The CUMC Re-Entry Task Force met on June 22 to evaluate and chart out a course for the summer and beyond. As part of our discussion, we viewed the current practices and policies of other United Methodist Churches, within the Baltimore Washington Conference, that are of similar size and scope. We looked at the Sunday In-Person Worship practices of Glen Mar UMC in Howard County, Towson UMC in Northern Baltimore County, and Severna Park UMC in Anne Arundel County. All three churches are open and require masking and social distancing during indoor services.
The Re-Entry Task Force has decided, for the remainder of the summer, that Catonsville UMC will offer a lighter worship schedule. We will host an 8:30 AM service outdoors (weather permitting). W e will offer a more traditional service indoor service at 10:00 AM and masking will be required. Lastly, we will host our contemporary evening service at 7:00 PM, via Zoom. Masking is NOT required for outdoor events, but we do caution everyone to be mindful of close contact for extended periods and we encourage EVERYONE who is eligible to get vaccinated.
The Re-Entry Task Force is aware of the numerous concerns that our members have, and we have tried to balance those concerns with the requirements and guidelines mandated by the Governor, the County Executive, and the Baltimore Washington Conference. With a church this size, we have to think and do what is best for the under 12 population, who are considered to be the most vulnerable among us, and what is best for the congregation, over the long term.
Fifteen months into the Pandemic, I believe that we are close to the end and as we continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated and practice social distancing, we will beat COVID. However, we are not fully back to normal and per the guidelines from the Conference, we will continue to evaluate the situation and look forward to the day when we can fully incorporate the return of our choir and lift all COVID restrictions. To return to normal, we must move forward cautiously and deliberately and that is what the Re-Entry Task Force is presenting.
We know that no one signed up for this, and if you are uncomfortable serving as a volunteer during this time, we understand and will not think less of you for deciding not to serve in that role, right now. We do look forward to you returning to volunteer when you feel comfortable.
Going forward, the Church, with support from the Men’s Club, will host an outdoor gathering, in the coming weeks. We will host an outdoor version of Vacation Bible School. Over the summer, the Administrative Council will look at how the pandemic has impacted our church, our members, and our community. We will look to redefine the purpose of our church and how we can better serve our members and the community moving forward.
As Chair of the Re-Entry Task Force, I welcome your thoughts, concerns, questions, and comments. Feel free to send me a text or call me, my cell [available from the church office] or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org