Wisconsin’s COVID numbers unfortunately remain high. So First Church is adapting with a step-by-step approach designed to lead us cautiously, safely, and inclusively towards more in-person activities, including activities indoors.
Meetings of Small Groups of Staff-Led Teams (meetings of less than 20 people in any First Church group led by a staff member, e.g. Pastoral Care Associates)
For the first step, the COVID Team is working with the staff to experiment with small groups of staff-led teams meeting in person indoors. This is only allowed if every member of the team is willing to show proof of either: 1) vaccination or 2) a negative COVID test within 72 hours. Participation in these meetings will be available via Zoom for those who would prefer to not meet in-person. Staff members will initiate the conversation with their staff-led teams about the possibility of meeting in person, how to submit proof of vaccinations and tests, and how to Zoom-in to a meeting if you would prefer not to meet in person.
Meetings of Small Groups of Member-Led Ministries (meetings of less than 20 people in any First Church group led by First Church members, e.g. The Chronologically Gifted group)
After we learn from this experiment in Phase 1, we hope to open the church to more people, beginning with small member-led ministry groups whose members are willing to opt-in for proof of vaccination or testing. We will let you know how to do this once we have more information from Phase 1 about what procedures work and what we can improve.
Larger Groups, Working Towards In-person Sunday Services
As we learn how to do this safely and inclusively, we will continue to open to more and larger groups of people. We are simultaneously watching our local COVID incidence rate. In this moment, when transmission risk is still very high, one way we can open more safely and inclusively is through creating a system of proof of vaccination and negative testing for indoor participation.
We hope to learn enough from Phases 1 and 2of our process to be able to increase the number of people who gather and move towards having indoor worship services in Phase 3.
We are still learning and experimenting with new systems as we work hard to keep you safe, and we will keep our online and outdoor church options running during this time.
Thank you so much for your graciousness and your patience as we adapt again to circumstances and learn yet another new way to provide spiritual nourishment and care in line with our values while attending to the needs of the most vulnerable.
You all are in our hearts as we venture into this new world, our minds fully engaged in the science, our hearts committed to nourishing your spirits, and our spirits oriented towards justice.
Rev. Jennifer Nordstrom & the First Church COVID Team