Re-Opening Plan
Updated March 26, 2021
 
SUMMARY:  We continue to offer live weekly worship services at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday’s and 9:00 a.m. on Sundays.  The Re-Opening Team recently met and raised our worship limits from 75 to 125, using both the worship space and fellowship hall in order to maintain social distancing.  Thanks to an update of our Annual Conference’s COVID policy, we are now having “soft singing” during our worship services.  However, in order to do that, masks in worship are now mandatory.
 
Our facility continues to be closed to outside groups but we expect that to be changing either late this spring or this summer.  The Re-Opening Team will be meeting toward the end of May to review our policies. 
 
 
Re-Opening Plan
Updated February 2, 2021
 
SUMMARY: We have re-opened as of January 24 with in person worship at 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays and 9:00 a.m. on Sundays.  Sunday school has resumed at 9:45 p.m. with Middle School youth group on Wednesday evenings at 6:00 p.m. and Senior High youth group at 7:30 p.m.  Our doors are open during office hours.  For all activities, we continue to urge people to wear masks and socially distance. 
 
The declining COVID-19 numbers in Floyd County have allowed us to re-open, starting on January 24, 2021.  This includes

Trinity will be re-opening on Sunday, January 24!  The case numbers for Floyd County have improved to the point that we will be returning to the protocols that were in place prior to the November 11 shut-down.  Specifically…

WORSHIP:   In person worship resumes this Sunday, January 24, with the 9:00 a.m. worship service.  People are urged to wear masks and socially distance and attendance will continue to be limited to 50 in the centrum and 25 each in Wesley Hall and the Concourse (overflow).  Congregational singing and coffee time will continue to be suspended.  The 5:00 p.m. Saturday night service will resume once Sunday morning attendance reaches 50.  Services will still be shortened to limit possible exposure. 

FUNERALS and WEDDINGS:  The same restrictions that we have on worship also apply to funerals and weddings.  Funeral dinners will not be offered until further notice.

SUNDAY SCHOOL and YOUTH GROUP:  Sunday School can resume as soon as the teachers are ready.  Same with youth group.  Masks and social distancing, sanitizing and no singing protocols would continue to be in effect.  Due to the shorter worship services, Sunday school will resume at 9:45 a.m. as they were before. 

CONFIRMATION:  Live confirmation will also start up this Sunday, January 24 and will be at 10:00 a.m. rather than 10:30 a.m. 

OPEN DOORS:  The main door will be unlocked and anyone entering the building is urged to continue wearing masks, distance, etc. 

MEETINGS:  Meetings can continue with a limit of 10-12 people with masks and distancing.  Use of larger spaces such as Wesley Hall, Asbury Hall, the Concourse or the Centrum are encouraged.  The building will continue to be closed to non-church groups. 

WALKERS:  Walkers are allowed when the building is open. 

 

 
 
Re-Opening Plan
Updated January 9, 2021
 

 

Dear Trinity family—

Welcome to 2021!  As we begin a new year, we continue to deal with COVID-19.  Trinity’s Re-Opening Team has been emailing back and forth this week, discussing our next steps.  On November 10, 2020 Bishop Laurie Haller and the cabinet issued a “directive” for Iowa United Methodist Churches to suspend in-person gatherings at least until after January 10.  November and early December saw a large spike across Iowa.  In fact, for a while all of Iowa’s congressional districts were in the top ten hot spots for the whole nation!  Thankfully, things have calmed down considerably from back then.  On January 4, the bishop sent a communication to the churches of Iowa announcing that the directive would be allowed to expire after the 10th.  Along with that news, she encouraged congregations to watch their county numbers as they consider re-opening. 

When this week started, our assumption was that we would beginning re-opening the church.  In fact, my first email to the Re-Opening Team this past Tuesday was a proposal to re-open the church January 11th.  However, the numbers in Floyd County started rising on Wednesday.  The 7-day positivity average has gone from 9% to 12% while the 14-day average went from 11% to 15%.  Annual Conference guidelines recommend that once this second figure goes over 15% the church go from “yellow” (cautious re-opening) to “red” status.  Given the fact that Floyd County’s rate is on the rise, the Re-Opening Team wants to wait and see how the situation develops before announcing any changes.  Is this just a slight post-holiday blip that will begin to go back down next week or is it the beginning of another surge?  My guess is that it will be more of a blip than a major surge but who knows?  For now, the Re-Opening Team seems to be in agreement that we pause on re-opening and re-evaluate the situation next week.  Our hope is to be able to proceed with re-opening either January 24th or 31st but that will depend on what happens in the coming days. 

