Update on WSPC's Coronavirus Response

[A message from the Coronavirus Task Force]

Thank you to so many who participated in our Zoom Town Hall on Sunday, May 24. It's clear that we all miss gathering together, and we were encouraged by the willingness to make the accommodations necessary to do this safely. We want to send you an update on our process and plans.

The Governor yesterday released new guidelines for churches that allow for gatherings of less than 50 in an earlier phase of re-opening, along with several specific requirements (social distancing, required face masks, no choir, etc.). This was a very welcome communication and helpful for us. We will update Sunday's chart to reflect these recent changes and upload it to Realm for your comments.

Two important clarifications that emerged from the Town Hall:

  1. LIVESTREAM/ONLINE will continue as a worship platform even when we have started to regather in person.
  2. VULNERABLE POPULATIONS (Persons over 65 and those with underlying conditions) are defined by CDC and local public health authorities. If self-isolation is strongly recommended, but not mandated, then the same standard will be applied to our worship gatherings. All members will be screened for symptoms (as required by WA State guidelines), but no member will be excluded from a worship gathering based on age.

When the public health recommendations no longer strongly recommend that those vulnerable to severe side effects from COVID-19 self-isolate, then staff or volunteer leaders in this category will be invited to resume their in-person ministry roles.

What are the next steps for the Task Force?

Before the announcement of new guidelines for churches was released, the Session had met on Tuesday and a working group took information from the Town Hall, along with feedback from individuals, to work on a detailed plan. The task force meets again on Sunday to discuss specific scenarios related to community groups / family sized community and worship gatherings. There are four priorities guiding this work:

  1. That we keep our mission priorities of making disciples, especially among young adults and families with young children. clearly in view in our decision making.
  2. That within this discipleship we prioritize loving our neighbors, by partnering with local public health to protect the most vulnerable. Our character as a multigenerational church is very important in our decision making.
  3. That we continue to pay attention to the level of risk tolerance among congregational members and factor this into decision making.
  4. That we pay attention to how someone who is new to West Side since this all started is welcomed and provided a way into worship and community.

The Task Force will continue their work, including interactions with members, to clarify our plans to gather and to worship as we move forward. Session meets on June 16 to approve the proposed plans (keeping in mind that, as we just experienced with the latest revised guidelines, we are in an unpredictable time and will be flexible!).

Is Worship staying online in June?

We can all expect to continue with online worship for the next few weeks. 
  • This Sunday is Pentecost -- wear red and we will celebrate communion! (Details to follow from Pastor Laurie). 
  • On June 7 we will have special musical elements on what would have been Music Sunday.
  • On June 14 we will celebrate our graduates!

Pastor Laurie will be taking some time off in the beginning of June for two weeks. She and David will still be participating in worship from home with us online, simply not leading.

In the meantime...
Please know that your input and your prayers are welcome as we work. You may contact any one of us through Realm — just search on a name — or email: [email protected].

Task Force Members:
Karol Aronson, Laurie Brenner, Janie Garris, John Jacobs, Stacy Kutz, Blythe Meigs, Dave Pimblett, and Ann Vander Hijde
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