COVID-19 Update March 24, 2021
It's been a while since we've made any updates to our COVID-19 guidelines as a church. We've largely been in a holding pattern for the better part of a year, but in the last few weeks, we've seen some encouraging progress in these trying times.
From data collected by SCDHEC updated this week, the percentage of persons testing positive for COVID-19 in South Carolina has decreased to 4.8%. The CDC states that the community spread is under control if the percent positive is under 5%. Although the percent positive rate is trending favorably at this time, it is possible that another spike may hit the US in the coming weeks.
In addition to the decrease in the present the percent positive in our area, vaccine availability has opened to the point where the majority of our in-person worship attendees have received at least one vaccine if not both doses or are eligible to do so:
We are on a great path towards returning to a more normal worship experience! Thank you to everyone for your efforts in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Although we are anxious to return to what was before COVID a year ago, we must take a measured approach. At this time, it is recommended by the CDC that we continue wearing masks and maintain social distance protocols while there are non-vaccinated individuals in our midst. However, with a decrease in the percent positive in our community and the increase in individuals receiving vaccines, I have spent some time thinking and praying about a gradual return to singing and other activities as a church. While these are projected changes, we’ll continue to monitor and adjust, responding to the needs of the community, data available to us and recommendations from our denominational leadership. Here are some thoughts on the matter:
1. As our music leadership is able and sees fit, we may have soloists or duets leading special music in worship. Soloists can sing without a mask but should wear a mask at all other times in worship.
2. Easter - We will have some congregational hymns starting on Easter, but we will have to maintain the use of masks in order to make this change. Additionally, the living cross may be used but should be located outside for individuals to “flower” the cross before and after the service on Easter.
3. We ask everyone to continue maintaining social distance and wearing masks to diligently prioritize our health as a community.
5. Continue to monitor the CDC’s guidelines for mask wearing, social distancing and singing as we move forward in making the best decisions for our church family.
6. Additional activities and small groups determinations will be made at the recommendations of Administrative Council. Until our next meeting, assume the guidelines to be the same unless otherwise noted.
As we continue to make strides as a local, state, national and global community, let’s continue to do our part in keeping one another safe as we live into the call of our lives to discipleship and kingdom building.