Coming Together: Next Steps News / September 27, 2022

The Coming Together: Next Steps Committee, chaired by Maria Figueroa, and including members Laura Gardner, Sheila Whybrow, Cindy and Dave Hackett, and Dolores Fitch, and I have met to plan out our next steps for reopening. I recognize that we’ve been slow to make changes out of an excess of caution, but we’re ready for our next steps.

With lower case rates in Pierce County, the easy availability of vaccines and boosters, as well as therapeutic treatment for COVID-19, it’s time to loosen our restrictions. Here are our new guidelines for taking part in worship or small groups in the building:

  1. Masks will still be required, but need not be KN95 or N95. We continue to encourage the use of high-quality masks to reduce your risks.
  2. We will continue to ask guests and new attendees to sign-in for contact tracing purposes, but members or long-attending friends will no longer be required to sign-in.
  3. We’re returning the hymnals to the chairs, so that we can sing along more easily. We’ve been singing behind our masks for some time, I suspect, and with our continued masking, there is a barrier to the spread of the virus. That said, you will be safest with a high-quality mask and at a distance from others not from your household, or joining us via Zoom.
  4. Coffee service will be moving indoors, and will be served in the alcove on the right side of the sanctuary as it was in the past. For greater safety, those having coffee can move outdoors and onto the porch at the front of the church to remove their masks and imbibe in their chosen beverages.
  5. We’ll once again allow you to bring your own beverage to the service.

Making this transition to something more like what we’d done before the pandemic hit will mean we’ll need greeters and coffee makers each Sunday to welcome people as they arrive, and to offer hospitality after the service. This works best when we all can work together to make our Sunday experience better.

The Coming Together Next Steps Committee will continue to strategize on how to re-energize our children’s programming, along with other steps, as we find what our new normal looks like.