We know that we have members who are very hesitant to return to in-person activities and we have members who are very eager to return to in-person activities.  Our thinking through all of this has been that if we do what we can to make sure we open safely, the greatest number of our members will be comfortable returning to live church. 

It hasn’t been easy to strike a balance between being overly cautious and not cautious enough.  The other day I saw an article about a church in Boston that had four Christmas Eve services and thought they were being careful.  Forty-four people who attended later tested positive.  This morning I talked to a pastor whose had some people who insisted on getting together at the church on Christmas Eve.  Two of those people tested positive.  On the other hand, there are churches who seem to be getting away with few if any precautions.  Like so many things right now, what you believe depends on who you listen to.  Our Re-Opening Team has turned to the Annual Conference for guidance as a way to protect our congregation members and continues to rely largely on the guidance they are offering.  (After all, we’re paying them for that guidance—right?) 

We ask for your understanding and your prayers—prayers not only for our Re-Opening Team but for our congregation members (especially those who are most vulnerable to the virus and to the effects of the on-going isolation being caused by the virus), our community and the world. 

God bless you all!

Pastor Steve

 
Re-Opening Plan
Updated November 10, 2020
Due to the rising number of coronavirus cases in our area, we have shut down once again until further notice.  Online worship will continue to be offered but other activities are postponed.
 
Re-Opening Plan
Updated October 16, 2020…
 
Temporary  Schedule Change
We are still trying to limit the length of worship services to 30 minutes (although we’re closer to 40 minutes).  Because worship is getting out earlier we want to avoid having everybody just hanging around until Sunday School.  So we’re starting Sunday School at 9:45 a.m. and aiming at 30 minutes.  This may change as the coronavirus situation develops so stay tuned.  Here’s our  Sunday morning schedule starting October 25th:
 
9:00 a.m.  Worship
9:45 a.m.  Sunday School
10:30 a.m. Confirmation
 
Sunday School:
As noted above, Sunday School has been cleared to begin on Sunday, October 25, 2020.  We will follow the same precautions as the local public schools (no singing, social distancing, masks when social distancing isn’t possible, hand sanitizer, etc.) 
 
Youth Group:
It will be announced on Sunday, October 18, 2020, that we have hired a part-time youth director.  Due to other commitments, she will only be with us on Wednesday evenings until the end of the year.  Current plans are to begin youth group on April 28.  However, the schedule is uncertain and there will have to be changes from our pre-coronavirus program.  Youth will be contacted when details are available.
 
WORSHIP STATUS:
Trinity United Methodist Church is having live worship at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings.   Masks are strongly encouraged as a statement of love and support for those who concerned about contracting the virus.  Worshipers are encouraged to maintain social distancing while in the facility and our rule of thumb is “6 feet and 3 chairs” between family units.  Worship attendance limit to a total of 100 people with a limit of 75 people in the centrum (sanctuary) and Wesley Hall, and an overflow area for 25 people in the concourse.  Pre-registration is not necessary.  However, we are recording contact information. 
 
Saturday Night Worship
To further help spread people out, we are going to try adding a Saturday night worship service at 5:00 p.m. starting November 7th.  We recommend that persons who may be at a higher risk with the coronavirus may want to try worship on Saturday evening when there are fewer children and youth who have been in school all week.  The Saturday night worship service will be identical to the Sunday morning service. 
 
Goal:  30 Minute
Our goal is to offer a 30-minute worship services and Sunday school.  Studies suggest that limiting time together reduces the potential of catching the virus. 
 
Online Worship
Online worship will continue to be offered.  Once the Saturday night service starts up, our plan is to use a video of that service for online worship rather than pre-recording and editing the service during the week.  This may delay when the service is available online but will result in a significantly reduced burden on the pastor and organist. 
 
 
Building Unlocked
The east main door will be unlocked during office hours.  Anyone entering the building will be required to sign-in and strongly encouraged to wear a mask as an expression of love for our staff and other people in the building. 
 
Church Meetings
Church gatherings in the building will continue to be limited to 10 participants with masks and social distancing. 
 
Christmas 2020
Christmas at Trinity will be different this year in the shadow of the virus.  It is difficult to imagine that we will be able to lift all the precautions before the Christmas season.  Our large traditional Christmas gatherings such as our Sunday school program, Christmas Extravaganza and Christmas Eve worship will have to be modified.  The Re-Opening Team has started to discuss these plans and is open to suggestions.  We may be looking at online events, either pre-recorded or live or a combination of both. 
 
Outside Groups
The facility remains closed to outside groups at this time.  This could change as the virus situation changes in coming months. 
 
