COVID-19 Policy

Updated May 21, 2021

Waupaca Area Regional Ministry

COVID-19 Policy

As disciples of Christ, we are called to love our neighbors and care for the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of our community. We have endeavored to do this with love and grace during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we emerge from the pandemic, the time has come to phase in the remaining elements of congregational life. The following policy has been developed and revised in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) updated guidelines and under the advisement of the Wisconsin Annual Conference COVID-19 Task Force. The policy also follows the state and local governmental guidelines. We are intentionally phasing in the remaining elements gradually to allow members and friends the time to finish their vaccination sequence and prepare logistics.

Starting Immediately

• Masks and Social Distancing will be utilized at the discretion of individuals.

o Masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes will still be provided on site.

• Everyone is expected to respect the choices of others so all may feel safe within a shared space.

Starting June 1

• In-person worship services will be held inside the sanctuaries.

o Congregational singing will resume.

o Worship services will continue in their abbreviated format (30 – 40 minutes).

o Microphone sharing will be limited.

o Fellowship following worship services is still encouraged to be done outside or where doors and windows can be opened.

o Offering will still be collected in a low-touch method.

o Contact Trackers will continue to collect names and contact information for worshipers.

o Cleaners will no longer be utilized in the Sunday morning volunteer positions, but doors can be propped open to decrease highly touched surfaces.

• Online worship services will continue but change from a pre-recorded to a livestreamed format.

o Services will be livestreamed on WARM’s Facebook page.

o Recordings of service will be made available on Facebook and warmumc.com after the worship service has concluded and the recording has been processed.

• Community Care Plans no longer required for groups to gather.

o Leaders should check in with members concerning gathering preferences.

o Zoom meetings will continue to be offered upon request.

Starting July 1

• WARM COVID-19 policy is effectively null and void.

• In the spirit of loving our neighbors, members and friends are still encouraged to respect the choices of others so all may feel safe within a shared space.

• In-person worship services will return to their full length.

o Microphones will be shared amongst volunteers.

o Pew Pads and offering will once again be passed between worshippers, thereby eliminating the need for the Contact Tracker volunteer position.

o Liturgists / Readers will once again be needed within worship services.

o Trained childcare will be provided during worship services at First UMC.

• Fellowship time, with refreshments, will resume inside.

• Online worship services will also increase in length and continue in the format outlined above.

• Zoom meetings will continue to be offered upon request.

• Should conditions worsen, WARM will again look to the CDC, Conference Leadership, the Wisconsin Council of Churches, and governmental recommendations to continue engaging ministry in safe ways.

The pandemic has caused great chaos in our lives. And yet, we know the Holy Spirit was at work within the chaos of the past year. As we lift the remaining COVID-19 precautions, we recognize that our congregational life has changed during the pandemic. We will continue to creatively share the good news of Jesus Christ with the people of Waupaca and beyond. May the Holy Spirit lead us into new and familiar ministry together.