COVID Response

Current guidelines for worshiping in the sanctuary:

  • Wearing masks in the church building is optional. 
  • We ask that everyone remain sensitive and alert to individual preferences as they approach one another. Please keep the distance you are asked to keep, whether in the sanctuary or social situations.
  • We continue to offer live virtual worship via Zoom every Sunday.

Adult and child-sized masks are available inside church entrances.
Please discard or take masks with you after use.

A NOTE FROM THE PASTOR:

Friends, we are witnessing all manner of behaviors in the world around us about masking – or not – and distancing – or not – as spring arrives and various entities make changes in what is required. Many, if not most, of the places we visit – businesses, stores and entertainment venues – have lifted mask requirements. Yet COVID is present and mutating still! This is an intensely questioning time. What does responsible behavior look like for us? All of us balance the value of being with others with our own and others’ personal safety.

We are a church. Two years of living without the joy of face-to-face has not changed the reason we are together. We are a community that places very high priority on inclusivity, accessibility and the greatest good of friends and strangers alike. We are committed to being a place where anyone who walks through our doors is welcome and safe. Our online option for worship welcomes those who are not able to come to the church building or who choose to worship from a distance, increasing our reach. Our in-person worship maintains that respectful invitation.

We are fortunate to have informed voices among us, including Dr. Kelley Jewett, a physician who is willing to guide us with solid scientific information informed by daily experience and practice. At this time, Kelley advises, “It is too soon to say when we will be able to simply, ‘Open all the windows and take off our masks.’ Only time will tell.”

Friends, we will not lose heart. The distance challenges us mightily and anything that keeps us distanced from each other is hard news to hear. We’ve been singing and praying and “hanging in there” together – while apart – for two long years. There have been extreme challenges, but deep joys as well. We are in this for the long haul – and we can do that! Not because it is easy, but because we are born to be creators and re-creators in the image of God. And Jesus showed us how to walk a long and painful trail that leads toward new life. Spirit knows no geography, no masks, no distancing – we know and care for one another as we go.

We are going… heaven knows where, how, when we will get there… but we know we will. We know within. Woyaya.

Wild blessings, hold on,

Pastor Chris

How do we make our decisions?

There are multiple people involved in guiding these policies at PPUMC. As your pastor, I talk with other pastors and with leadership all over the state and the Conference, which includes the Dakotas. I listen to colleagues living and working in rural and urban locations, paying particularly acute attention to those in the Twin Cities. The Communications Team watches for information published by the Annual Conference and other relevant organizations. Dr. Kelley Rae Jewett is a practicing physician who has been part of the congregation for decades and is working daily with the realities of COVID. Her advice is foundational to our decisions. Ann DeGroot, Lay Leader, often brings information from city, county and state agencies that give us more data. There is a management team revisiting the status of our policies every other week, and the Administrative Council considers decisions monthly. If you have questions or concerns, or if you would like to affirm the choices being made or have any other comment, please contact Pastor Chris, Lay Leader Ann DeGroot, or Dr. Kelley. If you need specific contact information, please call or email Anna at office@prospectparkchurch.org.


Response Updates

June 10, 2022

We appreciate Dr. Kelley Jewett, who has consistently advised us as we made decisions about safety precautions during COVID. Based on her advice, the Administrative Council is moving to an updated policy:

-Wearing masks in the church building is optional. 
-We ask that everyone remain sensitive and alert to individual preferences as they approach one another. Please keep the distance you are asked to keep, whether in the sanctuary or social situations.
-We continue to offer live virtual worship via Zoom every Sunday.

May 13, 2022

The Administrative Council revisited our COVID policies Tuesday evening, May 9 and decided to proceed according to recommendations provided by Dr. Kelley Jewett, who spoke about the currently rising rate of COVID infections and answered questions about necessary precautions.

It is clear that we are all quite weary of masking when we meet.
However, we choose to continue to observe guidelines. We are an invitational community and are committed to the greatest safety we can offer in the
space we steward.

•  We continue to wear masks in the church building. 
•  We continue to suggest distance between households.
•  When sharing beverages and conversation in Community Hall, everyone is asked to observe safety guidelines.
 We continue to offer live virtual worship via Zoom every Sunday.

Updated guidelines will continue to be published there and linked in all church email newsletter.

March 18, 2022

You are invited to the sanctuary for worship!
You are equally invited to worship on Zoom from wherever else you are!

UPDATE THIS WEEK!
In response to questions and input this past week, the Administrative Council has made an adjustment:
Children 5 and under are welcome to participate in person without being masked.

