SHENKEL UCC REOPENING PLAN


UPDATED 7/17/2020
 

Return to Shenkel

Greetings Shenkel Family:

 

After much prayerful consideration, I am happy to announce that Consistory has approved a Return to Shenkel Plan and Protocol.  Our deliberation included the most recent information from the CDC, the PA Department of Health, and the UCC Science and Technology Network.  Pastor Suzanne has been an integral and valuable part of our discussions.  I want to share our thinking, approach, and protocols with you.

 

One of the gifts we share as members is our difference of opinions.  I know some people can’t wait to get back and others are apprehensive about gathering with others.  Your feelings may be anywhere on that spectrum and may change day to day.  I want to be clear that you should return when you are comfortable.  Know you are always welcome at Shenkel.

 

Worship will look “different” than it did before.  Certain activities for now are too risky to resume.  It may feel strange, but this is a time for us to listen and know that God is still speaking to us; perhaps in a manner we’re not used to.

 

Pastor Suzanne and Lisa will be returning to the church office on Tuesday, July 21st.  I ask that you limit your face-to-face visits to Fellowship Hall so we can reduce our disinfecting obligations.

 

General Protocols:

 

I’ve attached our detailed protocols for Services, Meetings, and Funerals/Special Events.  As you will see, we are requiring masks to be worn during all services, meetings, and events.  Current science tells us that this is for the other person’s benefit more than it is for our own.  In Matthew, Jesus tells us that we should love our neighbor as ourselves.  I suggest we think of wearing a mask as a visible demonstration of that love.

 

We will be recording the names of each attendee at every service, meeting, and event.  If an attendee tests positive, we ask that they contact either Pastor Suzanne or Randy Berriker.  We will then contact each attendee letting them know of the test.  Rest assured, you will remain anonymous in that notification unless you specifically tell us it’s ok to use your name.

 

Social distancing.  This will be the hardest protocol for me.  I love shaking hands, hugging people, putting an arm around a person’s shoulder when they need support.  One of our strengths over the years has been our affection and support of each other.  COVID 19 makes that nearly impossible now.  Let’s try waving, faux high fives, virtual hugs, even bows as signs of our concern for each other.

 

Food and beverages.  This will be the second hardest protocol for me since I love to eat.  We will not be having any food or beverage at any service, meeting, or event.  Our kitchen will be closed for both food preparation and bringing in food to Fellowship Hall.  Our post-service meet-and-greet will be “food-free” for now.

 

Any service, meeting, or event held in Fellowship Hall will be restricted to the Hall and the restrooms.  The Sanctuary, kitchen, lower-level classrooms, and nursery/agape/choir rooms will not be available.  In the event of Funeral or other special event, prior approval must be requested and approved to use the Sanctuary.

 

 

Services:

 

Our 8:30 and 9:45 services will resume Sunday, August 2nd.  The early service will be in the Sanctuary; the late service will be in the Grove.  I have a 6-foot “Shenkel Connector” to make it easier to honor our social distancing protocol. 

 

All the current science indicates that outside worship is less risky than inside worship.  We plan to worship outside as long as weather permits in the fall.  We encourage you to bring your own chairs since some of the benches will be unavailable due to social distancing.

 

In the event of bad weather, our first alternative for the late service will be under the pavilion.  If it’s a deluge or oppressive heat, the service will be held in Fellowship Hall.  A sign will direct you where to enter and where to exit.  Chairs will be configured using social distancing between sets of chairs in a row and rows.  Tape on the floor and the 6-foot “Shenkel Connector” will help you know where to sit.

 

Upon arrival at a service, you will be greeted by a gloved member at a table that contains bulletins, extra masks, hand sanitizer, and offering plates.  In the rest rooms, you will find bleach-solution spray bottles and paper towels.  We ask that you use them both before and after using the facilities.

 

We ask that you continue to wear your mask during the service.  Pastor Suzanne will be masked prior to and after the service.  Once the service begins, she will be wearing a face shield to make it easier for folks to hear her and read her lips.

 

During the services, we will not have any hymn or soloist/group singing.    There will be special music which I encourage you to enjoy.  Everything you need for the service will be in the bulletin.  We will not be using any songbooks, hymnals, or bibles.

 

Since August 2nd is a communion Sunday, you will find individual element packets at the entrance table (some with grape juice; some with wine).  They will be available for each subsequent communion.

 

Meetings:

 

Standing Shenkel Committees and groups can use the Grove by confirming the date with the church office.  Fellowship Hall can be used with the General Protocols noted previously.

If tables are to be used, it is the Committee’s responsibility to set them up, disinfect them after use, take them down, and reset the room in our indoor service configuration.

