The Executive Committee, with the full support of the Pandemic Task Force, has adopted the following changes in protocol, starting Sunday, February 27th:
The following protocols remain in place at this time:
Additionally, we strongly encourage all those who are eligible to be up-to-date on their vaccinations. We are grateful for the COVID team who has advised our decision making and who offer the following explanation of what it means to be up-to-date, as well as why this is critical for individuals, the greater community, and ECLC’s commitment to social justice.
Communion protocols include handwashing and wearing gloves to distribute bread.
Added air filtration and air circulation is in place. (Air circulates through the sanctuary approximately every 12 minutes using MERV 13 filters.)
Sunday School, Sunday Youth Group, and Confirmation will be on pause during this season of intergenerational learning. During the Season of Care ECLC children, youth, and families can look forward to “Messy Church” and online gatherings for connection and community.
Our staff work various schedules which include include meetings off-site, evening meetings, and weekends. In general, most staff are available during building hours: M-Th from 9AM to 3PM and Friday from 9AM - Noon. If you need access to the building outside these hours, please email email@example.com to arrange an alternate time. Additionally, items can always be dropped off in the mailbox or bin near the front door.
Visitors to the church are required to wear masks and adhere to capacity limits where required.
We employ an air turnover strategy that aggressively pushes clean, outdoor air into the building and pushes stale air outside. We are also installing MERV 13 filters in our HVAC system for added protection.
The Pandemic Task Force has developed the following values to guide them in their work:
Worship is central to who we are as a community. Gathering “around the table” (in person or virtually) is essential to being the church.
We are called to care for our most vulnerable, and in this case especially our children and all those who cannot yet be vaccinated.
We respect each person’s agency to make their own choices and value a diversity of risk tolerance.
We will offer a variety of ministry options to meet peoples' needs.
Informed by current science, we will strive to mitigate health risks with simple and practical measures.
We understand that it is our responsibility to provide our staff a safe work environment.
We bear a responsibility to make our space available for weddings and funerals and other pastoral occasions keeping in mind reasonable constraints due to the pandemic.
Based on survey data from October 2021, more than 96% of ECLC households were fully vaccinated. With this information the Pandemic Task Force has decided that requiring vaccination would create undue burden on vaccination enforcement. Moreover, the Task Force is uncomfortable turning away what would be a very small number of unvaccinated people who might come to worship. With the approval of vaccines for children ages 5-11, ECLC has only 4% of congregants who are not old enough to get vaccinated.
Congregants are encouraged to reach out to church leadership including church staff, council members, and members of the Pandemic Task Force via email, telephone, or face-to-face communication. The Task Force intends to gather information via survey on a quarterly basis.
With The Pandemic Task Force meets frequently (weekly to monthly depending on topics to discuss) to guide plans for re-opening the church. Congregants can expect communication via email towards the end of each month in preparation for the upcoming month.
The Pandemic Task Force was appointed by the Council of Ministers in August 2021 to discuss issues around how the church is responding to COVID. The members are listed below. Their recommendations go to our Pastors, Deacon, Staff, and Executive Committee for endorsement and implementation.
Pandemic Task Force: Judy Andersen, Carol Bros (chair), Trephaena Dehnel, Dave Engelstad, Bryan Hinck, Karl Olson, Elaine Strom and Dick Patterson serves as a consultant and liaison to the Task Force from the COVID Team, a small group of ECLC members who include experts in public health and science.
The Executive Committee holds ultimate responsibility to make decisions for the congregation regarding the pandemic protocols.
Please direct any questions and comments to Dave Engelstad, president of the congregation (firstname.lastname@example.org), or the pastors.