Chancel and Bell Choir
The chancel choir is on hold for now.  Bell choir can begin as soon as enough bell choir members feel comfortable getting together.  Social distancing and masking guidelines will be followed for practices and performances. 
 
Trinity Walkers
The facility has been opened up to Trinity Walkers during church office hours.  Walkers will not be allowed to walk through Asbury Hall due to the use of that room being limited to preschool for the time being. 
 
Central Preschool
Central Preschool is an independent entity and is responsible for making their own precaution decisions.  Our custodian will continue to clean their rooms twice a week as has been the practice.  However, any additional de-sanitizing is the responsibility of Central Preschool staff. 
 

          The Re-Opening Team will continue to monitor the local situation and make adjustments as necessary.  In the case of an upsurge of cases in our area, we could reinstate the shutdown of our facility in cooperation with local authorities to help control the spread of the virus. 

 
 
 

Re-Opening Plan

for Trinity United Methodist Church

Charles City, Iowa

Approved June 16, 2020

 

GOAL:  To re-open Trinity United Methodist Church in a manner that reassures our members and guests that we share their concern for safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

GENERAL PLAN OVERVIEW:  Follow the guidelines from the Annual Conference

  • Begin live worship with a “soft opening” June 21 and 28, limiting attendance to 50 pre-registered congregants and using generally accepted precautions
  • Continue online services
  • Funerals and weddings will follow worship guidelines
  • Evaluate initial services and make adjustments for July and August worship.
  • Facility: Remain locked with limited access to the building
  • Church meetings of 10 or less allowed
  • Non-church meetings still not allowed

 

WORSHIP

At risk members and guests are encouraged to remain at home and participate through our online or radio services.

Anyone who is experiencing any symptoms should remain at home. 

Worshipers are encouraged to take their own temperature at home before coming to worship.

Start with one worship service at 9:00 a.m., limiting the number of participants to 50.  Members will be invited to pre-register through the church office.  20% of the seating will be reserved for visitors and unregistered members. This will help us tweak our procedures and begin to get people used to those procedures.  It will also give us an idea of possible worship attendance as we make plans for July and August.

Implement safety procedures as recommended by the Annual Conference and other sources, including…

  • Only the east parking lot door will be open.
  • Social distancing of 6-10 feet before, during and after services. Some chairs will be removed and remaining chairs spaced.
  • Very strongly encouraging everyone to wear masks while in the building and strongly encouraging those who are able to wear masks through the service. Members are encouraged to bring their own masks but extra masks will be available.
  • Availability and use of hand sanitizer
  • Sanitize as recommended
  • No congregational singing or responses (special music is allowed at 10-12 feet from front row)
  • Remove the hymnals and songbooks from the chairs
  • No bulletins will be available but an announcement sheet will be provided following the services as people leave
  • No fellowship time before or after worship
  • Attendance pads will not be used. Attendance will be taken using the registration list (in order to be able to trace contacts, if needed)
  • Offering plates will be placed by the doors rather than passed.
  • Services will be shortened to 30-40 minutes

 

An area will be made available for people who are at increased risk.  At least one of the partitions between the centrum and fellowship hall will be opened and very limited seating made available for people who are at high risk.

Some tables will be set up at the back of the room for people who had been attending our second service and are used to sitting at tables as well as for families with young children.

Communion will be celebrated but only by using individual servings.  (These have been ordered but, like many supplies, are on backorder.)  The communion prayer will be lifted up at the end of the service and the elements passed out by a member of the Safety Team (wearing masks and gloves) as worshipers leave the building. 

Members of the Safety Team will usher people to their seats so that social distancing is respected.  Worshipers will also be ushered out of the service so that bottlenecks are avoided

 

FUNERAL SERVICES AND WEDDINGS

Funeral services and weddings will be subject to the same policies as worship.  Funeral directors will be given a copy of this policy.  Disposable masks will be made available. 

No funeral dinners will be served by the church at this time. 

 

DURING THE WEEK:

The doors of the facility will remain locked in order to protect the staff and to monitor who enters the building. 

The staff is asked to set an example by wearing a mask when outside of their office. 

 

MEETINGS

Church meetings of 10 or less people are allowed.  The use of masks is very strongly encouraged and social distancing is required.  Meetings need to be scheduled through the church office and a record of attendees needs to be turned in.  Non-church meetings will still not be allowed at this time. 

 

YOUTH AND CHILDREN’S PROGRAM

As recommended by Annual Conference guidelines, youth and children’s onsite ministries and programs will continue to be placed on hold.