Reopening Task Force: A Report for the St. Paul’s Vestry 7/21/2020
The St. Paul’s re-opening Task Force has been working in several areas. A summary of our work-to-date is the following:
Task Force has met four times. Meetings are via Zoom every other Thursday 10 am. The next one is scheduled for July 30. Attendance of all 12 members has been 100%.
The first few meetings were focused on getting acquainted and defining our work. The most recent meeting focused on developing protocols around the “greeter” ministry and how to gather congregants safely. Going forward, task force meetings will take on a “work group” format, drawing on the expertise of the group members to develop protocols for each ministry area. We will have written protocols for each major ministry area — greeting and hospitality, formation, worship, sacristy, children’s programming, buildings and grounds, and outside groups/outreach programs — by the time St. Paul’s physical building can begin to slowly reopen.
So far, an interim protocol for work in the church office has been developed by staff and approved by the Bishop’s office. It includes the use of a sign-in sheet and procedures for tracking persons using the office space, and is a model for further protocols.
In Buildings and Grounds, work has begun to identify a consultant to review the ventilation system. Air quality will need to be improved and there will be budgetary implications. Additionally, our Parish Administrator Emily has been identifying and accumulating supplies and signage for use when physical re-opening takes place.
Two Town Hall meetings have been conducted, with two more scheduled for Wednesday evening July 22, and Sunday, July 26 after worship. (All Vestry members should attend at least one of these town halls!) Attendance at the first Town Hall on July 13th was 13, and discussion was vigorous in response to questions as ‘what would make you feel safe coming back to in person worship’, ‘what worries you’, and ‘what are you eager to return to’. Eighteen people attended the second Town Hall on July 19, out of which came an emphasis on a hunger for music and hope that a livestream service might provide more opportunities to sing along. Other emerging themes were consistent with the first Town Hall: concern with not trying to open too fast, and a desire to be ‘together instead of split’ as a congregation. After the Town Hall meetings are over, a summary and final questionnaire will be distributed to all St. Paul’s members to hopefully ‘catch’ those who were unable to attend a zoom Town Hall.
Work is on-going on developing a web presence for re-opening with relevant materials posted. Currently under the “reopening” tab on the St. Paul’s website, the membership of the Task Force is listed, as well as a link to the Bishop’s May 6 original guidance, plus a video webinar on legal and practical issues in re-opening. Other documents, including recent guidance from the Governor’s office for religious gatherings and the office protocol, will be posted shortly. Additional communication takes place every week in the electronic newsletter.
In addition to the bi-weekly Task Force meetings, a ‘leadership group’ consisting of the Interim Rector, the Curate, and the Task Force co-chairs meets every week at 9:15 on Thursday to review the latest directives from the Bishop’s office and anything else that has come up as well as plan Task Force work.
Laura Saunders & Christy Drackett
Re-Opening Task Force Co-Chairs