Inside-Outside Update: Returning to EHUMC (Re-Opening of our Facility in response to COVID-19)

The Re-Gathering Team and the EHUMC Staff thank you for your participation in our return to in-person events and for your comments and suggestions for continued improvement. We have been monitoring multiple sources of health information for our county, state, and nation. The increasing number of vaccinated individuals is encouraging while the numbers of new cases hold steady or with a slight decline. We continue to monitor both sets of numbers from outside the church and we feel comfortable making additional updates to our process inside. Here are the changes we will put into place:
 
What is changing about Sunday worship?

  • Starting May 16th: we will still require registration for worship www.embryhillsumc.org/in-person-worship but will expand our capacity to 85 people. If indicators continue to improve, we will expand to 100 people for Sunday worship starting in June.

  • We will continue to assign seats to help map attendance and aid in contact tracing if necessary. **We invite you and others you "pod" with to register for worship in a single registration. To do so please have one person register and list those who will sit with you under the “guest” tab. Please limit "pods" to 5 persons unless you are a family unit.**

  • Please feel free to gather under the portico starting at 10:20 am prior to worship to (socially distantly) fellowship outdoors if you desire. Please check-in at the table outside under the awning. The FLC will open for seating at 10:50.

  • We will no longer require a temperature check at the door. (Of course, if you feel feverish on any given Sunday, we request you worship from home.)

  • At the conclusion of the service, you may exit the Family Life Center through any exit. (We have done a good job of avoiding congestion and exiting through the entryway will be easier for those parked on that side of the building).

  • We continue to encourage but will not require masking outside after the service where social distancing is possible. In times where social distance cannot be maintained masks must be worn. (Helpful note: If you are close enough to need to say “excuse me” passing by, please have a mask).

  • Youth and Children’s ministry will implement outside masking protocols to their comfort level and the comfort level of families participating in the programming.
     

 When can we be back in the Sanctuary?

  • Currently, we have several opportunities to improve areas of our campus that must be prioritized. Over the last several years we focused on replacing air handling units all around our building. We replaced the Family Life Center unit 2 years ago, the Chapel unit last year, and most recently, the two HVAC units that provide for the Education Wing. Our plans for this year originally included the replacement of the Sanctuary unit, a complicated repair that will require demolition and structural remodeling. However, these priorities have recently changed. The roof over the Education Wing has had several repairs over many years and is now in need of total replacement.  The Trustees, after careful consideration, have chosen to prioritize the replacement of the roof over the replacement of the Sanctuary HVAC.  This decision will mean that we will need to continue to utilize the FLC as our primary worship and large gathering location for the remainder of this year, or until we can responsibly incur the cost to replace the HVAC unit in the Sanctuary.

What about our staff?

  • Susan, Victoria, Laura, and Susannah will be in the office on Mondays and Tuesdays with appointments available from 10 am- 2 pm. Appointments are necessary for anyone who would like to come to the church office so we can avoid crowding and waiting.

  • Lee, Dottie, and Lori will continue to work remotely and come in on an as-needed basis. 

  • Please always feel free to reach out to the office to set up a time to talk to staff.
     

What about Vacation Bible School?

  • VBS 2021 will be a one-day event for families on July 10th, 9 am-12 pm.

  • The Children’s Council has worked very hard to prepare a careful event with families in mind, watch for details soon!
     

What about small groups?

  • We are happy to announce that we are preparing for small groups and Sunday school classes to meet in the church building, on a by-reservation basis. To prepare, please contact Laura at the church office and provide the name, approximate number of people, and preferred day and time. We will collect the level of interest and work with groups to arrange a space. Note: “Sunday school” doesn’t necessarily have to be on “Sunday”, and you may be assigned to a different room than you are used to in order to provide enough space for distancing.
     

 What about community groups?

  • We are phasing in participation by community groups.

  • Camp Buzz is confirmed for weekdays June 7th-25th and July 5th-23rd.
    Visit https://camp-buzz.weebly.com/ for more information.

  • EPiC will conduct some outdoor rehearsals.

  • Additional outside community groups will be held to the same space restraints as our other activities, for example, no more than 85 in the FLC for May. Interested groups must reserve space and time with Laura