June 23, 2020
We appreciate your patience as you have waited for news about how and when Derry Church will gather in person. For some, it might feel like we are reopening too slowly. Others are glad to wait it out at home. Since traditional church services and activities like singing have been proven to spread COVID-19, we must err on the side of caution for the safety of our congregation and staff.
It’s our hope that the following three-point plan will offer you some clarity as we move forward with plans for reopening Derry Church:
As of July 3, 2020, Derry Church’s Session is permitting non-essential gatherings of 25 or fewer people in the church building and grounds when CDC and other government guidelines are being followed.
- Outdoor gatherings are preferred.
- Gatherings are limited to 25 or fewer people unless otherwise approved by Session.
- Gatherings must take place outside or in indoor spaces that can be ventilated and where it’s possible for groups to practice social distancing (Fellowship Hall, Lounge, Room 7, and in some instances, the Chapel).
- All gatherings must be scheduled in advance through the church office. Call 717-533-9667 or email Teresa Hutcheson (email@example.com)
- Attendance must be taken and reported to Teresa within 24 hours of the event. Organizers must collect names, phone numbers and email addresses of all participants: tracking forms available in the sidebar. If someone who attended a church gathering is later confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19, participants will be notified.
- Masks must be worn at all events, inside and outside.
- Participants must practice social distancing: keeping at least six feet apart.
- Hand sanitizer must be used on arrival and departure.
- If you are feeling sick or have a fever or cough, stay home.
- Disinfecting wipes will be provided. Before leaving, participants must wipe down any tables, counters, and chairs used during the gathering.
- Limit elevator use to one person or family at a time
- Rest rooms can be used during indoor gatherings: thorough hand washing after use is required.
Participants must bring their own chairs or blankets, or use the all-weather benches and seating already in place outdoors.
Session has approved a detailed plan for implementing outdoor worship.
- After July 10, Derry Church will host a trial run outdoor worship service with a small group of church officers that will provide an opportunity for testing logistics, sound, spacing and other practicalities.
- If all goes well, four opportunities for worship will be offered at 7 pm on Tuesdays in July and August (dates will be posted in the eNews and on this page).
- If it rains on a Tuesday, that service will be rescheduled for 7 pm Thursday.
- Outdoor worship may be cancelled up to and including the day of the service. Cancellations will be posted on derrypres.org and Facebook.
- Attendance will be limited
- RSVPs will be MANDATORY
- Those interested in attending may RSVP for one of the four services. If space is still available on the day of a service, anyone may sign up until the maximum number is reached.
- Worship will be held on the front lawn.
- Participants must bring their own chairs or blankets and remain six feet apart from other family groups and individuals.
- If an usher asks a participant to move to another location, he/she/they must comply.
- Masks must be worn. If any one refuses, the service will be discontinued for all.
- Hand sanitizer will be provided and must be used on arrival
- Services will be 30-45 minutes and include simple liturgy, prayers and a homily
- Singing will be limited to short refrains
- The building will not be open
- No pets allowed
- Bring your own water bottle
- Rest rooms will not be available
- Refrain from gathering in groups and hugging or touching each other
- Leave when directed to do so by an usher
On Sunday mornings through August, worship will continue to be live stream only.
As summer comes to a close, Session will determine next steps based on recommendations from the Session-appointed re-opening task force.