PPUMC current mask/distancing guidelines:
1) We will continue to wear masks for the time being – for speaking and singing. Masks are not required for children 5 and under.

2) We will continue to maintain distance between households.

3) We ask that if you have an elevated temperature or know you have possibly been exposed to infections recently, you don’t yet enter the building.

Note: The pastor is fully vaxed and removes her mask only while speaking and distanced.

ALSO: After worship there will be beverages and conversation in Community Hall. We’ll wait to share food, and ask all to mask until they are seated at tables with others who are in agreement, before unmasking.

Our goal is to respect each other’s perspectives as we continue on the pandemic journey, and figure things our from many points of view.
If you have questions or concerns, please let us know!
Let’s keep talking!

March 11, 2022

You are invited to the sanctuary for worship this Sunday!
You are equally invited to worship on Zoom from wherever else you are!
YES!
WE ARE READY FOR MORE TO GATHER IN THE SANCTUARY,
AND CONTINUE VIRTUAL WORSHIP AS WELL.

Some are excited. Some are anxious. Many are somewhere in between.
There is bound to be a little awkwardness at first.
Our goal is to respect each other’s perspectives as we continue on the pandemic journey, acknowledging we have many intelligent and thoughtful folks who have different ideas about what is “safe.”

The Administrative Council has set some guidelines:
1) We will continue to wear masks for the time being – for speaking and singing.
2) We will continue to maintain distance between households.
3) We ask that if you have an elevated temperature or know you have possibly been exposed to infections recently, you don’t yet enter the building.
Note: Pastor Chris will remove her mask while speaking when distanced at the pulpit; she will mask to sing.

ALSO: After worship there will be beverages and conversation in Community Hall. We’ll wait to share food, and ask all to mask until they are seated at tables with others who are in agreement, before unmasking.

March 6, 2022

In response to the current status of COVID-19 in Hennepin County, we will be evaluating our return to the church building in detail at Tuesday evening’s Administrative Council meeting. With the continuing decline in transmission and hospitalization rates, we’re hopeful of having the sanctuary fully open much earlier than recent Easter projections!

As in past weeks, you may choose to worship from home via Zoom or come to the sanctuary this Sunday. Masks and social distancing will be in use, with Communion being offered without physical contact.
We will share new COVID guidelines next week. And we will still plan an elaborate Easter celebration with Easter fanfare, finery and falderol!

February 11, 2022

We have all heard of the removal of many mask mandates in the past week.
We have also heard that hospitals in the Twin Cities are beyond capacity – as they have been for some time. As a congregation, we want to do everything we can to contribute to community safety. And I am (we are) very hopeful that if we stay the course just through the ice and slushy conditions of the next few weeks, we may well be able to truly encourage face to face (still masked) worship by Easter!

For now, if you have the technology and capacity to do so, we continue to encourage you to choose to worship from home. 

Truly wild blessings,
Pastor Chris


February 4, 2022

In response to the current status of COVID-19 in Hennepin county, we continue to encourage you to choose to worship from home for the time being. We are always evaluating and are hopeful that spring will bring openings, so we continue to make the hard choice of diligently observing safety guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID among us.


November 12, 2021

Friends, with the dramatic rise in positive COVID-19 test results across Minnesota over the past several days, the PPUMC leadership team is asking everyone to seriously consider worshiping from home via our Zoom connection for at least the next couple of weeks. This doesn’t mean we’ll be locking the doors of the church on Sunday morning; however, for those few worshiping in person, we will carefully observe precautions, including no congregational singing in the sanctuary. Note: Pastor Chris will unmask at a distance while speaking; music leaders will continue to wear masks.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the statewide total for COVID-19 hospitalizations and positive testing is at its highest level so far for 2021, putting the state near the top of the nation in new infection rates. We talk with experts in connection with us, such as our congregational physician, Kelley Jewett, as well as the Minnesota Department of Health, the City of Minneapolis and others for guidance and input.

We continue to navigate this journey together. We take our vulnerability seriously. And we will do all we can to stay strong and resilient throughout. Look for updated information in our Friday Weekend Update and Monday Weekly Calendar emails, as well as the PPUMC website and Facebook page.

PPUMC Leadership Team


August 26, 2021:

In response to rising rates of COVID variants we ask that you observe these rules:

  • Whether or not you are vaccinated, please wear a mask inside the building that completely covers mouths and noses.
  • Maintain social-distancing of six feet from others outside your own household.
  • Please do not enter the building if you have an elevated temperature, or have been exposed to someone with an elevated temperature over the past several days.

