Church Staff and the Reemergence Task Force have received a number of thoughtful questions from the congregation regarding what worship, small groups, and missions will look like as we return to our facilities. We do not have answers to all of the questions, yet. For instance, we are still developing a plan regarding worship services in the Sanctuary. We would, however, like to provide answers to the questions for which we do have answers. We will publish one or two more rounds of FAQs as our work progresses, and more firm decisions have been made.
Will Marion Methodist require masks to be worn in our facilities and Sanctuary?
- The use of masks or other face coverings will be highly encouraged, but not required. Guidelines from The Centers for Disease Control and The Iowa Department of Public Health are clear that use of such personal protective equipment (PPE) can minimize potential transmission. Many members of our congregation are vulnerable, and we want to do everything we can to protect our community.
Will masks be available for those without their own?
- Yes, we will have masks on hand to distribute.
What will the church do if a member or visitor refuses to wear a mask or not abide by guidelines?
- Marion Methodist cannot compel anyone to wear a face covering, or adhere to other guidelines, while in our facilities. We believe that members of the congregation and visitors will carefully consider the safety of others when they think through the ramifications of personal choices. However, additional protective measures, such as physically distancing ourselves, will help to minimize potential transmission.
Will hand sanitizer stations be readily available?
- Yes, we will have many hand sanitizer stations through the facility!
Will we limit the number of people allowed in 5050 REC Dr.?
- We do not have a date for the first worship service back inside our facilities. However, we anticipate that attendance will naturally be small because it is summer, at-risk portions of our congregation will choose to continue to worship online, and other members of our congregation will wait and see. We will need to limit the number of people in the Sanctuary, but we have ample rooms with screens throughout the facility for overflow. As we progress, we will be able to further formulate a plan of action based on actual attendance.
What are the official guidelines we will be using to determine a safe way to distance? Also, where did these guidelines come from?
- We are still formulating our plans for precisely how we will ensure physical distancing during worship and other ministries. All plans will be based on CDC and IDPH recommendations.
Will guidelines about what can be expected be communicated to the congregation? Specifically, can we hug, shake hands, sing, et al?
- We will communicate guidelines through multiple channels: The Marion Methodist weekly mailing, Marion Methodist website, announcements during online worship, and signage posted at our facilities. Additionally, as with previous outbreaks, we will not have formal corporate greetings during worship. On other activities, such as singing, we will to wait and see whether guidance says it is safe.
Will coffee and cookies still be available each Sunday morning?
- Refreshments will not be provided and outside food and beverages will not be permitted during the “yellow” stage.
Will there be “fellowship” time (at a social distance) after each service?
- Fellowship is an essential part of the worship experience. Members and frequent visitors of Marion Methodist have developed deep relationships with one another. We encourage greetings, discussion, and love – at a safe distance, without coffee and cookies.
How often will cleaning occur in the Sanctuary and bathrooms?
- Cleaning schedules will be determined by the frequency of use and type of activities being held in our facilities. That said, church staff has worked to identify “deep cleaning” that targets high use, high-traffic areas and touchpoints to ensure we are protecting every visitor to our facilities.
Does the church have a communication plan if a member ends up testing positive for COVID-19 after attending a small group or worship service?
- Although we do not have a formal process documented, there are certain measures know we will take. For instance, we anticipate recording attendance at every gathering in our facilities. If an attendee alerts us to a positive diagnosis of COVID-19, we will notify everyone who potentially could have been exposed.
What signage will be posted to direct traffic in/out Sanctuary and the center?
- Yes, the task force is creating signage to educate and inform members of the congregation and visitors about how to protect ourselves and our community during this ongoing pandemic. The signage will be posted in various locations throughout the facility. We may need to direct the flow of traffic in certain parts of the building. If so, appropriate signage will be posted.
How are we measuring success in each stage of reemergence? What are the gates to move to the next stage?
- The spread of COVID-19 and its threat to our community, state, and nation are fluid. It is has been difficult for any government agency to plan firm flags in the ground describing definitive actions based on known benchmarks. That said, the Marion Methodist Reemergence Task Force and Church Staff will continue to monitor the progress of the disease and threats to our community throughout the duration of the pandemic. Only through careful monitoring and prayerful deliberation can we hope to even begin to safely return to normal.
Could we host church service at Lowe Park or outdoors at the church?
- We will be holding outdoor worship in the East parking lot on June 28th at 8:15, weather permitting. We anticipate there may be more outdoor services in the future.
When will children’s ministry begin?
- The children’s ministry, Sunday School et al, will continue in its current online form for the foreseeable future. This is a critical ministry for Marion Methodist, but there are numerous challenges around keeping children safe in our traditional format. This is an area where the Reemergence Task force and Church Staff will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC and IDPH. We encourage families to worship together until such a time when traditional children’s ministry can safely resume.
- We are happy to announce that an online version of our Vacation Bible School will be delivered July 13-17!
If you have more questions for the Reemergence Task force please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org