 

Funerals and Other Special Events:

 

All General Protocols must be followed for the use of the Grove or Fellowship Hall.  Use of the Sanctuary must be requested and approved in advance of the event.

A commercial cleaning company will disinfect Fellowship Hall after an event.  The cost for this cleaning will be identified in advance and be borne by the sponsoring person/group.  We do not expect our sexton to perform these cleaning services.  The sexton can setup Fellowship Hall in advance of and reconfigure it after the event.

 

Funerals and Other Special Events:

 

A member said to me recently “I can’t wait to get together with my Shenkel Family even though I can’t get together with them.”  In this environment, “together” takes on a whole new meaning.  I encourage you to contact any Consistory member with your thoughts or questions on this new phase of our communal faith journey.  Remember, we are not alone.

 

Randy Berriker, Consistory President

 

Consistory Members:

Sandy Rowe

Joan Palubinsky

Pat Kuestner

Gary McDermit

Tony Gulotta

Dan Jenkins

Protocol for Shenkel Return

 

Services:

 

  1. The 8:30 service will be held in the Sanctuary.The 9:45 service will be held in the Grove.

  2. Based on weather, the 9:45 service will first be moved under the pavilion.If that move is not viable, the service will be moved to Fellowship Hall.

  3. Each person must wear a mask.Masks will be available for anyone that does not have one.

  4. Social distancing must be observed around each family unit. 

  5. Each attendee’s name will be taken in order to facilitate notification if an attendee subsequently tests positive. 

  6. A gloved greeter will be at a table outside the worship area.The table will contain:

    1. Offering plates

    2. Extra masks

    3. Hand sanitizer

    4. Antibacterial wipes

    5. Single-serve communion packets will be available for communion Sundays 

  7. All offerings must be placed in the plates at the entrance table. There will be no passing of the plate. 

  8. No singing of hymns or vocal soloists/groups will be part of the service. 

  9. Recorded, special music will be utilized. 

  10. Responsive readings will be limited. 

  11. Hymnals, songbooks, and bibles will not be available during a service. 

  12. Bleach-solution spray bottles and paper towels will be in the restrooms for disinfecting prior to and after a person’s use. 

  13. No food or beverages will be served as a fellowship time after a service. 

  14. If in the sanctuary, two pews must separate any family group.All social distancing guidelines must be followed. 

  15. If in Fellowship Hall, chairs must remain on the designated lines.On any designated line, chairs can be moved together for a family group, but social distancing must remain for a non-family group.

 

Meetings: 

Current Shenkel groups and committees will be able to meet in Fellowship Hall with the following protocols:

 

  1. Fellowship Hall and the rest rooms will be the only spaces available. The Sanctuary, kitchen, lower-level classrooms, and nursery/agape/choir rooms will not be available. 

  2. The following items will be available for use at the meeting:

    1. Extra masks

    2. Hand sanitizer

    3. Antibacterial wipes. 

  3. Masks must be worn at all times inside. 

  4. Each attendee’s name must be recorded for facilitation of notification if an attendee subsequently tests positive. 

  5. Social distancing must be observed. 

  6. Bleach-solution spray bottles and paper towels will be in the restrooms for disinfecting prior to and after a person’s use. 

  7. The kitchen will not be open for any type of food service.No food or beverages may be brought in for a meeting. 

  8. If tables are used, the group is responsible to set them up and disinfect them after their use.The room must be reset with chairs on the designated lines for a potential inside service.

 

Funerals and Other Special Events:

 

  1. The sexton can setup the room as per your requests. 

  2. Fellowship Hall and the rest rooms will be the only spaces available.The kitchen, lower-level classrooms, and nursery/agape/choir rooms will not be available. 

  3. The following items will be available for use at the event:

    1. Extra masks

    2. Hand sanitizer

    3. Antibacterial wipes 

  4. The Sanctuary will only be available by special approval when the event is scheduled. 

  5. Masks must be worn at all times inside. 

  6. Each attendee’s name must be recorded for facilitation of notification if an attendee is subsequently tested positive. 

  7. Social distancing must be observed. 

  8. Bleach-solution spray bottles and paper towels will be in the restrooms for disinfecting prior to and after a person’s use. 

  9. The kitchen will not be open for any type of food service.No food or beverages may be brought in for a meeting. 

  10. The cost of disinfecting Fellowship Hall after the event will be identified in advance and will be borne by the person/group sponsoring the event. 

  11. After disinfecting, Fellowship Hall will be reset with chairs on the designated lines for a potential inside service by the sexton.


     

ADDRESS
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610-326-3535

1580 Shenkel Road
Pottstown, PA 19465

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