I know we are all missing our Simpsonwood UMC family, and the Health Committee has been meeting weekly to assess and plan for reopening our church campus. We wanted to share a little about what we have been working on and the steps we are taking to get us back to campus. We have reviewed the feedback we received from the survey (results in link), walked through the various buildings to assess them, reviewed lots of data, and discussed multiple scenarios. While there is still much work to be done, we are actively working with the church staff to plan for our regathering. We anticipate a phased reopening process which will mean that everything will not start back up immediately. We will add on events and activities as the Health Committee deems prudent given recommendations from health experts and the Bishop.
The first thing to note from our new DS Dr. Rodrigo Cruz. At this time, because of the specific outbreak within Gwinnett County, it is the recommendation to not worship indoors together just yet. The situation is being monitored and we will stay in dialogue about this as churches in Gwinnett work with our new DS, Dr. Cruz.
In-Person Worship, Beginning with Outdoor Only July 5th.
We are eagerly planning a safe reopening of our church campus in the near future. On July 5 th , we will join together for “in-person worship” outdoors. As kids go back to school in the late summer “in-person worship” will move into the Family Life Center (FLC) for a larger service and into the Sanctuary for a smaller service for those that are more vulnerable. The outdoor worship will take place in the parking lot space that is shaded just outside the Sanctuary to the East and South. (See above video for a visual) Worship in both the outdoor and indoor formats will require masks and social distancing, and smaller crowds. As we get closer to these reopening events, we will share the specific details of what each of these worship opportunities will look like and what you should expect.
During Phase 1, worship will be the only event taking place and live stream/recorded services will still be available. Grow Groups will continue to meet online. We know worship will look different when we are allowed to physically gather. The changes that we have had to consider are hard ones, but ones that we have thoughtfully researched to keep our congregation healthy when we return.
The Health Committee is continuing to develop a plan for later phases of our reopening process that will determine when our Grow Groups, children/youth programming, and other services can commence again on campus. While these plans are being drafted, we wanted to be able to move forward with in-person worship. We know this will be a slow process, and we ask for your patience and prayers as we navigate these waters. We must remember that each phase in the reopening process is getting us one step closer to the worship we all know and love.
I have reminded the Health Committee multiple times that the church is not closed. The building is closed. It reminds me of a song we have all sung in church for years. As we work to getting back together physically, let us remember that “We are the church” and the “church is not a building.” The pandemic cannot take this away from us. Church family – we will be together soon.
I am the church! You are the church!
I am the church! You are the church!
We are the church together!
All who follow Jesus,
all around the world!
Yes, we’re the church together!
The church is not a building;
the church is not a steeple;
the church is not a resting place;
the church is a people.
Peace to you all Simpsonwood family,
Health & Wellness Team, Committee Chair