When Will We "Re-Open?"Our Plan for In-Person Gatherings Again
Our church leadership is working together on a custom-made “phased plan” for gatherings in-person again.
- It is a plan that will begin modestly and grow incrementally.
- Modest beginnings in Phase 1 may include small group gatherings of 3-10 people in various outdoor locations including backyards.
- Incremental growth in Phase 2 may include gatherings at church of 25-30 people.
- Full resumption of gathered worship services in Phase 3 will be considered when we see these kinds of indicators:
- there is a vaccine,
- or the virus completely dissipates,
- or possibly, when the virus infection rate drops from the current 11% – 14% down to the targeted 5%.
- In each of the phases we will follow the guidelines and best practices for safety outlined by the CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health. (See attached) In order to move into Phase II and Phase III, we’ll need the help and commitment of many people in our church community to contribute to keeping people safe.
- In each of the phases an appointed subcommittee of our leadership will maintain ongoing dialogue with Malden’s Director of Public Health (Chris Webb) for local guidelines and best practices.
- In each of the phases we will continue to offer on-line Zoom Gatherings for worship, prayer, Bible Study, small group discipleship, and leadership meetings.
Our goal in all of this is to continue loving God, loving others, and making disciples. Worship services are simply one setting in which we do this. One thing we have learned through this pandemic, is that there are many other ways and settings in which we can live out what Jesus called us to do as well.
As we move through these phases, our leaders are regularly asking themselves whether there are essential elements of discipleship that are not being met outside of the gathered worship setting, and what we can do about that. We are asking if some people are being left out and why. We are asking how those people and needs can be met in each of the phases.
We are also working on detailed plans to follow CDC guidelines: asking which parts of our building present the greatest health risks and why? What will be our best practices for entering and exiting the building, seating 6 feet apart, airflow, and cleaning practices before and after gatherings. Asking these questions and working together to adapt to this current pandemic is simply one more exercise in learning to love God, love others and make disciples in our generation.