FAQs on Reopening the Church

General Questions

What are the basic principles which will guide Orchard’s gradual return to worship, ministry, and operation?


The following values guided our development of this plan.

  • The safety, respect and well-being of our congregation is of utmost priority.
  • We will continue to share the gospel of Jesus Christ to reach everyone, keeping in mind our core value of inclusivity.
  • We will continue to live out our mission statement of “Transforming the world by growing in faith, serving others, and sharing Jesus.”
  • Congregational care will continue to be a priority.
  • We will use data-driven, consensus-based references.
  • We will use guidelines from public health, government entities, and denominational leaders.
  • We value flexibility and adaptability.
  • We will ensure transparency and communication to the congregation through a multitude of means.




Is Orchard considered a high, moderate, or low risk church?


Orchard identifies as a moderately high-risk congregation meaning we have a significant amount of people over the age of 65 and also people with chronic health conditions.




What are the general expectations when reopening Orchard?


You can find a Checklist for Reopening Orchard that lays out the expectations for being in the building and for groups who use the building when reopened. These checklists are based on the phased reopening plan for building use.





Church Building

When will the church building reopen?


The church building will reopen in phases to be determined by the COVID Advisory Team, with phase-shift dates determined by guidelines from public health, governmental entities, and denominational leaders. Planned phased reopening is as follows:

  • Phase Zero – Shelter in place
    • The building is closed
    • Only minimal staff entering the building to do essential operations
    • All other staff will work from home
  • Phase One – Shelter in place lifted and/or Groups of 10 or fewer can meet
    • Office is closed
    • Staff works from home; however, with proper safety & sanitation, can return for short periods of time in building/office workspace
    • Recovery groups of 10 or fewer can meet following outlined guidelines and protocols.
  • Phase Two – Building open, limited use; Groups of 50 or fewer can meet
    • Office Hours 9-12
    • Staff can return to workspaces
    • Outside groups following outlined guidelines and protocols —lower level only
    • No choirs or singing groups
  • Phase Three – Building Open
    • Normal office hours resume
    • Outside groups can meet following outlined guidelines and protocols
    • Meeting of choral & singing groups will be determined per public health recommendations




Will health screening be required to enter the building?


Those exhibiting COVID 19 symptoms should stay home. See symptoms at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html




Will masks be required for those entering the building?


Masks shall be worn by anyone entering the building. Masks will be made available to those who do not have one.




Will people be required to sign in when they enter the building?


All who enter the building - in all areas - will be asked to sign in.





Worship Services

When will worship services resume at the church?


Worship services will follow a phased timeline:




Will online worship continue to be offered when we are back in the building?


Yes. The sanctuary will be equipped with updated live streaming technology.





Sacraments & Special Services

Will the church do baptisms?


When we enter Phase Three, baptisms can occur. For the foreseeable future, clergy will not hold the child. Clergy will use a shell to pour water over the baby’s head. The child shall not be walked around the sanctuary. See Plan and Procedures for Reopening the Church in the Wake of COVID-19.




Will we be doing Holy Communion?


Yes, with the following modifications. Phase Two

  • Communion can be offered
  • Tables will be set up in the MAC in a social distanced manner with one family/household per table.
  • Elements will be placed on each table - they will be hygienically prepared by a select few,
  • Families/households will come in every ten minutes with no more than 50 people gathering at a time. There will be a blessing offered by one of the clergy when new people enter.
  • Congregants will enter through the SW door of the MAC and exit through the NW door. Both doors will stay open.
  • Drive up communion will be offered for at-risk persons.
  • After a family/household leaves, tables will be wiped down and elements replaced.
Phase Three
  • Communion will continue to be offered as a separate service until recommendations are released from public health experts and denominational leadership and the COVID Advisory Team determines it safe. It can also be offered by pre-packaged, individual elements with servers wearing gloves.




How will the church handle special services like confirmation?


Phase Three

  • Physical distancing is no longer required but avoid overcrowding and consider offering an additional worship service for special days like confirmation.





Children's Ministry

When will children’s ministry programs resume?


Limited children’s ministry opportunities will begin in Phase Three. Until that time, there will be children’s ministry opportunities available online.




What is meant by limited children’s ministry programs?


With safety measures in place, and following suggested guidelines of Farmington Public Schools for group protocol, the following will be in place for children’s programming:

  • All children over age 2 must wear masks
  • Nursery age children: There will not be a staffed nursery. There will be space(s) for use as a crying room. Parents can stream on their device or it is possible a device will be provided.
  • WOW (Worship Our Way) will be available. To prevent overcrowding, children might be split up into several upstairs classrooms.
    • Each child will use a bag of personal supplies such as scissors and crayons not to be shared between children.
    • Parents can sign in and out electronically. Parents will be asked to provide their cell phone numbers so they can be contacted if there is an issue that needs to be addressed.
    • There will be no lessons involving any sort of food.
  • In person Sunday School will not be provided. It is possible that this curriculum will be provided digitally.




