COVID-19 Worship Information
It has been 18 months since we gathered in-person, indoors, for worship services. For some of us this feels even longer. Many of us dearly miss being together, singing together, and sharing both the important and mundane moments of our lives. When we initially settled on the date to begin indoor worship services at the Lumpkin County Library, we were hopeful Sept. 5th would be far enough out to allow for everyone eligible to receive a vaccine and for local infection rates to drop dramatically enough for us to feel a general sense of safety in gathering indoors. Unfortunately, as we know, our local vaccination rates are low and as a result, our infection rates continue to climb. We find ourselves no longer feeling safe enough to resume indoor gatherings.
GMUUC’s Board of Trustees discussed the risks of resuming in person Sunday Worship Services at our August 19th Board Meeting.
After reviewing the CDC COVID data for Lumpkin County & surrounding areas, as well as the data from our local hospital system, it is clear that our geographic location is in the COVID-19 “Red Zone.”
Using the Guiding Principles below for the safety of all our staff, congregants and community visitors, the Board of Trustees decided we will not gather in person for Sunday Worship Services at this time. The Board will reconsider this decision once the area is deemed to be safely in the “Yellow Zone” by the CDC.
The following principles will guide all decisions that are made by GMUUC staff and board. The guidelines are effective immediately and will be in place until guidelines are created for official GMUUC indoor gatherings.
● We will do all we can to not put people’s lives at risk by coming to worship or other congregational events.
● We are committed to full inclusion. We will utilize all available resources and information to ensure that there is a way for everyone to be included in all church wide events when we begin in person services again. For those who cannot participate in-person, we will do our best to create online accessibility.
● We seek to protect the health of all who use the building: staff, elders, adults, youth, children, renters and contractors.
● We will use only vetted up-to-date medical and public health information from reliable sources to make decisions.
● We will obey the laws and guidelines set by the State of Georgia and Lumpkin County but may go beyond them in protecting our congregation and others affected by our decisions.
● We will be transparent with the congregation and consider their input.
● We will apply all recommendations consistently, not making exceptions for individual desires, renters, status in the church, or financial impact.
Individual members may choose to continue to gather in small groups to engage in fellowship or to watch the Sunday service together, at their own risk. Should you choose to do this, please refer to the below guidelines from the UUA with suggestions on how to proceed:
We know that while this may be disappointing, you understand the need to keep the most vulnerable of our community safe. If you are struggling with all that is happening in the world or with this news and would like to receive pastoral support, please reach out to Rev. Charlotte to schedule a visit either in-person or over zoom at email@example.com.
Yours in faith,
GMUUC Board of Trustees