Damascus Community Church Update on COVID-19 Emergency, June 1, 2020
We have continued to closely monitor all the latest COVID-19 guidelines and recommendations from a multitude of reliable sources. They include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Oregon Health Authority, the Governor’s office, Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI), and church leadership experts.
In addition to these sources, the Executive Team has also been working with our “Regathering Task Team” to develop a Regathering Strategy. This team is made up of a cross-section of members of the DCC family and includes both staff and volunteers, medical professionals, and ministry leaders.
We have also sought input from our congregation through survey responses and conversations. We are blessed with a diverse congregation that have varying opinions and thoughts on the current COVID-19 pandemic and our plans for regathering. Some among us are not as concerned about the virus threat, but others have been gravely ill and some of us have had family members die because of it.
No matter where you land in the spectrum of experience and opinions, we want you to know that we love you and we value you. With this in mind, we have prayerfully sought God’s wisdom and direction in developing a plan that strives to balance both our desire to regather and our desire to stay safe and not create another COVID-19 hotspot.
According to current statewide PHASE 1 health and safety guidelines, we can now partially regather in groups of 25 people or less. Below you will find information and instructions for how we will operate in consideration of these PHASE 1 guidelines effective Sunday, June 7, 2020. Please carefully review each section below and contact us if you have any questions.
CHURCH INFORMATION FOR PHASE 1
- Access to our campus will continue to be limited. However, we will begin the process of having a few more staff members on campus a bit more often.
- Our church office hours will expand to 9am - 4pm Monday through Friday.
- We continue to ask for your patience as we do our best to follow up on phone calls, emails, etc.
- If you have an urgent matter and need to speak to someone right away use our “after hours” phone number (503-489-7297).
- This coming Sunday, June 7 we plan to partake in Communion together remotely. So please get the proper supplies to participate with your family at home.
- In-person Sunday Worship Services on campus continue to be cancelled during PHASE 1. However, we invite you to join our live-stream worship service each Sunday at 10am on our YouTube Channel.
- We encourage all ministry groups and teams to continue to meet online. However, as part of our PHASE 1 regathering strategy, Community Groups and Ministry Teams will now have the option to reserve space to meet on campus.
Access and Reservation Details:
- Community Group Access: Community groups are invited to request on-campus access on Sundays using the reservation process outlined below. Although most of our community groups are larger than 25 people, we ask that group leaders adhere to the 25-person limit in deciding to meet in person. Check with your group members before making a reservation for a time slot.
- Ministry Team Access: Ministry teams (Stewardship Team, Care Team, Etc.) are invited to request on-campus access using the reservation process outlined below. These groups are typically less than 15 people and can easily adhere to the maximum 25 people guideline. However, still consider checking with your group members before making a reservation for a time slot.
- Making Reservations: We will be providing an online reservation process that should be available starting Wednesday, June 3. For more information about the reservation process, please check the church website in the coming days.
- Room Use & Start Times: Room use will be determined by the size of the group. Each time slot will be an hour long and start times will be staggered to keep cross contamination to a minimum and allow adequate time for sanitation between gatherings.
- Sanitation: At the end of the gathering, each group will be asked to use cleaning materials provided to sanitize the room in preparation for its next use.
- Seating: The seating configuration in each meeting space has been set up to accommodate proper social distancing. Couples/Families may slide their chairs close together, but please place all chairs back in original seating configuration at the end of the gathering.
- No Childcare Provided: Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide childcare during these gatherings. We ask that for the safety of all involved, children remain at home. Parents may consider taking turns staying home and attending group each week.
Required On-Campus Health Guidelines:
Although we have started the process of regathering, we continue to be deeply committed to the health and safety of our church families and staff. With this in mind, we want to be a community of believers that are “living out love” by following these health guidelines:
- Be in Good Health - If you are showing any signs of illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.), or may have been exposed to the coronavirus, please continue to join us online.
- Maintain Social Distancing - Remain 6 ft. from other people as much as possible. No physical contact outside of your immediate family. Welcome one another with non-physical greetings.
- Wear a Mask - We need anyone attending one of these on campus gatherings to wear a mask. We encourage you to bring your own, but we will have masks available for those who come unprepared.
- Regularly Wash Your Hands and Use Hand Sanitizer - We plan to have PPE stations set up at the entrance to each room for your convenience, but please feel free to bring and use your own.
- Bathroom Use - Be aware restrooms will be single-occupancy. Plan accordingly before arrival.
- Refrain from Using Handouts - Reports on the life span of the virus on paper varies from a few minutes to five days depending on the strain. As a precaution we ask that groups refrain from using handouts.
- Avoid Sharing of Food – Although there is currently no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food or food packaging, sharing food and beverages is still strongly discouraged by the CDC. So, we ask that during PHASE 1 all on campus groups avoid sharing food and always observe proper food safety practices.
- Vulnerable Population - We encourage you to remain safe at home. Contact your ministry/group leader about providing online access to the gathering or meeting if necessary.
Please continue to monitor the following communication tools for the latest regathering information:
- Prayer Chain & Emails
- Our weekly DCC Newsletter
- Announcements during the 10am livestream on Sundays.
In closing, we want to thank you all for your patience and flexibility during this difficult time. It has not been easy for any of us. As the leaders of this church, we strive to do what is best for all involved, but we may make some mistakes along the way. Thank you in advance for your graciousness with each of us as we work together to honor God in the regathering process.
We pray each day that we will be unified as the body of Christ in “living out love” through our interactions with one another and our community.
By His Grace,
The DCC Elder Council