ADULT AND CHILD-SIZED MASKS ARE AVAILABLE INSIDE CHURCH ENTRANCES
PLEASE DISCARD OR TAKE MASKS WITH YOU AFTER USE


August 19, 2021:

Greetings, Friends,
COVID is yet present among us and we are again on alert. Changes are frequent enough that we want to be clear about the present COVID response policies for worship at PPUMC.

We also publish the current policies:
in the Friday Weekend Update every week,
the Monday Calendar Update weekly,
on the PPUMC website anytime,
and in the Prospectus newsletter monthly.

We want you to know what to expect so you can manage your own risk tolerance as you choose to worship from home or on-site.

UPDATE for Sunday August 22 and 29:
Based on recommendations from the CDC, Dr. Kelley Jewett, and the latest guidelines from the MN United Methodist Conference:

  • Masks are required for everyone in the church building.
  • Everyone observes social distancing of at least six-feet from other households.
  • People in the pews are asked to hum or listen rather than singing hymns.
  • Worship leaders will be singing at a safe distance, masked.
  • Pastor Chris is testing for COVID every Saturday and will unmask at a distance while speaking (as long as she remains COVID-free).
  • We will refrain from a hosted in-person hospitality time.

As challenging as this news can be, we are telling you what to expect so that you can make wise choices for your household. Thank you for your understanding and patience. Together we are creating community as possible, while also choosing practices intended to keep everyone safe and healthy.

In Care and Peace,
Ann, Cathy, Steve, Pastor Chris

August 1, 2021:

[OUR CURRENT MASK POLICY:

Inside the church building:
-Wear a mask that covers both mouth and nose – whether vaccinated or not.
-Keep a distance of six feet from others outside your household/s.
-Please bring a mask with you or wear one we provide. 

Thank you for your understanding, patience and compassionate response as we all continue to deal with the on-going effects of the COVID pandemic.]

July 9, 2021:

Worship services will continue to be held in-person AND on Zoom at 10am every Sunday.
The elevator is back in service.
Simple hospitality will be in the Chapel 9:30-10am.

MASK POLICY of JULY 9:

We are worshipping and singing together unmasked, trusting that those who are particularly at risk or who are not yet fully vaccinated will wear a mask. There are masks onsite if needed and space to distance if desired.

Worship information and Zoom login can be found here: https://www.prospectparkchurch.org/events/sundayworship/

July 2, 2021:

For the first time in a long time….
You are invited to worship IN-PERSON at 10am Sunday, July 4, 2021!
Or join by Zoom!
Simple hospitality will be in the Chapel 9:30-10am.

Please note the elevator is temporarily out of service. A part is on order. Please use the ramp entrance for sanctuary and Chapel accessibility if needed.

May 20, 2021:

Earlier this month, the PPUMC Administrative Council updated their strategy for emerging from COVID-19 restrictions. Since the beginning of the pandemic, PPUMC has had one primary goal in mind: keeping everyone SAFE, and during the past year we have come to deeply value the opportunity to be in community beyond the walls of the building as well.

Here is an overview of the most recent plan:

Small Groups 

Small groups are welcome meet in the church beginning in June as scheduled. The church Administrative Assistant will work with requesting groups and organizations to schedule all building use; guidelines will be provided and each group will be asked to observe the most recent safety information shared by the Minnesota governor’s office at the time of the meeting. We encourage PPUMC sponsored groups to utilize the internet capacities of the building to include Zoom whenever possible.

Large Groups

Large groups will not be meeting in the church over the summer months; however, on-going conversations will be held discussing all possible options for the fall as conditions and recommendations allow.

Sunday Worship Services

The church community is moving back to worshiping together deliberately and in a step-by-step plan. This makes it possible for us to come back into the sanctuary as safely as possible and, at the same time, provide live worship in both the sanctuary and, as we have been doing, over Zoom. The plan is to start on a small scale so that the system can have time to develop with full oversight and response from the worship planning team and minimizing any disruptions during the worship experience.

The current plan for June is to have a small group of “Worship Testers” in the sanctuary for each Sunday service during the month. Each Tester will provide feedback on their experience by filling out a questionnaire after/during worship.

A sign-up process for interested ‘testers’ has been designed and is available at the link below. Each week a small group – not to exceed a total of 10 people – will be invited to worship in the sanctuary. We are asking one Sunday sign-up per Tester until everyone has had a first chance.

Finally, an additional greeter/usher who has previously been a ‘tester’ will be on-site to welcome new ‘testers’ into worship.

We are anticipating this process will unfold in a positive, respectful way for all. The month of June will show us how to do July, so that we are ready to welcome larger groups of people into the space while keeping our Zoom connection and maintaining community.