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A Plan For Re-Opening

Dear Friends on the Journey Over these last four months, we have yearned for the time when we can again worship and assemble together in our church. We have longed to hear the children’s voices on during the pick up and drop off of our education ministry. In the meantime, we have adapted. We have worshipped on-line, gathered on zoom calls, assembled outside for worship, moved summer children’s ministry to the outdoors and even held a Trustees meeting in the parking lot. We have fed the hungry through partnerships with area churches. As your pastor, I have cautiously approached all these missional decisions in an effort to care for the health of both physical body and spiritual soul during a pandemic. They didn’t teach pandemics in seminary, as I often remind myself. But they did teach that God provides a pillar in the cloud, a light on the path, and a fire in the heart to guide and rekindle us. Behind the scenes has been the work of the Re-Entry Task Force. Informed by denominational resources, data from Centers of Disease Control, and direction from state and county governing agencies, we have been in continual discernment over the last months. Weighing every option, and guided in prayer, we now set forth our next stages of reopening. Below is an outline for staggered re-opening of the buildings for worship, children’s ministry, education, small groups and administrative council. By taking these steps, we reduce the risk to each other and the community at large

(1) PUBLIC WORSHIP AND USE OF THE SANCTUARY Continue virtual worship services (online) for remainder of 2020. Continue outdoor worship at Mt Harmony through Labor Day. September 13th - A goal to reconvene worship at both Lower Marlboro and Mt Harmony with occupant limits and employing other safety measures. • In compliance with Calvert County Health Ordinances, such as limited number of worship attendees, maintain physical distance, face coverings, hand sanitizer, and worship with no singing or wind instruments. Chapel for the Wesley School will not be held in the sanctuary. A new pavilion will benefit the outdoor learning and provide opportunity for future worship services to be held outdoors. (2) MINISTRY ACTIVITIES • Through the end of year, we will not be able to safely offer child care during worship or junior choir or nursery. Children will be encourage to attend with family in the pews. Cloth masks for children above age 2 are provided at door, but we will also accept face shields for children who are unable to mask. • Through the end of year, we cannot offer coffee hour or fellowship lunch. We will close off the use of the fellowship hall until January unless restrictions are lifted by local ordinances. • All persons will enter church through upstairs doors and must wear cloth mask or face shield. (3) WESLEY SCHOOL (and the classes formerly called Mt Harmony Preschool) Because toddlers and young children are the hardest age group to socially isolate, many churches and part-time centers are weighing the benefit of re- opening a program that limits sharing of objects and interactive play. The Wesley School will issue a staggered start of our classrooms. Five-Day-Week Program. The Kindergarten-2nd will begin with in person instruction on September 8, 2020 There are extensive new protocols for screening children daily, cleaning and disinfecting which all require adjustments for staff, teachers and families. Our protocols, that were created in compliance with local and state are available in the parent handbook and will be online in September. Part-Time Program. The classes for children ages 2 through preschool age will open in January 4, 2021. Children in these classes have their spots on hold with no tuition due until one month before the class re-opens. Any enrolled families may elect to un-enroll. If unenrolling, they may have their non-

refundable $80-$25 deposit returned as this is an unprecedented time.If they choose to keep their spot, they will not have to take any action. (4) CHURCH BUILDING No meetings of small groups to be held in the building until September. One church council meeting will be held in person on Aug 4, 2020 in fellowship hall keeping social distance, wearing masks, and we will also offer zoom for those council members who are unable to attend the meeting in person. Both as a public health principle and as a teaching of Christ, we must take care to protect our fellow parishioners and the larger community in which we live. In the next weeks, we will contact church members to inquire “how is it with your soul” and to find out how best we can “walk in faith” together for this journey of “the new normal”. I hope you will be honest as you survey your personal readiness with this pacing and perhaps your need for a new kind of spiritual direction. I am confident that God has never stopped holding us together with the ties that bind. I am certain also that God understands and approves of our caution. In these months, grace is supplying us with new ways to connect as a people of faith. Finally, as you read over this, please know that our first priority is the health of our community both physically and spiritually. Walk in Faith and find a friend for the journey,

Pastor Faith

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