COVID-19 Updates

 
 
Updated COVID-19 Guidelines:
 

Dear St. Paul’s,

Continuing our conversation from last week, the Trustees met on Tuesday night to discuss updating our COVID-19 Protocols in the wake of the CDC’s new recommendations regarding mask-wearing and vaccinations. For the past 14 months, we have been gathering in very limited groups and worshiping in a very limited fashion to reduce our potential exposure to COVID-19. Locally and nationally, our COVID-19 numbers continue to decline, and we urge your prayers for places around the world with increasing cases and limited access to vaccinations and healthcare. Unfortunately, the pandemic is not over.

I also want to thank everyone on the Trustees Committee and our COVID Task Force for their continued hard work in developing and implementing our response to COVID-19, and each of you for your cooperation during this time. This has not been easy for anyone, least of all the preacher who loves having a full sanctuary and seeing everyone’s full face on Sunday! After discussion at the meeting, the Trustees agreed on the following steps to take as we worship and fellowship together as a congregation:

The following protocols go into effect on Sunday, May 23rd:

  • Following CDC guidance, we will no longer require masks or social/physical distancing on church property and at worship for those who have completed their COVID-19 vaccination.
  • While we encourage everyone to get a vaccine, we recognize that some persons are not able to be vaccinated because they are immune compromised, under the age of 12, etc. A section of the pews in the sanctuary will be set aside for those who wish to attend services masked and socially/physically distanced.
    • Please be respectful of those needing or choosing to wear masks in worship.
    • We encourage all worshipers to wear a mask when in close proximity to others wearing masks as a selfless expression of our love and care.
  • Our Covenant Keepers will be happy to assist anyone as they find their seat in the socially-distanced pews, but will no longer be intentionally seating people as before.
  • We will discontinue pre-registration, capacity limits, and temperature checks at worship services and other group events.
  • Entering and exiting the sanctuary will still be done through the south narthex doors that face the Fellowship Hall.
  • Congregational singing is allowed.
  • Policies for use of the Fellowship Hall will be left to Kraig as the youth and children are the primary users of the facility. As of this coming weekend, their policies and procedures will remain the same.

We will continue developing our relaunch in the coming weeks and months as we begin re-placing Hymnals and Bibles, relaunching our Hospitality Ministry, and many other things. There are a lot of details to put back together! And another thing worth mentioning; while most of us are, I’m sure, super excited to be back together again, please be mindful that this transition to a group setting for worship may take some getting used to for some who have been isolated for over a year. Please be kind and considerate as we gather.

As we celebrate Pentecost on Sunday, rejoicing in the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Apostolic church, let’s thank the Holy Spirit for keeping us together “in spirit” even as we’ve endured this time dispersed from each other. For those who are still not ready to attend worship, we’ll save a seat for you, and hope to see you soon! Since I have not completed my COVID-19 Vaccinations (my next shot will be on Monday!), you will see me masked and socially distanced in worship for the next few Sundays. I am excited to see many of your faces again, and I know we will be blessed with God’s Spirit as we worship!

 

Peace and Joy,

 

Robert

 

As we enter this new phase of worshipping in the time of COVID-19, we will be constantly learning and adapting to the changing situations around us.  If you missed the livestream, check our YouTube channel for a posted recording of the livestream service. We invite you to come and be a part of this new chapter here at St. Paul’s!

 
Please check coronavirus.gov for up-to-date national information and the Florida Department of Health webpage for up-to-date state information.
 
Our Florida United Methodist Conference also has useful information including the latest updates from Bishop Carter. You can find their website here.
 
Please continue to monitor our Facebook page and this web page for updates on COVID-19.   Your safety is our primary concern, and if you have any questions about our church, our coronavirus response, or Florida Conference policies and procedures during this time, please let us know and we will be happy to help answer your questions. 
 
Following Jesus’s ethic to care for “the least of these,” we are especially sensitive to the needs of vulnerable populations to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are doing everything we can to care for them, and ourselves, during this time.