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Coping with COVID – Update, July 17, 2020

(News:July 17, 2020)

Dear Brothers and Sisters;

Just last week we sent a letter updating our response to COVID-19. However, in light of concerns over the current spike in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in our local area, we have further modified our plans.

Out of a desire to love our neighbors and put the interests of others ahead of our own, we are making all these events “all mask” for the duration of the current spike in COVID-19.

This does not mean that we consider these events safe for those who are at risk. If you are in a vulnerable group or are at all symptomatic, we ask you to participate via livestream or Zoom. We are especially concerned by recent reports of the impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy and would ask those who are pregnant to not only attend virtually but to take similar precautions elsewhere.

But healthy people who have stayed away out of concern for others in their family or circle may feel comfortable coming to events where we are careful to mask up and stay socially distant, reducing the chances of community transmission.

Below are some details applying this to current church events.

All Mask Sundays – every Sunday. By default our reopened church services have tended to include those relatively comfortable going without masks and greeting each other warmly. However, in light of the current spike of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in our immediate area, the need to love others in the body and the community calls us to stronger measures. We will begin an “all mask” approach to the worship service beginning this Sunday, July 19, 2020, and continuing as long as current high levels of the virus are observed. The goal is to reduce the chances of community spread of the virus.

If you come, we ask you to be fully masked. This is most crucial before and after the service when you are not socially distanced by the seating (which will be even more separated beginning this week). Once seated, masks are still strongly encouraged for the entire service.

Exceptions to full masking should be minimized, but include:
(1) people leading worship. We will increase the distance from the singers to the congregation and keep other leaders on the stage.
(2) people who feel they need to briefly unmask in order to breathe properly when at their seats during the longer parts of the service. This applies especially to the message, but conceivably also during the singing.
(3) everyone as part of the process of taking communion at their seats.

To help those who find masks difficult we will be providing free “surgical” style masks which most people find the easiest to breath in. Bring your own mask, but feel free to try one of these if it helps (or if you forget.) If you really can’t mask the whole time we will also be streaming the service in the LIFE room.

Finally, we ask that you maintain strict social distancing before, during, and especially after the service. We ask that you refrain from handshakes or hugs and that all conversations be held fully masked and at the six foot distance. We also ask that you wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently.

Sunday Scripture Reading. (9:45 AM each Sunday) The in-person aspect of this, in the LIFE room, will be “all mask.” We will adjust the seating for greater social distancing. This event is also available on Zoom at meeting 837 8139 1298. If you need the password ask any of the elders or call Iva in the church office.

Annual Meeting. (12:45 PM on Sunday, July 26, 2020). This will be “all mask,” and spread out as much as possible in the sanctuary. We still believe we can reach a quorum at this meeting if each healthy and not-at-risk member of Trinity will prayerfully consider coming. We will only discuss the budget and the nominations for elders and officers, then vote and be dismissed. The sample ballot and the proposed budget are attached.

Weekly Prayer Meeting. (7:30 PM on Tuesdays beginning July 21, 2020) This will be “all mask” and spread out as much as possible in the sanctuary. We recognize that to be heard you may have to hang your mask from an ear when praying aloud.

Small Groups and Other Meetings. We continue to recommend that these meetings be via Zoom or outdoors with social distancing. Small meetings at the church, however, with proper scheduling, may be held in the sanctuary. These must be “all mask” and spread out as much as possible, similar to the prayer meeting described above.

Thanks for being people of love and grace. “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.” (Romans 15:5, NIV)

Bob, for the elders