Dear St. Mark’s Church Family,

Greetings in the name of our Great Healer, Jesus Christ. Since Ohio and the rest of the United States has begun a process of opening businesses and services, your Administrative Council has deemed it necessary to put forth our own plan for re-opening. What follows is a set of Guidelines for Phase 1 (see next page) that are meant as beginning steps for bringing us back together.

These Guidelines are not fool proof. There is no way to eliminate all risk from catching this novel coronavirus. There is a sense that we have to learn to live with this virus in some way. We understand that some may find these Guidelines to be too strict. Others may believe it is still too soon for any public gatherings, however small. Some may choose to remain at home for a far longer time than others. Whatever individuals and families decide, we shall respect all in their decision making.

Also, these Guidelines are subject to change. As circumstances change, we are prepared to make the necessary revisions, either tightening or loosening these them as necessary.

As we move forward, slowly and cautiously, let us keep in mind these words from our bishop, Gregory Palmer:

“The crisis created by the rampant spread of COVID-19 has pushed us all into a new reality. But one thing that has not changed is that the church when at our best and in step with the Risen Christ has always been concerned for the total health and wellbeing of persons and communities. In some ways, many of us have been reawakened to a fuller richer picture of ministry. When the writer of the Third Epistle of John wrote the one chapter that is the epistle they began in this way: “Dear friend, I’m praying that all is well with you and that you enjoy good health in the same way that you prosper spiritually.” (3 John 1:2) All of this is offered to you in that spirit and with that prayer. We are all in the business of good health for all God’s children. To God be the glory.”

Your partners in ministry,

 

Administrative Council

St. Mark’s United Methodist Church

 

PHASE ONE GUIDELINES FOR RE-OPENING ST. MARK’S UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

FOR MEETINGS AND GATHERINGS

For the safety and well-being of all who enter the St. Mark’s United Methodist Church facility, all persons shall follow the three-phase restart plan as presented by our state and national governmental officials:

  1. Phase 1 – no more than 10 people gathering in one place with strict distancing Guidelines.
  2. Phase 2 – No more than 50 people gathering in one place with moderate distancing Guidelines.
  3. Phase 3 – No limitations on number of people.

Ohio is considered to be in Phase 1 at this time; therefore, these Guidelines are for Phase 1. These Guidelines will remain in effect until revised by Administrative Council.

Groups and committees are encouraged to continue virtual meetings whenever possible, or to hold meetings outside while maintaining social distancing measures of six feet, and while wearing face masks. If persons believe it necessary to meet inside the St. Mark’s building, the following measures shall be taken.

  1. In keeping with the state’s Phase 1 Guidelines, no more than ten persons shall meet in any room at one time.
  2. There shall be no more than two groups of 10 meeting in the building at any one time.
  3. Rooms approved for use of up to 10 persons are Fellowship Hall, the narthex, and the sanctuary. Because of limited space and/or zero outside ventilation, all other rooms shall be occupied by no more than 5 persons at one time (our classroom “hotel” hvac units only recirculate interior air. Air brought in from the outside is considered to be less risky).
  4. All persons shall do the following:
  5. Enter through the kitchen door only.
  6. Locate the Sign In / Sign Out Sheet found inside the kitchen door. The purpose of this sign-in / sign-out sheet is for contract tracing in the event it is discovered that someone was diagnosed or later diagnosed with Covid-19, and was at the church around the time of their illness (a copy of this sheet is on the last page of these Guidelines).
  7. Before signing in, affirm that you do not have any symptoms of Covid-19: a fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell.
  8. If you can respond “No” to all questions, sign in with your name, the purpose of your visit, the room you intend to use, and the date and time of your arrival.
  9. Use sanitizer when entering the building and on a regular basis. Hand sanitizer will be available at the kitchen door and at other locations in the building.
  10. Maintain social distancing of at least 6-feet between persons.
  11. Wear facial masks. Extra facial masks will be available. Exceptions: Staff may work inside their own office without a mask. When outside their office they must wear a mask. They must meet with people outside their office. During live streamed worship, the worship team will not wear masks in order to communicate more clearly through microphones and online. There shall be no persons within 10 feet in front of the team as they speak or sing.
  12. Clean and sanitize surfaces after use. This includes, but is not limited to, door handles, tables, hard surface seating, and all surfaces touched in restrooms. Cleaning / sanitizing solutions and paper towels will be available in all areas of the building.
  13. Use designated restrooms only and only one person in a restroom at one time, please. Restrooms available for use shall be the unisex bathroom by the offices, and the men’s and women’s restrooms closest to the narthex. All other restrooms will be closed and marked with a Closed sign on the door (The purpose of this is to more easily and thoroughly keep our open restrooms clean and sanitized).
  14. Exit the building through the kitchen door, making sure to “sign-out” with the time of your departure.
  15. These Guidelines are for anyone entering our building and are to be upheld by each of us individually and collectively. All of us will need to take responsibility to uphold these Guidelines.
 

Again, these Guidelines are for this State of Ohio Phase 1 period and shall remain in effect until revision or further notice of St. Mark’s Administrative Council.

When will public worship resume?

Public worship inside the St. Mark’s sanctuary is not likely to resume until our state reaches Phase 3. The timeline for Phase 3 is not known at this time.

We understand that many businesses and public facilities, including some churches, have opened. However, most health experts have deemed public worship – with many people who are deemed to be at risk, standing and sitting together in close quarters, praying, and singing together — to be one of the riskiest practices during this pandemic. We believe that the safety and well-being of our congregation take first priority over our personal desires to worship together in the same room.

There will come that time when we will be together once again, and we look forward to that time. For now, however, we will continue to worship via live stream with the worship team from the safety of our homes. In order to maintain some sense of community, we encourage you to call, write, and begin to meet together in small groups. Meeting outside while maintaining social distancing is one of the safest ways to gather.

In conclusion, we offer these words from Governor Mike DeWine, spoken during his update on May 26:

“This is not about a political issue…. This is an issue of,

‘How do I protect my neighbor?’

‘How do I protect the people I love?’

‘How do I protect people I don’t even know?’

“This is about protecting each other. It’s as old as the scriptures: Love your neighbor.”  

 

We are yours in Christ,

The Administrative Council and Staff of

St. Mark’s United Methodist Church

St. Mark’s United Methodist Church

COVID-19 PHASE ONE SIGN IN / SIGN OUT SHEET

 

Your health and safety are important to us.

Before entering our church, please ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Have you or a member of your immediate household traveled outside of the United States within the last two weeks?
  2. Are you or a member of your household currently ill with symptoms consistent with coronavirus e.g.; coughing, fever > 100° F [37.8° C], shortness of breath?
  3. Have you received visitors from outside the United States into your home within the last 2 weeks?
  4. Have you or a member of your household been directly exposed to a person confirmed to have COVID-19 within the last 2 weeks?

If all of the above questions are answered “no,” you may enter.

A mask is required and all touched surfaces are to be wiped clean with disinfectant after use.

 

Please sign in and out below:

FIRST AND LAST NAME

PURPOSE OF VISIT

 ROOM(S)

DATE

TIME IN

TIME OUT