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  • Writer's pictureRev. Ginger Watson

Open smart

Dear Meadowbrook-Poly Family -

As Texas begins to reopen, I know that you are eager to know when we can be back together again in worship.

Although I understand the pressure to reopen businesses and return people to work, we do not have those pressures at Meadowbrook-Poly. In fact, the "pressure" I feel is to do everything in my power to protect our congregation, many of whom are vulnerable because of age or underlying health concerns.

Unfortunately, it may be a while until we are joined as one voice singing a hymn together in worship. We will not consider reopening until June, and only then a reopening will be contingent on the best guidance we can get from medical professionals and public health experts. Our Conference is also monitoring the virus and providing guidance. They concur that churches should not reopen yet.

Our communications chair has recommended a staged approach to reopening because it provides clarity. At this point, we are cautiously moving into Stage 2. Our staff is meeting at the church on Mondays, and small groups (fewer than 10) will be allowed with notice, agreement to disinfect, and possibly the requirement for signing waivers.

We must be prepared to return to a more restrictive stage if conditions worsen. This means we have to be flexible and keep the health of our congregation our first priority.

Stage 1 During quarantine/stay at home (Most restrictive)

Online worship only. Limited access to the building.

Stage 2 Partial opening (25% of capacity)

Groups with fewer than ten people may meet if calendared in advance. These groups must agree to keep six feet apart, wear masks and use disinfectant wipes on chairs and tables after use. Worship will continue to be provided online only.

Stage 3 Partial opening (50% of capacity)

Our community groups may resume meeting if they agree to six feet of distance and no more than 50% capacity in any of our spaces. We will continue online worship only.

Stage 4 Soft opening

At this stage we can consider in-person worship with ushers trained to help people maintain social distance. We will follow guidance from the CTCUMC and the City of Fort Worth on how to gather safely.

Studies have shown that choir members can disperse virus over a greater distance than six feet while singing. We will make a plan to address whether the choir can safely meet and how they will be seated and sing in the sanctuary. (It may be safer for the choir to sit in the first rows of pews and gather in the chancel area to sing.)

Stage 5 Full opening

This will be the new normal with specific details determined as we approach implementation. It's unlikely to look like it did before with people sitting close to one another in worship and meetings. We just don't know. Will we continue to wear masks? What precautions will be necessary to keep our church members and visitors safe? We will gather the best guidance available and proceed with cautious optimism.

Blessings to you - Pastor Ginger

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