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Senior Pastor: Rev. Dr. Karin Walker 
Associate Pastor: Rev. Danny Breidenbaugh

1509 Fallston Road
Fallston, Maryland, 21047
410-877-7255
Email: fallstonumc@fallstonumc.org

       

 

Friends and Members of Fallston,

Our covid task force has been busy creating a plan for us to once again be together in our building. Your responses to the survey was an important part of the decision-making process.  Here is a brief synopsis of the data from the surveys:

  • 98% of respondents have found the live stream worship and/or Saturday Night Outside worship to be a mainstay and did not feel that they wanted to be back in the building in July. Most indicated a fall opening to be desirable.
  • Families with young children under 4th grade did not feel inside worship is for them until fall.
  • 20% indicated they would not feel comfortable inside again until a vaccine is created.
  • 2% prefer to be inside in July.

In light of these results, the task force has set an opening date for August 9 with proper protocols in place. On the 9th, we will have one blended service at 9:00 am as we have been doing which also will be live-streamed.

Vacation Bible School is being planned outside for August 10-13 in small groups or family groupings. Camp Awesome is set to start August 9th with events that allow the children to be socially distanced, all taking place outside. Our small groups are meeting on zoom and please note there are other options: including the numerous picnic tables at the outside worship area.

As we get closer to August 9th, we will communicate all of the protocols needed. So that you have an appreciation for the complexity, here are a few:

  1. Nothing can be passed (bulletins, offering plates, communion elements)
  2. All surfaces between services need to be sanitized (which is why we are starting with one inside service)
  3. Bathrooms have to be sanitized by user after each use (we are limiting services to 45 minutes so folks have an adequate time to get home if they prefer)
  4. Masks are necessary.
  5. We cannot have self-serve coffee, donuts, etc. (still working on how we can do this)
  6. Bibles and hymnals must be removed from the pews.
  7. There cannot be any congregational singing. Singers must be distanced from each other (makes choir very complicated!!).
  8. Assuming social distancing is still in place, folks will be seated from the front to the back and dismissed back rows first to the front. Every other pew will be roped off so that there is 6 feet between pews. Tape will identify where to sit on the pews so there is 6 feet between family/individuals.
  9. We can be seated only at 50% capacity according to CDC guidelines, but we cannot do that if we are 6 feet apart. It is therefore more like a third.

Here is the good news! We will continue to have Saturday Night worship outside in our lovely space outback. We will continue to livestream worship on Sunday mornings at 9am. These are very different services with different elements, music, and sermon. You can watch the livestream service anytime after 11am on Sundays if you miss it at 9!

Things may change by August. Protocols identified by the Governor and our Annual Conference are being followed but may lighten over the summer. Our task force is doing a great job keeping up with what is the best practice so everyone can stay healthy. I know some folks have set aside the fear and anxiety of the covid-19 virus; however, when we think about each other, it gives us pause and encourages us to love our neighbors as ourselves. We have vulnerable folks in our congregation. We have lots of children for whom it is not reasonable to wear a mask (too young) and for whom it is not feasible to socially distance.

Here are ways right now you can help!

  1. We are seeking several volunteers to be trained in August to join the tech crew. We will need 5 volunteers each week!
  2. Beginning in July, we are doing a series on journeys and the lessons we learn. Please share unique pictures of journeys you’ve been on in the past or while you are out and about now. We will be continuing daily devotions all summer long.

I know you will join me in making the most of it, in working for the good and well-being of all, and doing what you can to encourage each other.

Blessings, Karin

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