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The Reopening Task Force is meeting to create the path forward to reopening the church for worship and other activities, in the safest way possible. The Reopening Task Force is
Please feel free to contact any of us regarding the church’s reopening plans.
The protocols for both the building in general and the Sanctuary in particular have been developed with the safety and comfort of the entire Saint Andrew’s community in mind. These initial protocols will be modified as conditions and restrictions change. Considering CDC guidelines, King county and Washington state vaccination rates and disease spread information, the Reopening Task Force has created these protocols for the gradual reopening of the Saint Andrew’s campus.
Saint Andrew’s resumed Sunday morning in-person worship on June 27, 2021.
Starting Sunday July 11, 2021, there are no longer attendance limits, nor reservations required for Sunday worship. A “Distanced” section will be available for those that desire to maintain social distancing from other household pods.
Should safety conditions at Saint Andrew’s or the wider community deteriorate, a decision may be made to close the building at any time.
Initial reopening will involve one Sunday morning service at 9:30 am. A simultaneous livestream of the worship service also continues.
Reservations are no longer required for attending in-person worship.
Prior to arrival at Saint Andrew’s, each person will do a self-assessment of their own wellness and if not well, remain at home.
FACE COVERINGS AND DISTANCING
In accordance with federal and state guidelines, fully vaccinated persons are not required to wear masks. Unvaccinated persons must wear a mask indoors. Everyone is free to wear a mask if they choose.
For everyone’s safety, all hymnals and other printed materials have been removed. There is a “Distanced” section available where seating between household pods will be separated by at least six feet. The non-distanced section does not have this restriction. A household will choose which section to sit in on Sunday morning. There is no reservation required for either section. Children must remain seated in the pews with their household; movement around the Sanctuary will not be permitted. Parents are encouraged to bring what their children may need from their home, not share those things with other households and take them back home. There will not be worship bags, books or other toys provided by Saint Andrew’s until such time as more restrictions are lifted.
One family group at a time may use each of the restrooms in the Narthex.
Hymn singing, choral music and instrumental music is integral to the Lutheran worship experience and can be engaged safely with certain precautions. The Worship Team will continue to lead music as has been done for live-streaming. Full vaccination is required for all Worship Team participants; therefore they may sing and play instruments unmasked. They will be appropriately distanced from the congregation. Worshippers may sing with or without masks according to their vaccination status and comfort level.
Practices for the distribution of Holy Communion will be such that attendees commune in place in the seat to which they were ushered. After check-in, the person(s) will be welcomed by a Hospitality Team member through the Narthex where individual pre-packaged communion elements will be available for pickup prior to entering the Sanctuary.
People are encouraged to give online rather than bring offerings on Sunday mornings. However, there will be an offering plate for offerings in the Narthex where offerings may be left before or after the service.
Congregants are to remain seated through the postlude. Hospitality Team members will dismiss the assembly row by row after the conclusion of the postlude and guide direct exiting of the building. There should be no socializing inside. Other areas of the building e.g. Fellowship Hall, kitchen, office, music room will not be open or available on Sunday morning. The Worship Team will remain in place in the Sanctuary until all congregants have been dismissed. Congregants will be reminded to take all bulletins, other paper and communion remnants with them as they are dismissed. There will be receptacles in the Narthex for recycling and trash.
CONTACT TRACING PLAN
A worship attendance form will be available. Worshippers are encouraged to sign the attendance form. This form will be used if contact tracing becomes necessary.
As we reopen our church building to our members and outside groups it is important that we recognize that the reopening will be in stages and there will be changes to policies, standards, eligibility, and expectations for everyone who comes into the building. As these policies, standards, and expectations change the Reopening Task Force promises to communicate quickly and regularly with the congregation and the community about any and all changes that will impact those coming into the church building.
We promise regular updates on this page, in our newsletter (the VOICE), in our weekly enews (Trendings), the Sunday bulletin, and direct email messages to members. All members of the Reopening Task Force are available to answer questions about the process.
The Reopening Task Force is committed to following the recommendations of the CDC, state and local health officials, and the ELCA Northwest Washington Synod with the understanding that the safety of all who walk through our doors is paramount. Due to the logistics of our building and space we may stay below the recommendations made by these groups (i.e. occupying the Sanctuary at 25% versus 50%) to ensure the safety of all.
Should the safety of the situation at the church building or in the wider community deteriorate, congregational leadership may make a decision to roll back building usage or close the building at any time.
Safety is the utmost concern for the Reopening Task Force, the staff, and the leadership of the church. If there is any time that the leadership of the congregation has concerns about the health and safety of those that enter the building, we will err on the side of safety.
As we reopen the building for worship and other activities we ask that all people review the eligibility requirements for participation. These requirements will vary depending on the purpose for entry.
Prior to entering the building for any purpose, all people are asked to self-assess using the COVID-19 screening questions. These questions are on the entry doors to the building, and used for all on-site activities.
If participants are not wearing masks, staying 6 feet apart, or otherwise not following precautions, we will end worship/the meeting/gathering at the discretion of the leader of that meeting. In the case of worship, that will be the Pastor or Director of Music Ministries. For other gatherings that will be determined by the staff or group leader present. If failure to adhere to precautions is a problem for any gathering we will have to suspend in-person gatherings until further notice.
All these requirements will be clearly posted throughout the building and will be communicated on the church website, via email, and will be available in print copy as requested.
ON-SITE GROUP ELIGIBILITY
Any group, church-affiliate or not, that desires to meet on the church grounds must get approval from the church office prior to meeting. Currently, only church-affiliated groups such as committees will be approved for facility use. Outside groups may submit facility use requests but approval may be pended until later in the year.
Whether a group is meeting inside the church building or outside, all groups will need to meet the following requirements when meeting on church grounds.
All groups meeting at the church must complete a contact tracing form. If a group can verify that all attendees are fully vaccinated (fully vaccinated means 14 days past the last dose of the vaccine), they can meet in person (pending the approval) without masks or social distancing. However, if it is found that an attendee is not fully vaccinated and participates unmasked and without social distancing the group will either
Groups that wish to meet on campus without all members being fully vaccinated will have to follow these requirements: