Revised COVID-19 precautions for
First Christian Church, Edwardsville
As of May 19, 2021, about 38% of adults in the US are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (37% in Illinois). Since vaccination makes the risk of getting infected or passing the virus very low, public health authorities have recently changed recommendations and government bodies have eased restrictions.
Our COVID-19 protocols task group met Tuesday, May 18, 2021 to review updated guidance and revise our precautions. We considered the subjects of touching common objects, sharing food and drink, congregational singing and speaking, social distancing, and wearing masks.
Touching common objects: COVID-19 is almost entirely passed by breathing in air exhaled by an infected person. The risk of catching it by touching an object touched or breathed on by an infected person has been found to be extremely low. We will return hymnals, bibles, and worship aids to our pews. We will continue to provide the individual communion wafer and juice kits we’ve used during the pandemic, but worshipers will take them from trays passed through the congregation in the first service and come to the communion table to take them from trays in the second service. We won’t pass offering plates at this time, but will continue to ask that offerings be put in the box in the narthex or mailed to the office or made online. We encourage continuing to wash hands frequently.
Sharing food and drink: The risk of catching COVID-19 from eating or drinking has been found to be extremely low. We’ll resume our fellowship time between services, asking those who aren’t fully vaccinated to socially distance and wear masks except when actively eating or drinking.
Congregational singing and speaking: The CDC says that fully vaccinated people can safely sing in an indoor chorus. We will resume congregational singing of hymns and saying some prayers aloud, asking those who are not fully vaccinated to wear masks and sing or speak softly.
Social distancing: The CDC says that “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” We will remove the “soft barriers” of ribbons and signs in our sanctuary. We ask those who are not fully vaccinated to continue to keep at least six feet of space between themselves and others not of their household.
Wearing masks: Recognizing that no vaccine has yet been approved for children under 12 and others may not be fully vaccinated, we ask that everyone keep a mask handy. We ask those who aren’t fully vaccinated to wear a mask. We ask those who are fully vaccinated who may come within six feet of others who are wearing masks to put theirs on too. Our principle is to put others’ health and comfort level first.
Precautions for our children’s and youth activities: While we wait for vaccines to reach our children and youth, during indoors activities everyone will wear masks. We plan that as many of our activities as possible be outdoors, though, where the children, youth and adults can go without masks so long as they socially distance.
Livestreaming worship and meeting by videoconferencing: meeting online has been a gift to many of us when we could not otherwise gather. Now that we’ve learned how to do it, we’ll continue to offer the options of livestreamed worship and attending meetings remotely, as our members and friends have need. Both the 9 AM and 10:30 AM services are live-streamed, and are available here.
Our target date for adopting these revised practices and precautions is Sunday, May 30, 2021.
Recordings of worship services are available here.
Recordings of Children Worship and Wonder are available here.