Will there be any special events for children?


We will consider starting to introduce special events such as movie night or campfires in the parking lot. People will have to register to keep attendance limited.




Will there be other safety measures and safe practices in place for the children’s ministry?


Yes.

  • The children’s wing entrance will remain locked. Everyone will enter through the main entrance.
  • We will work to train staff and volunteers in safe practices and to be trauma informed so we can help children cope with emotions.





Youth Ministries

When will youth ministry programs resume?


Youth ministries programs will resume in Phase Two.




What safety measures and safe practices will be in place for the youth ministry program?


The youth ministry program will follow all guidelines and safety protocol of small groups in the church. See Plan and Procedures for Reopening the Church in the Wake of COVID-19





Groups, Bible Studies, Meetings

When will groups, Bible studies, and meetings resume at Orchard?


Phase One - Church Building remains closed.

  • Bible studies, small groups, meetings of all sorts will continue to meet online. Groups of ten or fewer can consider meeting in person using social distancing and wearing masks. Consider meeting outside.
Phase Two - Church office open from 9-12; Church Building remains closed.
  • Bible Studies, small groups, meetings can continue to be offered online or in person while observing social distancing and mask wearing.
  • Some Bible studies and small groups will be offered online in addition to those that choose to meet in person.
Phase Three - Normal office hours resume. See Plan and Procedures for Reopening the Church in the Wake of COVID-19 for specific details on using the church building.
  • Bible studies, small groups and meetings of all sorts can meet in person and virtual offerings should continue. In person meetings should be sure to disinfect all surfaces before and after gatherings.




When will recovery groups resume at Orchard?


Phase One

  • Recovery groups of 10 or fewer can meet at this time in the fellowship hall.
    • Host shall open the fellowship door and have attendees enter through that door.
    • Masks must be worn.
    • Social distancing guidelines must be enforced.
    • No food or drink is allowed.
    • Chairs may not be removed from a closet/a room and brought to another room.
    • The fellowship hall bathrooms may be used one person at a time only.
    • Host must disinfect all surfaces and chairs before and after the group’s use, including bathroom counter, light fixtures and doorknobs/locks.
Phase Two
  • Outside groups of fewer than 50 may resume building use of the lower level classrooms.
  • No food or drink is allowed.
  • Negotiation of which rooms are being used must occur prior to resumption of meetings.
  • Masks must be worn.
  • Social distancing guidelines must be enforced.
  • No food or drink will be allowed.
  • Chairs may not be removed from a closet/a room and brought to another room.
  • Host must ensure all surfaces and chairs must be disinfected before and after use.
Phase Three
  • Outside groups can meet wearing masks and disinfecting before and after meetings.
  • No food or drink is allowed.




When can outside groups (other than recovery groups) resume at Orchard?


Phase Two - No choirs or singing groups can meet for the purposes of singing during this time.

  • Outside groups of fewer than 50 may resume building use of the lower level classrooms.
  • Negotiation of which rooms are being used must occur prior to resumption of meetings.
  • Masks must be worn.
  • Social distancing guidelines must be enforced.
  • No food or drink will be allowed.
  • Chairs may not be removed from a closet/a room and brought to another room.
  • Host must ensure all surfaces and chairs must be disinfected before and after use.
Phase Three
  • Outside groups can meet wearing masks and disinfecting before and after meetings.
  • No food or drink is allowed.





Safety Procedures/Cleaning and Sanitation

What safety procedures and precautions will be in place at Orchard?


The following safety procedures and precautions will be in place:

  • Masks shall be worn by anyone entering the building. Masks will be made available to those who do not have one.
  • No food or beverages will be allowed at any activities, meetings or events.
  • Water fountains will be covered and unavailable for use.
  • Disinfecting wipes will be placed in all rooms being used.
  • Touchless hand sanitizer stations will be placed around the building.
  • Bathroom doors will be propped open.




How will the church handle cleaning and sanitation of the building?


Cleaning and sanitizing of the whole building should happen before the building is in wide use. Thereafter:





Determining Movement Between Phases

How will moving from one phase to another be determined?


The COVID Advisory Team will discern movement from each phase using the criteria listed in each of the phases outlined in the See Plan and Procedures for Reopening the Church in the Wake of COVID-19





Orchard
United Methodist Church

248.626.3620

ministry@orchardumc.org

30450 Farmington Road

Farmington Hills, MI 48334

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@2017 by Orchard UMC.