Firstly, let me thank all who recently completed the questions asked by the Re-Opening Team! Thanks to your responses, we have gotten a good start on plans for re-opening and can affirm and further clarify expectations under which in person ministries will begin again — when the time comes.
Secondly, while many details still are to be worked out, thus far the Re-Opening Team’s conversation is leading to re-opening recommendations to the session that plan to include:
- required PPE (personal protective equipment such as face masks, gloves or hand sanitizer)
- one Sunday morning worship service with adequate space to social distance in and between pews and modified aspects of worship that allow for safety for all
- a livestream of in person worship for those who plan to remain at home
- no fellowship coffee/items to be served
- weekly professional cleaning that follows CDC guidelines
Thirdly, it’s quite likely things like recording of attendance (for contact tracing if ever needed), temperature or other health checks before entry, removal of items passed among the congregation, and modified dismissal from pews also will become new norms when we again gather. We still are working out details for resuming building use by our community partners in ways that will be safe for all involved. When re-opening plans are approved and finalized, the congregation will be notified well in advance and all will appreciate our cooperation at caring for each other by carrying out such new norms.
For now, I hope you remain informed about the details of Metro’s Modified Phase 2 that began on 3 July. Read below to be sure you’re in the know!
Guidance for Residents (posted at: https://www.asafenashville.org/roadmap-for-reopening-nashville-phase-2-guidance-and-resources/)
Modified Phase 2 Details: The following apply for all residents and businesses in Davidson County during Phase Two:
- Social distancing should remain universally in effect.
- Live entertainment may continue, subject to the conditions set out in Public Health Order 7. Social distancing protocols should be observed between performers. There shall be a minimum of 15 feet between performers and customers. All performance equipment must be sanitized between users. All dance floors shall remain closed in Phase Two.
- Except when performing essential services, those over age 65 and those with high risk factors (including: chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma; serious heart conditions; people with compromised immune systems, either through cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplant, or genetic or acquired immune deficiencies; the prolonged use of corticosteroids) should remain safer at home to the extent possible.
- Work from home should continue whenever possible, and cloth face coverings or masks should be worn in public.
- Gatherings must be limited to 25 people or fewer. Gatherings are the most high-risk setting for transmission of COVID-19. Community gatherings such as block parties, backyard events, house parties, etc. must remain limited to small groups of 25 or fewer at this time.
Finally, it certainly has been a long haul! Think marathon, not sprint — though I realize it may feel more like a triathlon more than a marathon! If you are feeling lonely, reach out and get connected! The impact of social isolation also can be deadly — text, call, message those you love. At least once each day, do what brings you delight. Continue to find ways to check in on neighbors, relatives, friends. Rest when you are tired and take good care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Do something each day to be present to the needs of another person — consider caring for someone else during the 5 p.m. hour instead of gluing yourself to news that may unglue your soul! Know you are more resilient than you know! Even if you don’t like change, you are finding ways to change and we can get through this very difficult time together — even if we can’t yet safely be in physical proximity. Turn to God. Remember the wisdom of the Psalmist who wrote: “. . . though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; those its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.” Nonetheless, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear!” (Ps. 46:1-3) So, “be still, and know that I am God!” (Ps. 46:10). No matter what comes, we can rest in God. We can take courage and call upon God in our most challenging moments; for ALWAYS God is present — bidden or unbidden. We are not alone!
Know you are loved and being prayed for, dear ones! Peace to you throughout this entire week!