Church Reopening Task Force Report
Dear Friends of Green Trails,
It's been a long time since we have been able to gather together. We all have expressed our desire to return to weekly Worship both as a return to our normal routine, but also to praise our loving God for the gifts and graces of our current lives within the current pandemic. A weekly oasis within the chaos of the world. Back to “normal!” At their May 18 meeting, The Green Trails Church Leadership Board appointed a Church Reopening Task Force, comprised of staff, pastors and Leadership Board members, to attempt to advance the process to return. The Task Force, first and foremost, was guided by a communal sense of care and safety for all, and prayers for discernment to follow the right directions to return. Bishop Robert Farr of the Missouri Annual Conference urged all Churches to follow the directions of the local agencies and governments, and to defer to return to in-person Worship in the most conservative timeline possible. He also reminded us a conservative, cautious approach is consistent with John Wesley’s principle of “Do No
The Task Force had an initial meeting on May 26, and distributed a survey on May 28 to our congregation. The survey was aimed at determining where the congregation is with the prospect of returning to in-person Worship, what would make congregants comfortable to return and when, among other details. The survey was distributed via email and those without email were called and asked to respond via phone interview. Approximately 40% of those contacted responded to the survey. However, anecdotally it was determined that approximately 90% of our regular Worship attendees were able to respond.
After analyzing the response data, your Task Force was able to compile a Phased Reopening Process that is outlined below.
Things to note: We are in Phase 1.
We will enter into Phase 2 on July 1.
Phase 3 has no current date attached. The Task Force will further evaluate after June 29 when the second phase of St. Louis County reopening guidelines are implemented, which allows for 50% capacity. If there continues to be a steady or decreased number of Covid-19 cases locally, the Task Force will move to Phase 3. The Task Force will also closely monitor the decisions made by the local School boards as to when we can safely enter into Phase 3 and 4. The School Boards are making their announcements on July 15.
Phase 4 could be sometime down the road, including the possibility of 2021. Fully opening at this point is a bit overwhelming and not seemingly wise at our current worldview. However, we know that the only certainty is uncertainty, so things could change. The Task Force will meet frequently and evaluate fully at each juncture.
Green Trails UMC Reopening Phases Green Trails Church will follow the guidelines of local health officials, district and conference leadership, and established scientific sources in order to keep people as healthy and safe as possible.
Phase 1: Facility unavailable: March 15 through June 30, 2020 Worship: Online only. Faith formation (all ages): Online only. Generosity: Online, text, or mail in only. Mission & Service: Support the work of local agencies. Invitation & Hospitality: Social media interactions and phone calls. Congregational Care: Phone calls only. Officing: Only essential staff on site.
Phase 2: Facility partially available: July 1, 2020 Worship: Online only, and groups may gather in homes to worship together if practicing distancing guidelines. Faith Formation (all ages): Online encouraged. Small groups may gather in homes if distancing guidelines are met. Generosity: Online, text, or mail in only. Mission & Service: Continue collaboration with local agencies. May gather off site for small service projects if distancing guidelines are met. Invitation & Hospitality: Social media interactions and phone calls. Congregational Care: Phone calls only. Officing: Staff may be on site if distancing guidelines are met.
Phase 3: Facility mostly available Worship: Online and in person with intentional distancing practices in place. Faith Formation (all ages): Groups may gather in homes or in the building if distancing guidelines are met. Groups may continue to meet online or blended. Generosity: Online, text, mail in, and drop into a basket in worship (no plates). Mission & Service: May use building for service projects if distancing guidelines are met. Invitation & Hospitality: Welcome Team and staff modelling and encouraging safe greeting practices. Congregational Care: All visits permitted if distancing guidelines are met. Officing: Staff may be on site if distancing guidelines are met.
Phase 4: Facility fully available Worship: Online and in person. Faith Formation (all ages): Groups meet wherever they desire. Generosity: All methods of giving permitted. Mission & Service: May use building for all service projects. Invitation & Hospitality: Welcome Team and staff aware of safe greeting practices. Congregational Care: All visits permitted. Officing: Staff may be on site.
As this important work continues, your Task Force asks: Please be in prayer for your Task Force and the work that is being done on all our behalf. Please be in prayer for Pastor Kurt as he retires and Pastor Linda as she transitions to her work at Green Trails Church. Please be in prayer for each other and the continued health and well-being of all those that call UMCGT home. Please join us in Mission and Service for Porch Drop Tuesday.
Your Task Force and Leadership Board will be in prayer for you, our World, our community and our congregation. We are still here and in ministry. We continue to pray and work as a community of faith and will work to be here in a post-pandemic World!
Blessings and peace until we can gather again, Green Trails Church Reopening Task Force: Pastor Linda Settles. Pastor Rocky Marlowe Amee Colvin, Director of Outreach Ministries, Julie Fels, UMCGT Leadership Board Member Rita Goddard, Director of Connectional Ministries Zufan Halimariam, Business Manager Dr. Jeffrey Heyl, Director of Music and Worship Arts Barry Streeter, UMCGT Leadership Board Member