written by the Pandemic Transition Team*
At the council’s request, a team of folks from our congregation formed to do an in-depth look at what conditions would need to be met for Our Redeemer’s to begin to hold in-person worship services together, both indoors and outdoors.
Our team attended our synodically-hosted Zoom meeting for all congregational leaders on March 28. At that meeting we learned many recommendations about both the Seattle and King County phase 3 COVID requirements for public gatherings, particularly for churches, which included but were not limited to:
- Hold outdoor services on the organization’s property with up to 400 individuals, so long as six feet of physical distancing can be achieved between households in all directions.
- Outdoor services may be conducted under an outdoor structure (temporary or permanent) so long as the structure is not walled/enclosed on more than two sides to provide appropriate ventilation.
- Hold or provide in-home services inside a person’s residence with up to ten total individuals.
We took into account a variety of scenarios and considerations:
- Indoor & Outdoor in-person Sunday service options with live-streaming options
- Our Redeemer’s Mission statement & community impact
- Construction timeline and access to building in early September
- Current staff capacity for additional logistics needed
- Interest in gathering in-person
- Takeaways good and bad from Easter Sunrise and pilot June 2020 outdoor service
- Logistics and budget required for full outdoor, in-person hybrid services
- Utilities, music, chairs/seating, stage equipment, weather, setup/worship support
After much discussion, the following recommendations were made to our church council:
1. An abbreviated outdoor/in-person weekly service will start Thursday, May 6, 2021, 7:00 PM.
– It will be a 20 minute Compline (Evening Prayer) service, 1x weekly in the church parking lot.
– This service will NOT be live streamed.
2. Transition to indoor/in-person services with live streaming for virtual worship to begin in September 2021. Create transition plan for indoor/in-person services for early-mid August.
3. Small Group Guidelines: If you are in a small group that would like to meet in person, it is recommended that you meet outdoors, masked, and social distanced, regardless of vaccination status.
We look forward to announcing our compline service times, and to working together to meet safely in our newly refurbished sanctuary as soon as it is safely possible. Thank you all so much for your patience, and your safety, and your prayers. This has been a long haul, and we are looking forward to the end of the road.
*The Pandemic Transition Team: Pastor Gretchen Mertes, Karie Stearns (our Parish Administrator), Sam Altenberger (emergency management expert), Heather Cook (attorney), Barbara Dougherty (nurse), Michael Hammett (data analysis), Julie Vannoy (nurse), and Kim Ward (project management). Huge thanks to this team that volunteered their time and expertise to helping figure out a path forward for us.