Reopening the Church
Weekly Update from Your Site Reopening Action Team
Your Session met this past Monday. Given the current spike of the virus occurring locally and nationally, nothing has changed regarding the status of the reopening of FPC’s building and grounds. Namely, until such time as Dane County Public Health allows outdoor mass gatherings of at least 100 people, no worship services are being held onsite at FPC.
Our team is continuing its work in preparing a full plan of reopening. Please continue to watch your Connector for updates. In the meantime, continue to watch for the amazing virtual worship services each week until the time comes when we can safely join in worship onsite at FPC!
Site Reopening Action Team
RJ Binau, Elder of Buildings & Grounds
Steve Cable, Chair
Nancy Groeneveld, Director of Music & Worship Arts
Kirk Morledge, Senior Pastor
Liz Weller, Elder of Worship & Music
Update from July 17
Not much has changed this week, but that does not mean that our team is not making progress on planning for when we can reopen the building and grounds of FPC for all the ministry that is done there! As mentioned last week, Session has determined that we will not hold any onsite worship services until the Dane County Public Health Department allows outdoor mass gatherings of at least 100 people. In the most recent Order from Dane County, the allowed outdoor mass gathering limit is 25 people, thus we are not holding onsite worship services yet.
Session holds its normally scheduled monthly meeting for July on July 20th. At that meeting, our team will be presenting our proposed plan for how we reopen safely once Dane County increases the limit on the number of people. While the plan covers both indoors and outdoors worship services, we will be proposing that we start with an outdoor service when the time is right – doing so will almost certainly allow for more worshippers, and will also be safer for those in attendance.
Our team just this week started planning for the reopening of the many non-worship ministry areas of FPC. We will be meeting with Elders from all those areas, including Fellowship, Youth Ministry, Adult Ministry, and more. We are also consulting with medical professionals for their input. Our goal is to complete our plan and present it to Session at their August Session meeting.
Please continue to watch your Connector for updates – we will have an update for you each week until our plan is fully approved. In the meantime, continue to watch for the amazing virtual worship services each week until the time comes when we can safely join in worship onsite at FPC!
Update from July 10, 2020
As you likely saw in the Connector last week, Session has decided that we will not be holding any onsite worship services until the Dane County Public Health Department allows outdoor mass gatherings of at least 100 people. Even so, your Site Reopening Action Team is continuing to meet weekly so that we are fully prepared for reopening when Session determines the timing to be appropriate.
Our team has nearly completed the plans for holding both indoor and outdoor worship services, and we plan to take them to Session for approval at their July Session meeting. We anticipate our first worship service onsite will be outdoors, depending on the timing of when Session deems it safe for us to reopen.
If this plan is approved by Session, our work will then shift to other areas of reopening, such as weddings, Adult Ministry, Children’s Ministry, Youth Ministry, small groups, and much more. In fact, we anticipate beginning our work on these areas this coming week, with a plan to take these additional areas to Session for approval at their August Session meeting.
Please continue to watch your Connector for updates – we will have an update for you each week until our plan is fully approved. In the meantime, continue to watch for the virtual worship services each week until the time comes when we can safely join in worship onsite at FPC!
Update from July 3, 2020
We communicated with you last week regarding our efforts to hold an onsite worship experience at FPC on July 19th. As you may have seen, on Wednesday July 1st, Dane County issued Emergency Order #7 which limits indoor mass gatherings to 10 people plus paid staff and outdoor mass gatherings to 25 people plus paid staff, effective July 2nd. Session has previously approved that FPC will comply with the mass gathering limits established by the Dane County Public Health Department. Based on this new Emergency Order changing the mass gathering limits downward, last evening Session decided not to hold any onsite worship at FPC until such time as Dane County allows outdoor mass gatherings of at least 100 people, but rather to continue with our virtual worship services only.
Consideration was given to holding an outdoor worship service with worship attendance limited to 25 people and recording that service for distribution to the congregation as our virtual worship service for the week. This was decided against primarily for two reasons:
- Limiting in person attendance to 25 people in a congregation our size creates challenges. We would anticipate more than 25 people would be interested in attending; thus, many would still be unable to worship onsite.
- The current virtual experience is getting a large number of “hits” each week, leading us to believe we are getting more people worshipping with us virtually each week than we typically do in a normal week of in-person worship. This experience would be degraded somewhat from the current virtual experience; since this is how the vast majority of the congregation would experience worship, the decision was made not to go this direction.
Our team is continuing our work of identifying how to safely use the beautiful site that we have been blessed with – once Session deems it is the proper timing to do so. We are addressing not only worship services, but also weddings, funerals, Sunday school, Youth ministry, Adult ministry, and much more. Our plan is to present this comprehensive plan to Session for their consideration at their August Session meeting. Please continue to watch the Connector for updates. Our plan is to communicate with you each week, including letting you know when Session approves bringing us back onsite for worship. In the meantime, please continue to worship using the virtual experience that FPC is preparing each week. We truly are blessed to have such talented people that make this experience so incredibly meaningful during this time of not being able to worship onsite and together!