- How does Bethel determine when to hold in-person worship or when only on-line services are offered?
Bethel has a building reopening team (BROT) that regularly meets and advises Pastor Yancey on the best course of action. We must first consider any federal, state, or local ordinances that may prohibit or limit the size of in-person gatherings. We also consider factors such as current community transmission, the health of the congregation, transmission within congregants, and the spiritual needs of our members. The BROT balances the risks of potential SARS-CoV-2 exposures with other risks and benefits to create an environment where those wanting to attend in-person worship should feel safe to do so.
- I didn’t pre-register to attend an in-person worship service. Can I attend anyway?
Bethel strongly encourages pre-registration for those who would like to attend an in-person worship service. While it may sound restrictive, pre-registration helps us plan for the appropriate spacing of family units and individual worshipers and prevents us from exceeding our building’s allowable pandemic seating capacity. However, we understand that personal situations can change at the last minute. Should you forget to register or desire to attend an in-person service past the registration date, we will make every attempt to accommodate you. We may have to seat you in an area adjacent to the sanctuary if we are at capacity in the sanctuary pews.
- I am interested in attending Bethel as a visitor. May I attend?
Bethel WELCOMES visitors! We recognize that the desire to worship in the community of Christ is deeply personal. Whether you are seeking solace, are new to the area, or looking for a church community, we welcome you to join us. Our ushers reserve some limited seating so that guests can worship with us. We ask that you only attend if you do not have symptoms of COVID, have not been diagnosed with COVID, and are not living with a household member with COVID. You will be asked to provide your name and contact information so that if we require contact tracing, we can easily notify you.
- What safety protocols are in place to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2?
The BROT has develop protocols in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and local experts to optimize our ability to reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 should anyone in attendance be unknowingly transmitting the virus. For a detailed description of our in-person worship practices to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission, please review this link.
- In the winter when the weather is cold and the windows are closed, will it be safe to attend a Bethel service?
In warm weather, we have been able to open the sanctuary windows and doors to optimize air exchange and flow. Colder weather creates added challenges and risks due to the increased burdens of other respiratory infections, our inability to comfortably worship outside or with open windows due to the frigid air. The BROT has evaluated our heating systems and ventilation to optimize airflow and introduce outside air during the worship service. We are in the process of evaluating novel approaches to improve airflow and reduce the risk of transmitting all respiratory infections.
- Who are the members of the BROT?
The BROT members include Pastor Yancey, Valerie Yancey (Nursing Professor), John Holahan (congregation president), Nathan Schroeder (AV specialist and Bethel Property and Maintenance Board chair), Matt Bear (Bethel Worship Board chair), and Matt Kuhlmann (Infectious Disease Physician). Contact any of us and we will be sure that your input is shared with all BROT members.
- I believe that my risk of severe coronavirus is too great to attend in-person services but I want to participate each Sunday in worship, or serve as a worship leadership. What are my options?
Bethel strives to be an inclusive community, ministering to everyone. We are committed to providing on-line viewing of all in-person worship services. Some worship services will be offered as an on-line format only, such as the upcoming mid-week Advent services. Individuals who want to serve in a leadership role (e.g. assisting minister or reader) but are unable to attend in-person worship will be given opportunity to participate in on-line only worship leadership.
- Does Bethel have the capacity to provide real-time interaction with on-line and in-person service participants?
Bethel believes strongly in ensuring that all members feel included in our worship services. Currently, our technology does not allow for smooth and effective interactions between on-line participants and in-person attendees. We continue to seek new and innovative ways to include all participants in real-time interactions without disrupting the worship experience.
- Does the BROT seek input from other individuals?
Absolutely. The BROT stays in communication with our Music Director, Dr. Mager, choir members, the Director of Family and Children’s ministry, the Church Council and with visitors and members. We welcome your input as we work together to provide meaningful and fulfilling worship experiences in new and different ways. We may not be able to incorporate all suggestions or meet every need, but our sincerest efforts will be made to address your concerns.
- When will we be able to resume in-person worship practices now restricted, such as Communion, use of a full choir, and congregational singing?
Various procedures offering optimal safety in distributing Communion are being considered, as we know that receiving Communion is very important part of worship life. Until we believe we can safely resume communion distribution, Pastor Yancey will continue to offer individual appointment times for people wanting Communion. The limits on the use of a full choir, congregational singing, and movement within the sanctuary will be lifted when it seems safe to do so. Unfortunately, we are not there yet. The use of the building for gatherings other than Sunday worship will continue to be regulated by state, county, and Bethel’s mandates for physical distancing, group size, and use of face coverings.