Congregational Survey Being Sent Out
In my conversations over the last month, I observed that we are all dealing with what I call, “Corona Fatigue.” We are all tired of the Coronavirus and the isolation it has caused from social distancing. More and more members of our congregation have shared with me that they are ready to return to in-person worship services.
As the Leadership Team struggles with the decision of when to re-start in-person worship, I want us to be careful to not make a decision out of fatigue, but with much thought, wisdom, and discernment.
I want to share a little history of where we have been:
Back in May, we originally said we would not re-open the church until the number of new infections dropped to ten or below in Miami County within a two-week period. When we made that decision that number was at sixteen and dropping. At that time the Leadership Team really believed we would be back in church within two weeks. However, since June 1st we have seen a steady rise, not just in new cases but also in hospitalizations and even deaths within our county. Here are the numbers broken down into two- week periods for Miami County:
June 1-14, there were 26 new cases, 4 hospitalizations, and 0 deaths.
June 15-28, there were 38 new cases, 2 hospitalizations, and 1 death.
June 29-July 12, there were 81 new cases, 4 hospitalizations, and 0 deaths.
July 13-26, there were 163 new cases, 13 hospitalizations, and 4 deaths.
July 27-Aug. 2, there were 144 new cases, 9 hospitalizations, and 3 deaths.
Aug.10-23, there were 105 new cases, 10 hospitalizations, and 3 deaths.
In June, a person with COVID-19 attended a church service in Ohio that led to 91 additional people contracting the virus by July 4th. (This did not happen in Miami County.) I share this story so we know the risk involved with re-starting in-person worship services. Studies show that indoor church services can be one of the most high-risk environments for spread of the virus if proper precautions are not taken.
Knowing what we do today about the virus, I feel that the better number to base our decisions off of would be the current hospitalization numbers versus the new case numbers. My biggest concern today would be if the virus was overloading our hospitals. That being said, the Leadership Team is ready to consider new guidelines for re-starting in-person worship services.
At our last Leadership Team meeting, on Wednesday, August 19th, the Leadership Team (with input from congregational members who joined the meeting through Zoom) made the decision to survey the congregation to see how many people would attend in-person services if we re-open the church for Sunday Worship. This survey will be sent through email to all members who are currently getting emails sent from our office. If you are not currently on that list, and you would like to be added, you can contact the church office. Surveys will be emailed out on Tuesday, September 8th and will need to be completed by Monday, September 14th. If you do not have an email address, but would like to offer your input, you can contact the church office by phone Tuesday - Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and noon.
The Leadership Team will make their decision on whether or not to restart in-person worship based on the response we get from these surveys. The decision to re-open or not will be made at our Leadership Team meeting scheduled for Wednesday, September 16th. Members are welcome to attend this meeting in person if you are willing to wear a mask or you can join the meeting by Zoom. We will email the Zoom link meeting information on Tuesday, September 15th.
Thank you for your patience as the Leadership Team has taken an abundance of caution, knowing the weight of this decision. If we do decide to re-open for in-person worship, we will continue an online worship option for those not comfortable with worshiping in-person. May God grant us knowledge and wisdom as we make this decision.
Grace and peace!