Relaunching Plan – COVID 19

Image of the Church Steeple
updated 6/17/2020

Safe, spaced, sanitized

Re-launch of Wesley United Methodist Church

This re-launch plan for Wesley United Methodist is designed to be flexible based on the ever-changing conditions.  The relaunch will be a multi-phased approach with the initial focus on re-establishing in-person worship.  The safety of the congregation, staff and visitors to Wesley is the top priority.  State and local government guidelines, CDC guidelines, and the relaunch guidelines from the WV United Methodist Conference are resources used to establish this guide.  It is also important to note that this plan will be adjusted based on the environment.

As we are designing the in-person relaunch it is very important to look at what has worked well during the time our doors have been closed.  While we could not be together in-person, there has been outreach occurring through the small groups that already existed, contacts via phone, Facebook, text, Zoom, and enhanced online services.  Technology has been the tool that is keeping everyone in touch with each other during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The online service is a tool that should continue to be enhanced and grown.  Keeping in mind that some of the congregation will continue to enjoy the service online even when the building is fully open.

Keeping everyone informed of the status of the re-launch is very important.  Updates will be posted on the webpage and the Facebook page.  Information can also be obtained by contacting the church via phone, email or by calling Pastor Randy Flanagan directly.

Phase 1 – In-person worship

Beginning in-person worship is part of the Wesley relaunch plan phase 1.   In-person church service will not be going back to pre-COVID19 status for some time.  Social distancing, protection, and sanitizing requirements will need to be met.  The goal is to create an environment where concern, fear, and anxiety is removed as much as possible so that everyone feels safe.

In-person worship will begin with a limited number of people in attendance to maintain social distancing.  The modified in-person worship will begin July 12, 2020, but the date could change based on the federal, state and local government guidelines.

Please consider the online service option if you:

  • Have flu like symptoms
  • Fever of 100.4 degrees or higher in the past 14 days
  • Exposure to anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • Any medical reason where you or a family member is high risk
  • If you are 65 or older per the Governor’s recommendation and feel you are at risk
  • Are uncomfortable with any of the procedures outlined
  • Would rather stay at home

Initially in-person worship will remain “touchless”

  • Doors will be opened by volunteers wearing masks/gloves.
  • Seat cushions have been removed and pews are blocked.  Allowed seating in pews will be marked
  • Drinks and food have been removed
  • No paper passing, no bulletins, no passing collection plates

With distancing and sanitizing requirements, the opening of the building will be limited to the sanctuary, 1st floor bathrooms (emergency only) and hallways.  Only one entrance will be available for use.  A single direction entrance using arrows on the floor will begin at the main entrance and continue through the narthex, sanctuary, and back up the narthex to the main doors. The path will be clearly marked to prevent roaming to other locations of the church.  In addition, most areas of the church would be blocked, including alternate bathrooms and gathering areas, to limit the number of locations that will need sanitized after the service.

EVERYTHING is removed from the Narthex and Sanctuary. That includes tables, nametags, pamphlets (upper rooms), hymnals, bibles, envelopes, pens, pew cushions, etc.

Restrooms will be sanitized before and after the in-person service.  The sanctuary, narthex, and other pathways will also be disinfected before and after the service.  The MSDS for the disinfectant that is being used is available.  If more than one in-person service is utilized, the service times will be spaced to allow the disinfectant (10 minutes) application to dry.

Everyone will be required to wear a mask to enter the church. We will encourage everyone to bring their own masks, but the church will maintain a small supply in the event someone does not have one.  Trash cans will be available for the disposable masks. A touchless hand sanitizer has been installed by the main door, with hand sanitizer in the pews and other locations.

Worship Procedural changes

On-Line/Virtual Service

  • The Enhanced online service will continue to be at 11am.  Various members of the congregation will be utilized for recorded parts of the service. 

In-Person Service

  • The in-person service will be at 930am with the doors opening at 9am.  An Additional in-person service will be added if needed.
  • The bishop has recommended keeping in-person services to 30 minutes or less.
  • A reservation process will be used to ensure we do not exceed the reduced capacity requirements.  Reservations will be made by calling the church office or using the reservation request for on the church website. 
  • Volunteers to assist with the in-person worship will be able to sign up via the connection card on the website by calling the church.
  • Volunteers wearing masks and gloves will be trained and utilized to:
    • Open the entrance door for attendees.
    • Verify the reservation of attendees (take role).
    • Use the no-touch thermometers to verify no one enters the church if their temperature is 100.4 degrees or higher.
    • Present the offering plate.
    • Provide hand sanitizer.
    • Escort attendees to their assigned seats and direct attendees for dismissal.
    • Families will be able to sit together during the service.
  • Masks will be required for all in attendance.
  • There is to be no singing.  Recorded music will be part of the service.
  • Social distancing needs to be maintained.
  • No hand shaking or hugs.
  • There will be special arrangements for communion.
  • Nursery will not be open and childcare will not be provided.  Worship bags will not be available.
  • The 30 minute in-person service will include the following order of worship:
    • Prelude (recorded music)
    • Call to worship
    • Hymn
    • Prayer
    • Children’s Time – children will not come to the front
    • Special Music (recorded)
    • Scripture
    • Sermon
    • Prayer of the People
    • Response
    • Hymn (recorded)
    • Postlude

