WHEN CAN WE WORSHIP IN-PERSON?
A message from POVUCC's Church Council.
Our church leaders have been hard at work keeping up with the latest news and recommendations re: COVID-19. You have probably seen a lot of news about San Diego's reopening of restaurants, stores, and even houses of worship. New guidelines are offered almost every day, and we take these recommendations seriously.
On June 7, leaders met to discuss our plans to gather in-person. After this meeting and much discernment, we decided to keep our worship AS IS, meaning we will continue with our current online and mailed resources for now.
There are many reasons for this difficult decision, most importantly, our care and love for our congregation. Many of us are over 65 and/or have underlying health issues that make it dangerous for us to attend worship in person. We also reviewed current guidelines for worshiping in our sanctuary, which drastically change how we worship and include:
- only 25% of us can attend at one time, spaced out for physical distancing
- air flow must be enhanced to prevent droplets from remaining in the air for long periods of time
- we should not sing or recite together aloud, either as a congregation or a choir, as these increase the risk of spread of COVID-19
- we cannot distribute bulletins, pass offering bags, or offer communion in our traditional way, and we cannot share food together after worship
These, along with many other issues, make gathering in person a risk that we choose not to take at this time. We agree with the County of San Diego, which recommends against houses of worship gathering in person. You will undoubtedly see news accounts about some churches resuming on-site worship this week. Please keep in mind our decision is based on the demographics of our congregation, who will become sicker and die at a higher rate, should they contract COVID-19.
We have established a Re-Gathering Committee, led by Moderator Denise Jenkins, which will continue to monitor guidelines and scientific data related to in-person gatherings. This committee will meet often until July 15, when they will re-evaluate our current policy.
In the interim, we appreciate your patience and prayers. Please let us know if there is anything you need or have questions about our decision.
Yours in faith,
POVUCC Church Council