June 25, 2020
As a necessary step to reopening our church for physical use, Galilee established its Healthy Church Team (HCT). This committee is charged with the implementation of the Virginia United Methodist Conference’s guidelines for returning to in-person worship. The team consists of Pastor Geitra, Chris Richter, Kathy Butler, Heidi Pluth, and Seth Campbell.
As we prepare for limited in-person worship, Galilee is committed to providing the safest and best possible worship experience. The HCT work begins with the preparation of a written plan that must be submitted and approved by our District Superintendent, Sarah Calvert, showing how we will meet the requirements for registration, cleaning, and distancing before our first in-person service.
The process will be implemented gradually and with great care. We are guided by John Wesley’s “3 Simple Rules”—Do No Harm, Do Good, and Stay in Love With God—as well as the responses provided by our congregation to the recent reopening survey.
The results of that survey will provide valuable information to assist us in determining a date for in-person worship. It also reveals what Galilee is doing right and what our concerns should be. First, even while the building is closed, Galilee is fulfilling its mission. Our pastors and staff have done an outstanding job delivering an online worship experience with 90.6% of the respondents saying it has met (31.3%) or exceeded (59.3%) expectations. Second, 55% of the respondents to the survey report they have someone in their household who is high-risk for the COVID -19 virus. Finally, only 13.2% of the respondents would feel comfortable attending in-person worship if it were offered this summer.
Here is what we know today—though we all look forward to returning to regular in-person services, we are targeting the fall for returning to our building. When we return, initially the experience will be different than what we have enjoyed in the past. Galilee is obliged by our bishop to follow strict protocols including health questionnaires, pre-registrations, face masks, and social distancing, all of which will be required for the foreseeable future.
These registration processes and hygiene protocols will be necessary wherever church functions occur (including at the Chapel at Lansdowne Woods, Galilee’s sanctuary or classrooms, the parking lot, or anywhere on the church property). Protocols for small group meetings are similar and will be implemented as soon as possible.
We all have a part to play in a successful implementation of in-person worship. Despite the new look and feel of time spent at or with Galilee, our extraordinary purpose—to know Christ and make Christ known—remains the same.
We ask for your prayers while we navigate these unchartered waters, and invite you to reach out to email@example.com with your questions, comments and concerns.