Covid-19 Repsonse Updates

As the current COVID case levels are constantly changing, these policies will continue to evolve. Thank you for your patience.

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COVID Guidelines Update - March 18, 2022



            I pray that you staying safe and healthy and that you are enjoying the warmer weather we have been having. Two weeks ago we made some changes in our Covid policies that have helped us takes steps toward being more mask-optional. This has felt like a slow process for some of our members, while others have felt it has been moving too quickly. I pray that you are kind and compassionate towards your fellow Christ UMC church members as these changes take place and we move forward together.

            Since the beginning of the pandemic, our Covid Task Force has been committed to trying to follow CDC guidelines and recommendations as best as we can to help us make our decisions. With the CDC’s removal of certain masking protocols, we feel it is only right to follow suite in most cases, while still providing care for some of our more at-risk individuals. As we continue to move toward being more mask-optional, we understand that there are still some for whom masking is a concern. Over the past two weeks, I have had some church members reach out to discuss their specific masking concerns. I presented these concerns, along with the other items mentioned in my letter from March 3rd, to the Task Force at our meeting last evening (3/17/22). Below, you will find the changes that were made as a result of last evening’s meeting. Please note that all of these updates are subject to change again if numbers increase drastically or if the CDC guidance changes.


            - Masks will now be optional throughout the church building for Sunday services. There will, however, be one exception. In an effort to protect our most vulnerable attendees, it was requested that we maintain a seating section in worship where masks will remain required. Therefore, anyone choosing to sit under the balcony will be asked to wear their mask throughout the service. We ask for everyone to be respectful of this space and do not linger in this area without a mask. If you have concerns about this arrangement, please speak with me directly.


            - There are also updates to our masking policies for musical groups and for singing. It is still encouraged that masks be worn for congregational singing, but it will not be required. Our musical singing groups that participate in worship from the chancel area will remain masked while singing for multiple reasons that will be discussed with those groups specifically. For the rest of our musical groups, masking will be determined by the directors after having conversations with the group members.


            - The Task Force discussed changes in the Children’s Department. Pastor Tawny will send an email with the details to all of our families and volunteers.


            - We have relaxed the policies around food in small groups and how food is to be distributed. Small group leaders are encouraged to contact me or the church office for further details.


            Throughout this pandemic, we have learned a lot and have seen a lot of change. Some of these changes have been very beneficial for us as a church and we will continue in this new way as we move into the future. We now have the capability to stream our worship services, which has allowed for people to worship with us remotely. We have begun utilizing worship boxes periodically to help those who are not able to worship in-person feel more connected to their church and church family. (If you wish to receive a current worship box, please contact the church office.) We have been able to integrate a hybrid format into some of our small group meetings to allow people to participate who may not be able to join otherwise. In addition, a change we must not forget about is that our church has done well with trying to understand all of these different situations and decisions from other people’s perspectives.

            I know that change can be difficult. For two years we have found some safety in utilizing masks, social distancing, and other precautions. As things continue to change, many may find it difficult to adjust, just as we all found it difficult to adjust at the beginning. Please be gracious with one another. Please be kind and courteous. Please remember that everyone has the choice to wear a mask, and that some may continue to do so. I also want to remind you that if you are not comfortable with these changes for whatever reason, I truly do want to hear from you. No concern is too small. I want you to feel safe and know that you are heard. Let us all continue to be in prayer for one another and to demonstrate the love of Christ as we navigate these changes together.



Rev. Zachary Hopple