Druid Hills United Methodist Church
Reopening Phases
Adopted: May 12, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to make tremendous changes in what worship and discipleship activities look like. Obviously, our practices have been upended for a couple of months now with our building being closed. Even after we resume in-person activities, our practices will still have to be altered in order to minimize health risks as much as possible. The phases will also not happen over a matter of a few weeks, likely the time period will be, at minimum, several months. All timelines are tentative. If health data reflects an upward trend, we may have to go back to a previous phase. The situation with COVID-19 is very fluid and reopening will also have to be treated as a fluid situation.

Online streaming and recording should continue throughout the reopening process and should be considered as a permanent essential part of the church’s ministry. Please note that anyone who feels uncomfortable participating in in-person activities should not do so. Further, anyone who has had fever, flu-like symptoms, or other indications of illness within a 14-day period should not participate in in-person activities.

Phase One
Tentative Timeline: June 1st – June 14th.

  • Gatherings of ten or less are still recommended. Therefore, no in-person activities will take place until gating benchmarks have been reached for a minimum of two weeks.
    • Worship: Online only
    • Discipleship/Bible Study/Sunday School: Online only.
    • UMW and Men’s Club: Remote only (option to postpone) If desired, an option to meet via Zoom video conferencing will be offered.
    • Pastoral Care: By phone/video conference only.
    • Janitorial: To prepare for resumption of in-person activities, all parts of the building will be sanitized and deep cleaned no sooner than one week prior to the resumption of in-person activities. A professional cleaning company will be used for this step.

Phase Two
Tentative Timeline: June 14th – July 31st.

  • Gatherings will be limited to fifty or fewer people. Given the current Average Worship Attendance at Druid Hills, this will not be an issue. Having said that, practices will still have to be modified in order to ensure all efforts are made to prevent the spread of illness. Hand sanitizer will be made available at several locations throughout the building.
    • Worship: In-person worship services can resume. The following precautions will be practiced:
      • Those that choose to attend should practice social distancing by spreading out in the sanctuary. No more than three persons on a pew – one on either side and one in the middle. Every other pew should be left empty.
      • Parishioners, musicians, and the pastor should wear face coverings/masks. Disposable masks will be made available at the door for anyone that needs one. The pastor can remove their mask while in the pulpit. The use of gloves except for ushers involved in distributing communion elements, and money counters, is discouraged due to concerns of cross-contamination.
      • No physical contact of any sort. Social distancing of six feet will be practiced at all times. Everyone is encouraged to greet each other with enthusiastic waves, “air hugs” and other gestures that maintain physical distance.
      • All hymnals/pew Bibles will be removed. This is necessary due to the inability to effectively clean the books in a safe manner.
      • No congregational singing and no choir. The spread of COVID-19 has been linked to congregational singing from respiratory droplets traveling through the air. Instead, music will be played, and the words to hymns will be printed in the bulletin. The congregation will be encouraged to meditate on the words while music is played.
      • The Apostles’ Creed, Lord’s Prayer, responsive readings (if included), and liturgies will not be said out loud except by the pastor. Modified versions of liturgies for communion, etc. will be used and read by the pastor.
      • Holy Communion will be taken in the pews. After consecration, pre-packaged communion elements will be distributed to the congregation by an usher who will be wearing gloves and a face covering/mask.
      • A collection plate will not be passed. A plate will be placed at the entrance of the sanctuary for offerings to be left either on the way in to or on the way out of the sanctuary.
      • Dismissal will be by row. An usher will dismiss the congregation by rows in order to minimize the number of people leaving at one time. Please do not congregate in the Narthex. Please keep face coverings/masks on until you are in your vehicle, Maintain social distancing.
      • No covered dish meals or coffee service.The kitchen will be closed throughout Phase Two.
    • Discipleship/Sunday School/Bible Study
      • All discipleship activities will take place in the fellowship hall where social distancing can be observed. The Sunday School rooms are closed during Phase Two.
      • A joint Sunday School class will be held in the fellowship hall with one class leader presiding. Remember to practice social distancing.
      • A remote meeting option, such as Zoom, will be made available.
  • UMW/Men’s Club:
    • Meetings can resume but participants must continue to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing. Participants should spread out in the fellowship hall.
    • All meals will be “bring your own.” This includes beverages.
    • A video/remote option, such as Zoom, will be made available.
    • Pastoral Care
      • All pastoral care will continue to be conducted by phone or video conference.
      • If circumstances warrant – such as imminent life threat – and facilities allow, hospital and nursing home visits can be made on a case-by-case basis. The pastor will wear a face covering/mask and observe all other precautions required by the facility.
    • Janitorial
      • The building shall be sanitized and cleaned at a minimum of weekly. Tables, chairs, and pews shall be wiped down with disinfectant after each use.

Phase Three
Tentative Date: August 1.

  • All in-person activities resume as previously practiced (“normal”) with precautions continuing to be encouraged. Hand sanitizer will still be available throughout the building. Those who wish to continue wearing a face covering/mask may do so. Those who have been recently ill should continue to remain home and participate in worship and discipleship remotely. Other functions such as pastoral care may return to normal practices.