Reopening Update - In-Person Worship Resumes September 12
Dear Siblings in Christ,
We are so looking forward to having our first indoor worship in 18 months on Sunday, September 12 at 11am. Our staff and reopening team have been actively and prayerfully preparing for this day for months, meeting regularly, listening to the science and data and making informed decisions.
We are grateful for the 70 of you who participated in our reopening survey in June and helped inform our decisions and approach thus far. It clarified for us that the most important things for our congregation at this time are to come together for in-person worship, to gather in our sacred Sanctuary and to experience live music as a part of our worship experience.
As we continue to monitor updates on COVID and its variants, we are adhering to some basic standards:
1. seeking to protect the most vulnerable among us.
2. being flexible and patient as we figure things out together and adapt accordingly.
3. recognizing that life will not be exactly the same as before the pandemic; we are entering a “new normal,” with new possibilities and new challenges.
4. staying mindful that we are all in this together and doing our best to keep our community safe.
As we begin this new program and fiscal year of 2021-22, our staff, Church Council and Ministry Teams are keeping these priority areas and community needs in mind:
Regathering -- Focusing our emotional, physical and spiritual energy on what is most essential: worshiping and enjoying fellowship together, and connecting physically as a community.
Healing -- Recovering and nurturing one another spiritually as we continue to live in this pandemic and regain footing after one of the most tumultuous years in our lifetimes. We seek to create space and worship experiences that allow for individual and collective healing, letting our souls catch up with our bodies and helping to heal our community through our affordable housing work, welcoming the Brookline Food Pantry and joining the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO).
Grounding -- Examining and strengthening our foundation: financially, missionally, spiritually and building-wise. We seek to focus on key operational issues that will help us lay a strong foundation for the way forward, including long range financial planning.
We are planning for a phased approach to gathering physically, starting with worship, and then layering in other activities (Church School, music rehearsals, etc.) over the coming weeks. Stay tuned for details.
- We strongly encourage everyone who is able to get vaccinated.
- If you have questions about the vaccine or need help with scheduling or transportation to a vaccine appointment, please contact the Church Office at 617-277-6860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We will not be asking for vaccination status or proof of vaccination from the congregation at large, but staff, church school teachers, worship leaders and musicians are required to be vaccinated.
- If you are experiencing symptoms or have been around someone with symptoms, please stay home.
- If you feel sick, please do not attend in-person worship.
Entering the Sanctuary
- There will be check-in stations at the entrances for contract tracing purposes.
- Ushers will check you in using Realm or you can check in via the Realm mobile app.
- Note - Please be aware that the Sanctuary entrance under the bell tower may not be accessible due to the possibility of falling pieces of spalling stone and concrete around the tower. Out of an abundance of caution, we have temporarily cordoned off the area until we complete the tower repairs.
- Everyone over the age of two is required to wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
- Masks must be worn properly covering nose and mouth.
We recommend KF94 or KN95 masks, or double masking for added protection.
- Hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and extra masks will be available at the entrances.
- Choir members will wear special masks with extra filtration.
- Seating in the Sanctuary will be spaced, with at least six feet between family/household groups.
- Ushers will direct you where to sit, and how to enter and exit the Sanctuary.
- Everyone is asked to social distance when indoors.
- Total worship time will be under an hour.
- Congregational singing will be limited.
- Passing of the peace will be contactless; we encourage you to wave or give the peace sign.
- Offering plates will not be passed; baskets will be available at the exits and Venmo and Paypal are available. You can also donate through the Realm app or by text.
- Hymnals, Bibles and printed bulletins will be available.
- Windows will be open for ventilation.
- Industrial air purifiers are being installed in the Sanctuary.
- Coffee Hour will be held outside on the front lawn (under tents if raining).
- Light refreshments will be served (prepackaged, single-servings).
- Please social distance when possible.
- We will follow our Outdoor Guidelines for Church Activities: Fully vaccinated people are not required to wear a face mask outside. Unvaccinated people should wear a face covering outside unless they are unable to, due to medical reasons or are under the age of 5 years old.
- Worship will continue to be livestreamed to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/unitedparishinbrookline
9:30am - Nursery Open (Location TBD)
9:45am-10:15am - Family Reunion Worship Service (Front Lawn)
10:00am-10:45am - Chancel Choir Rehearsal (Sanctuary or Choir Room)
10:15am-10:45am - Coffee Hour (Front Lawn)
11:00am-11:45am - Worship (Sanctuary)
On behalf of the Council, worship leaders, and leadership of our church, thank you for your continued commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of our siblings in Christ and all fellow children of God.
“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40)
God’s grace, mercy, and peace be with you,
Kent French, Senior Pastor
Amy Norton, Associate Pastor
Susan DeSelms, Minister of Music
Jennifer Rodine, Moderator
David Dunphy, Facilities Manager
Sarah Fitzpatrick, Parish Administrator
And the United Parish Reopening Planning Team