Tag: Covid 19

Suspending In-person Worship Due to COVID – Delta Variant Surge

August 13, 2021

The Church Council and I have talked and prayed and (honestly) cussed as we grappled with our very torn feelings about what to do regarding in-person worship in the light of the rapidly rising numbers of COVID during this Delta surge.

With this in mind, the Faith Church Council has decided to move to online/Zoom worship services until further notice. This decision is effective immediately and means that there will be no in-person service this Sunday (8/15/2021).   

None of us want to go back to Zoom-only, even just for a few weeks. It seems most to all of our folks, except our children under 12, are vaccinated. Everyone has been SO gracious about masking properly, giving distance, staying home if exposed, and self-selecting to worship with us via Zoom if they feel at risk–which has also served to keep the numbers in our sanctuary at a lower and safer number.

AND…

Though the risks of death and serious illness to those fully vaccinated are low, they still exist and already we are finding some having more long-term effects from this variant, even if vaccinated. I personally know over 3 dozen vaccinated persons who have had breakthrough infections with severe symptoms and at least 6 of those I know of had to be hospitalized.  

The Herald-Zeitung reported yesterday Comal County’s hospital usage hit an all-time high number of patients being cared for with COVID and I’ve heard from some of you that friends with other serious medical conditions are being turned away from hospitals because there is no more room to care for them.

The head of the ICU of one of our local hospitals shared that healthcare workers are breaking down and feeling betrayed now more than ever. I’m seeing the same in my students and clients in healthcare. The patients they are caring for and venting are MUCH younger than ever before and our children are being hit harder by this surge than any other, which impacts us all emotionally that much more. 

Most of our children and teachers are returning this week to classrooms where masks cannot be required, so numbers are expected to only go up significantly in the coming weeks.

We made the decision to return to in-person worship (along with continuing Zoom) June 27th when the number of daily cases remained under 20 per 100,000 people in Comal County for more than 14 days. As of this past Sunday, that number was 66 per 100,000 and that number is projected to climb to 121 by this Sunday and 135 by the following (8/22).  

You can see the numbers and forecast by state and county through the Mayo Clinic website here https://www.mayoclinic.org/coronavirus-covid-19/map/texas

Therefore, we have decided to resume Zoom-only services for a period of weeks as we watch the numbers and await cooler weather that will allow outdoor services until worshiping indoors again feels safer for us all.  We do not yet know what this means for those who rent our space, and will be making those decisions and discussing our thoughts with them in the coming days.

TO BE CLEAR, WE ARE NOT CLOSING!!! The church is not closed. WE ARE THE CHURCH (yes, I’m shout-talking, here!) and the Still-Speaking God has MUCH to say in and to and through us in the coming weeks.  

So please: 

Come to worship on Zoom and come on camera–we need each other and to see each others’ faces and hear each others’ voices.  

Continue to give as you are able–giving is up by about $13,000 compared to this time last year, but we’re still about $5,000 below budget. Rather than pinching pennies, skimping on our needs, and being distracted by anxiety about our financial health and sustainability, I’d rather spend our time serving and finding new ways to meet the needs of our community.

Keep inviting your friends, even those out of state–now more than ever people need community and want one that matches their beliefs and lives but cannot find that in their community. We can be that place for them.

Engage in our social media–share posts, share recordings of our services, send me items you think would work well to be shared on our Faith Facebook page. Visitors are finding us on-line and through our website. The bigger our presence there, the easier it is for them to find us.

Prepare to participate in discussions with our Pastoral Search Committee about the future of Faith Church and where God is calling us.

Prepare to participate in a Zoom study on the book of Job later in September. 

Prepare to participate in an on-line watch party of a movie with a spiritual theme and then to discuss it afterward (it’s called Reel Faith and is tremendously fun!).

Reach out and ask myself and Council questions as you have them and if you hear others with questions or concerns, please send them to us directly so we can be clear and communicate openly with one another.

And more importantly, do not despair, but join us in seeking God’s face about where God can work through this circumstance to bring the most good, the most healing, and use us to spread the Good News of God’s hope amongst ourselves and to those around us.

Peace be with us all,
Pastor Carla

Worship in the Sanctuary Starting Sunday November 8th!!!

Greetings Faith UCC,

The church council and Pastor Scott Martin have approved plans to safely resume in-person worship services. We have chosen November 8, 2020 at 10:30am as our start date. We look forward to being together again, but we must all do our part to ensure the health of those who choose to attend. Below are the guidelines that have been adopted.

  1. Masks must be worn by all attendees over 2 years of age and kept on during the entire worship service. If anyone arrives without a mask, one will be provided to them.
  2. Temperature checks will be done upon arrival. Anyone with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher will not be admitted. If you feel sick or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please remain at home. 
  3. An usher will seat all people in order to maximize our seating capacity while maintaining the 6 foot social distancing between family units. Ushers will fill the sanctuary from front to back and empty it at the end of the service from back to front. Please remain in your seat until directed to exit by the usher.
  4. Please do not gather and socialize closely in the pews, aisles or Narthex upon entry or exit. For now, there will be no coffee time following the service. We hope to return to this once the pandemic is over. 
  5. Nursery services will not be provided. In-person Sunday school and youth activities will not yet resume. Children should sit with their families and will remain there during the children’s time of the service. 
  6. To begin, there will be no congregational singing. The pastor, liturgist, soloist or anyone speaking or singing without a mask should be 15 feet or more from the congregation. If Covid case numbers remain low, we hope later to add congregational singing with masks in place.
  7. Prepackaged communion elements will be used and available for pick-up upon entry so the elements will not have to be passed from person to person 
  8. An offering basket will be placed at the entrance to the sanctuary. Offering plates will not be passed. 
  9. Pastor Scott will light the candles at prayer time and prayer requests will be taken from the pews so that people will not need to get up and move around during the service. 
  10. One person at a time will be allowed in the restrooms and a person will be designated each Sunday to clean bathroom surfaces between users.

We will continue to broadcast our worship services on ZOOM and recommend those at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (older adults and people with serious underlying conditions) continue to worship in that manner. We ask your patience and understanding during this time and your respect for the fact that people may have different comfort levels with being physically close to other people.

If you are willing to be a greeter, usher, or restroom monitor, please let Mary Owen know (830-265-0570 or maryjeanowen@att.net). Thanks. If you have any questions or suggestions, please call Mary Owen, Chairperson of the Reopening Committee, or Pastor Scott. Thanks to everyone for your continued prayers and support during these difficult times. We look forward to seeing you in our sanctuary or on ZOOM.

We look forward to being together again,

Faith UCC Council 

© 2022

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