Additional points

  • The gym and other areas of the church would not be opened until we can gather for some mode of worship.
  • The office door would remain closed/locked during worship.
  • No one should come to the church if they are sick.
  • Church would not yet be open for other organizations for meetings and other activities
  • Church meetings would continue to be via ZOOM.
  • The gym will not be used for physical activity, such as pickleball, basketball, etc. until public school gyms are reopened for these activities.
  • The kitchens would not be available for use.  Circle of Friends will be allowed to use the kitchen, but it will be limited to two people in the kitchen.

Weekday operations

The church should continue to remain locked down during the weekdays to the public. If the doors are left unlocked, anyone could enter and if unnoticed could wander anywhere. This would require sanitizing the entire church and create unnecessary work. This also reduces the exposure risk to staff.

Circle of Friends

Circle of Friends should continue to be to-go only through the summer.   The host group will serve from the sidewalk, outside the Davis Gym doors.  Two (2) 55-gallon trash cans should be sat outside to help keep litter to a minimum. One can should be left by the serving table and the other could possibly be used on the front steps.

The church would be blocked/locked except for the kitchen, gym and bathroom in the gym.  The area will need to be sanitized before anyone enters the building following the food distribution.

Circle of Friends groups can have two people in the kitchen.  The groups will serve from the sidewalk outside the Davis Gym doors and two (2) 55-gallon trash cans should be brought out to help keep litter to a minimum. One can be left by the serving table and the other could possibly be used on the front steps.

Phase 2 – Opening up other uses for the church

The timing for phase 2 will be based on the environment we are in and will not begin before schools open (possibly August 23rd) and may be pushed to later based on the conditions.  Parts of phase 2 may be implemented before others if appropriate.  Social Distancing and masks requirements as well as disinfecting will remain in place until the CDC guidance directs otherwise. 

In-Person Worship

The in-person worship service from phase 1 will remain in place and bulletins will be printed and stacked near the sanctuary door for use during the service.  There will be trash can available as exiting the service to dispose of the bulletin.  Non-wind instruments may be used for music.

Davis Gym Activities

All sporting activities should be postponed until the fall or when school gyms are reopened to the public.

Large gatherings such as NA meetings can resume August 1st and will be subject to specific rules such as:

  • Absolutely NO congregating outside the entrance or in the parking lot prior to meeting times
  • Masks must always be worn and donned prior to entering the building.
  • Groups are not to leave the Davis Gym apart from turning the lights on/off or the use of the kitchen which must be approved by Christopher Lewis or Marianna Miller in advance.  The kitchen will be limited to 2 people due to the small amount of space.
  • Social Distancing of 6 ft. must always be maintained.
  • Adequate time must be left between group meetings to ensure proper sanitation of all common touch surfaces (doors, handles, chairs, etc.)
  • Setup and take-down will be performed solely by Church staff. Groups must inform Marianna of their needs beforehand.
  • No refreshments of any kind unless it is prepackaged.
  • Group size is limited to the currently accepted sizes as set forth by the governor’s office and allows for proper social distancing.

Doors to other areas of the church will be secured/blocked or a volunteer from the church will be present at each group function to ensure the areas to be cleaned are identified.  Additional hours of custodial needs must be identified.

Other activities

Children’s activities such as Sunday school would begin after schools resume and will require more sanitizing for the areas used. This includes any children activities such as Girl Scouts.

Other groups meeting at the church may begin to meet while practicing social distancing and be limited in locations that are used at the church.  All areas will continue to be cleaned and sanitized after each group’s meeting.  Young Life may begin at this time as well.  Details around cleaning the area where Young Life meets will need to be determined before their meetings begin as part of phase 2.

Additional points

  • The office door would remain closed/locked during worship and activities.
  • No one should come to the church if they are sick.
  • Areas of the church will be restricted with directional arrows will be installed in the hallways.
  • Restrooms will be disinfected after each activity unless there is other guidance from the CDC.
  • All areas of the church open for use will be disinfected between activities. 
  • Social distancing needs to be maintained
  • No hand shaking or hugs.
  • No food/drink will be shared.

Phase 3 – Return to new normal

A return to normal service and activities will be determined with the CDC, Federal, State, and Local Government as well as the WV United Methodist conference advise that is safe to return to normal operations. 

This entire document will be updated based on the conditions, environment, federal, state, and local guidelines as well as guidelines from the WV Annual Conference.