be directed by the ushers and done in such a way that acceptable distancing guidelines are followed. Greeters will be stationed outside the doors of the entrances and
    will greet from a distance as well as offer assistance if needed.
  7. Communion will be offered on August 2 and on the first Sunday of each month thereafter. Only the servers will touch the bread; they will wear gloves and masks to serve. Individual cups will be used to serve the juice.
  8. Baptisms will be done with proper spacing being observed as much as possible. The pastors will wear gloves and mask as they baptize the individual.
  9. We will have smaller choirs in the worship service.
  10. Offering plates will not be passed during the services. They will be located at each Sanctuary entrance/exit front and back and at the entrances/exits from the balcony in the Narthex. Online giving and use of the current drop box will also be available.
  11. We will continue our greeting time in the worship services. While the greeting time will look and be done very differently, it will remain a vital part of our worship experience.
  12. A system for submitting prayer concerns and guest information electronically will be developed and in place. We will not register attendance or pass the attendance pads.
  13. Weddings/Funerals/Memorial Services may be scheduled for the Sanctuary or Chapel after June 21 using the recommendations and guidelines for worship services
 

Music

  1. The 9:00 service will not include congregational hymns and no in-person singing.
  2. The 11:00 service will include congregational hymns and limited in-person singing.
  3. Groups directly related to participating in worship services will be allowed to meet for rehearsals following the current guidelines for groups and social distancing. This includes the chancel choir and any other worship related ensembles.
 

Children and Youth

  1. Vacation Bible School (VBS) will not be held during the summer. The VBS curriculum will be used in the fall during the first “wave” on Wednesday evenings.
  2. There will be no nursery or children’s church until a later date. Families will worship together. Children’s bulletins and crayons will be provided.
  3. The children will remain in the pews for the Children’s Sermon.
  4. Summer Camps at Epworth by the Sea have been cancelled.
  5. The Gathering Place for youth will not be held in-person; it will be offered online.
 

Small Groups/Social Events/Staying Connected

  1. Small groups including Sunday School Classes, prayer groups, Bible studies, and administrative/program meetings, and any outside groups will not be allowed in the facilities until further notice. Those who wish to meet in small groups are encouraged to use home groups, Zoom meetings, conference calls and other methods to remain connected.
  2. The Congregational Connections on Facebook/YouTube will continue, but not on a daily basis. This ministry will expand to include studies offered by the pastors and church staff.
  3. We will plan for an August kick-off of Wednesday Night Ministries but will not be able to determine the actual date and what activities will be available until a later time.
  4. The church office will return to normal hours, 8:30am-4:00pm, Monday through Thursday, on June 22. The church will remain locked until further notice. If you need entrance to the church office or church facilities please call or email in advance. The Chapel Prayer Room will be open during office hours.
 

Preschool

  1. Following the current guidelines of the governor’s most recent executive order, the CDC, and the state preschool governing organizations, the preschool will reopen on Monday, June 1. This will provide an essential ministry and service to parents in our community who desire to return to their places of work.