The full written plan, of which this is only a summary, is available for review at the church, or can be provided digitally upon request.
As churches consider reconvening for services, we ask you to remain united in Christ and to unite in mission. Among our members are various viewpoints, whether political, social, economic, or religious. We have been physically distanced for weeks; as we discuss our eventual return to regular meetings, let us disciple the members to “love one another” avoiding the judging of each other as we begin to blend our church families once again.
Justin C. Lyons, President, MN Conference SDA Church
Persons who should refrain from attendance and stay home until conditions have changed:
- are vulnerable, or may be at higher risk for severe illness,
- are symptomatic or have been exposed to someone who is symptomatic in the last 14 days,
- have a household member experiencing symptoms compatible with COVID-19,
- have had recent contact with known or suspected cases of COVID-19, or
- are uncomfortable for any reason to congregate with others.
A Greeter or Deacon at the main entrance will ask all Members and Visitors entering to acknowledge a posted self-screening questionnaire before entering the church (questions attached).
As of Saturday July 25th , 2020, people in Minnesota are required to wear a face covering in all public indoor spaces. The Executive Order exempts people who are unable to wear a face covering due to a medical or mental health condition or disability, and allows people to temporarily remove their face covering while communicating with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing or who has a condition or disability that makes communication difficult. Masks will be available for people who do not arrive with one. Face coverings are NOT a substitute for maintaining a physical distance of 6-feet from other people.
All are asked to maintain proper distancing of six feet at all times. Seating in the Sanctuary is limited to every second pew to facilitate social distancing policies, however, individuals from the same household should sit together. Only members of the same household should sit together in the pew and maintain a distance of at least six feet from other households or individuals. Keep children with the family and escort your children to the restroom. Participants from separate households should not interact from closer than six feet before, during, or after the service. Participants are encouraged to regularly wash and/or sanitize their hands. Anti-bacterial hand soap and hand sanitizer will be available.
Total room occupancy is limited to accommodate the required distancing of at least six feet between people who do not live in the same household. The 50% reduced capacity of the sanctuary is 96 people. Upon reaching maximum allowed capacity in the sanctuary, the Fellowship Hall will serve as overflow only if required and is otherwise not in use. The reduced capacity of the fellowship hall is 39. Some areas of the building will be restricted: 1st floor classrooms, and kitchen, and the third floor.
No printed bulletins will be handed out. Hymnals and bibles have been removed as they cannot be effectively cleaned. Instead we will use the projector and screen to guide participants through the order of service, bible quotes, and hymns. Play bags will be available for small children and should then be taken home or disposed of. The offering plates have been replaced by a stationary collection box at the back of the sanctuary. Windows in the sanctuary will be kept open. Singing is a higher-risk activity as it more forcefully expels respiratory droplets and aerosols than speaking does. Congregations are strongly encouraged to maintain optimum distancing from anyone else not in their family group if singing during the service.
Cleaning materials will be available after the service for each family to clean their own area. Any used cleaning wipes should be disposed of in waste baskets. A Deacon will direct entering and exiting to maintain proper distancing. Please remain seated after the service until released. Thorough cleaning will take place on Sundays if interested in helping.
We will continue to provide virtual services, phone contact, and other outreach to vulnerable community members. Some of our members may not feel comfortable resuming in-person contact for a longer time. We respect their decisions and will continue to remain connected in other ways. If there is evidence of COVID-19 spread within our community, we may need to stop offering in-person services until it is safe to return. We will cooperate with local and state health department if that situation arises.
This plan is intended to facilitate safe practices that will allow in-person services to resume, if in modified fashion. It attempts to mitigate risk, help protect the vulnerable, and be consistent with current local jurisdiction guidance. Each individual’s personal safety is still a personal responsibility.