COVID-19 Response

 

Status of Reopening Christ Our Savior for Worship

Many folks are asking when our church can re-open for in-person worship. As we discern that
question, there are a number of factors that inform us.

Current Worship and Online Activity Status

Currently we are streaming our worship service online and will hold a monthly drive in worship
service in our parking lot. We are not meeting for inside public
worship or any inside large gatherings at this time. What we are doing online:

● Pastor’s devotions
● Miss Kim’s stories and children’s sermons
● Amy’s women’s book club/bible studies and virtual readers
● TACOS Facebook Interactions
● Music ministry providing virtual music for worship services

Our commitment continues to be centered on moving forward in ways that prioritize the
well-being of God’s children. We are grateful for the gifts our community has to offer at this time,
and the ways that we continue to support one another during this disruption.

COVID-19 Status

We continue to take our lead from health experts and officials (Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), WI Department of Health Services (WDHS), Evangelical Lutheran Church of
America(ELCA), and Wisconsin Council of Churches(WCC)) about how to best act to safeguard
the well-being of folks during this pandemic. Epidemiologists inform us that the most effective
way to transmit the virus is for people to be gathering in an enclosed space with limited air
exchange. As a result, all large public gathering forums have been closed, postponed, or
cancelled this year; movie theaters, Summerfest, State Fair, and professional sports. Locally,
the Sussex beer gardens, parades and other similar events have also been cancelled. Public
worship falls into the same category of a large public gathering.

We look forward to a time when we are able to gather for public worship again. However,
determining a firm date is impossible. At this point, we need to wait.

How Worship Will Look When We Are Able To Reopen

Keep in mind that returning to worship in our sanctuary at this time would have to be a different
experience than we were used to before the pandemic. Based on CDC, ELCA, and WCC
recommendations, consider the following challenges:

● People over 60 and under 6 are at risk if they were to attend

● People with pre-existing conditions (e.g., diabetes, immunocompromised, lung disease)
are also at high risk
● Congregation numbers including staff would be limited to 50
● All present would be required to wear face masks
● Seating would be 6 feet apart
● No live singing
● No spoken responses
● No Holy Communion
● No passing the offering plate
● No touching, personal interaction, or even coffee
● Immediately following worship, everyone would need to leave the church property

In addition, mandatory precautions include:

● Fully cleaning and sanitizing

  • all restrooms
  • Doors
  • the entire sanctuary – chairs, walls, anything people might have touched.

This would require at least 10-15 people to clean and sanitize before and after every worship
service.

What This Means For Us

To be sure, the type of in-building worship that we could host would not be the nurturing and
faith sustaining experience we’ve all come to expect and appreciate at COS. In fact, the risk of
harm to our community remains high. The liability to our congregation, if we are complicit in an
outbreak, is severe. With this in mind, our church will not be able to re-open for public worship
as we’ve come to know it until there is a significant shift in the COVID-19 pandemic. We do not
like this, but it is what we are compelled to do to care for others and to keep us all safe.
We are confident that even in this time of separation, God is calling us to be the body of Christ
in this time and place. Throughout the generations, the church has adapted how it gathers in
order to respond to the needs of vulnerable people. The Spirit of God holds us together in this
time of separation and empowers us to act in ways that bear forth the life-giving
transformational love of our Divine Maker.

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