Update to Immanuel’s Covid-19 Policies

Click here for a detailed description (in PDF format) of Session’s recent decisions regarding changes in our Covid policies at Immanuel starting in May. Please take a moment to read the summary below and the attachment with a spirit of grace, and join us in praying for continued discernment during these pandemic days.

While we all long for the endemic stage of Covid-19 to arrive, the policy changes included here reflect the reality that we are still in the pandemic stage. After extended deliberation, the Session adopted the attached policies, all of which are subject to re-evaluation as the changing level of risk from Covid warrants and which are summarized at the bottom of this email.

There are many differing desires in the congregation and differing levels of comfort with risk when it comes to Covid which the attached document aims to incorporate. In making these decisions category by category, Session discussed the Covid-19 Team’s guidance that continued masking whenever singing remains a priority to minimize transmission. Session also discussed the realities helpfully articulated by the Covid-19 team: current variants are highly transmissible, long Covid possibilities are well documented, and relaxing masking in group settings carries inevitable risk, including with resuming nursery care. Most choices in our lives right now involve risk analysis and risk assessment, and many of us have different comfort levels.

During the month of May, small groups and committees are welcome to once again meet on campus at your discretion, communicating your room reservation needs to Mary Ann Vaughan at m.a.vaughan@ipcmclean.org. We recommend that when you first begin meeting in person, that you do so with masks on until your full committee or small group is able to weigh in on preferences for continuation of masking for your group.

Some groups may wish to continue meeting over Zoom, and others may wish to figure out how to do hybrid meetings (some people remote with others in person), while still other groups may wish to consider hosting the majority of meetings over Zoom with occasionally scheduled in-person meetings. Please utilize May meetings to discuss your location/digital preferences, and whether your group wishes to advertise your small group or committee meeting as “mask required” or “mask optional.” Once those decisions find consensus, please advise Russ Carlton (rcarlton@ipcmclean.org) of your choices so that we may advertise each group clearly in the E-Presence and on the Immanuel website calendar. This will allow congregation members to opt in for events, committee meetings, and spirituality and learning opportunities which meet their particular needs and hopes during this time.

As we continue to weather the storms of these topsy-turvy transitional days, may we do so with the Spirit of Love at our center, that our lives would reflect the fruits of the Spirit through it all! May love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control shine in our lives, to the glory of God (Galatians 5:22-23).

Grace and Peace to you!
-Immanuel’s Pastors, Staff, and Session

Worship services:

  • Morning service: masks will be continued to be required regardless of vaccination status
  • Evening service: masks are recommended but optional if fully vaccinated, except when singing, when masks must be worn

Small groups:  In-person meetings on campus may resume in May and will include a process for discerning and publicizing each group’s specific masking decisions. Please see the attachment and also the material in the email above for details.

Consumption of food on campus (indoors): permitted for special events/receptions, by prior arrangement and with advance notice to participants that masks are optional

Fellowship hour: will resume, outdoors for the time being

Nursery during morning worship: will resume as soon as staff willing to comply with masking and vaccination requirements have been hired

Music rehearsals:

  • Vocal choirs will continue to rehearse, masks required, in the Meeting House and occasionally in the Sanctuary as has been the practice in past months
  • Bell choirs will continue to rehearse in the choir room, with masks required and the possibility of making masks optional with open windows, depending on the choice of the group
  • Evening band will follow the small group guidelines. Please see the attachment and also the material in the email above for details.