The reopening committee, a subcommittee of the administrative council, continues to meet on a regular basis to determine when it will be safe to start to reopen our church. As most of you know, the pandemic continues to expand and right now, central Minnesota is one of the “hotspots” in our state. With the schools, local businesses, and our local communities needing to dial back public gatherings, we are recommending “no change” in our present status. We know that several of you are looking for the specific “metrics” that we are using to make our decisions, but we’ve found in this process that even the experts have differing opinions. Our best approach is to continue to be in constant contact with our Church Conference and Minnesota Department of Health for their recommendations concerning the reopening process and then make recommendations that best fit our situation.

We have received several excellent questions and requests about this reopening process. The most common question is “When will we be able to use our church again?” Other questions include: “Can we open the sanctuary on Sunday for viewing the virtual service on the big screen?”, “Can we have small group meetings—i.e. Bible study, Men’s group, Women’s group, etc.?”, “Can we just have ‘time slots’ to go into the sanctuary to meditate?” These and others are all excellent questions and deserve to be addressed. We are all anxious to return to “normal”. We have had an opportunity to become part of a webinar put on by the Minnesota Department of Health called “Faith Based and Covid 19” that meets monthly. Their most recent recommendation is NOT to consider reopening until late spring 2021. This is not what you wanted to hear and not what we like to recommend, but the Dept. of Health is looking to the Faith Communities to set a good example.

In an effort to be totally transparent about this process, we will continue to update you on a regular basis concerning the most current situation. We will accomplish this with these newsletter updates, the Pastors will have “Ministry Moments” during Sunday services, and on December 6th at 10:45am we will have a Town Hall Zoom meeting to hear your concerns, your opinions, and hopefully answer your questions to the best of our ability. Also, listed below are the members of this committee, and we welcome you contacting us directly.

There is being “safe”, but the Department of Health would like us to be “safer”. That means not only MASKING, good hand hygiene, social distancing, and being tested if any question, but avoiding social gatherings. We need to observe the public health practices if we want to mitigate the spread. Now more than ever is the time that we, as a church community, must do no harm and love our neighbors by embodying these vital practices
Thank you for your patience. We are all in this together. PLEASE BE SAFE!