PLC Statements/Guidance from Presbytery Staff
These documents are essential reading as churches consider re-opening.
- Resuming Care-filled Worship and Sacramental Life During a Pandemic (added June 10, 2020)
- The Re-opening Task Force believes this is the most comprehensive and helpful document concerning worship we’ve seen to date It was published by the Ecumenical Consultation on Protocols for Worship, Fellowship, and Sacraments.
- PCUSA Guidance for Returning to In-Person Worship
- The first seven pages provide background material including a pastoral and theological statement.
- Pages 8 and 9 outline a provisional timeline for consideration. This timeline is extremely useful for churches of every size.
- Pages 10 through 12 offer a series of general considerations.
- Pages 13-19 offer specific comments on worship.
- Returning to Worship (Church Mutual Insurance) This is a thorough checklist of items to be completed before re-opening.
- New York Times Article “Churches Were Eager to Reopen. Now They Are a Major Source of Coronavirus Cases” (Added July 8, 2020)
Frequently Asked Questions
- When can my church facility re-open?
- What does my church need to do to re-open its facilities?
- Some Medical Questions Answered
Specific Recommendations and Things to Consider
Responses from Cascades Churches
- First Presbyterian Church, Bend, OR
- First Presbyterian Church Newport, OR
- First Presbyterian Church Portland, OR A way to use data to help decide when to reconvene in person (Added March 19, 2021)
- Valley Community Presbyterian, Portland, OR (Facility Occupancy – Phase 1)
- Valley Community Presbyterian, Portland, OR (Office Guidelines)
- Community Presbyterian, Redmond, OR
- Chapel By the Sea Phase 1 letter, Lincoln City, OR May 14 2020
- Chapel By the Sea Rapid Response Team Recommendations, Lincoln City, OR May 2020
- First Presbyterian Woodburn June 2020
- Lebanon building reopening
- Colonial Heights Presbyterian Church, Portland Basic Guidance for Building Use-Covid 19
- Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting (from CDC)
- Cleaning and Disinfecting Decision Tool (from CDC)
One of the most difficult aspects of re-opening our facilities is providing for the possibility of contacting everyone who has been present in our buildings should the need arise. This article in Christianity Today provides guidance for establishing practices that enable swift contact tracing. Among their recommendations are:
- Keeping a log of every person who enters our facilities, when they were there, and where they sit. The log should include names and contact numbers. The article suggests labeling pews and assigning seats or table numbers. The log should be maintained for at least three weeks.
- Having an individual or staff person identified to maintain registration logs. This person may be the logical choice to be the point of contact with local health authorities.
If you utilize church management software, you may want to check with the company to see if they provide a check-in app. The Task Force will continue to research effective practices regarding contact tracing and update the website as resources are identified.
PPE Questions to consider:
- It is recommended that everyone wear a mask when in the church. Is your church going to provide masks to people if they do not have their own?
- How are you going to handle it when someone attends worship or a meeting without a mask? Who is the person(s) responsible for enforcing whatever decisions you make?
Several church supply companies are now selling masks and other equipment related to the coronavirus. Their products have not been tried personally or their prices compared with other sellers. This does not represent an endorsement of either company.
Worship Questions to consider:
- At this time, singing in worship is not recommended. The document Singing in Worship thoroughly explains why and offers suggestions for enhancing worship in other ways. How are you going to persuade people not to sing in worship?
- Video – Rev. Tim Winslea describes alternatives to singing in worship
- How are you going to maintain physical distancing during worship?
- Broadcast your choir and perform live or worship live in your parking lot while people listen on their car FM radios Note: You are legally limited to 200 ft. for your broadcast and it cannot interfere with any other station.
- Click for additional resources for those wishing to explore issues related to re-opening more deeply.