UPDATE – February 9, 2021
The COVID Response Team met on February 9 via Zoom. We discussed the rate and effectiveness of vaccinations, the new strains of the coronavirus, current protocols, initial criteria for reopening, and the information we need to gather from the St. Andrew community. Here are the highlights:
- Reopening will be in phases and small group usage may have different criteria than in-person worship; warmer weather will bring outdoor possibilities.
- On-site St. Andrew program staff (clergy, staff, and volunteers) need to be vaccinated before returning to in person worship.
- More frequent, data-driven surveys will be sent via email as we begin to measure the percentage of the community who have been vaccinated and other information to inform our decision-making.
Overwhelming, the Team agreed that St. Andrew’s current protocols have been effective in keeping our community safe and are the most loving response to our neighbors. It was agreed that we should not change what’s working – wearing masks, regular hand washing, maintaining physical distance, not gathering in groups, minimal staff and volunteers in the building at any one time, and meaningful virtual worship, studies, and group meetings that bring our community together.
With the end of our physical separation coming into focus, St. Andrew is committed to finishing strong and is preparing for the joyful day when we can throw open the doors and welcome everyone back. We are grateful for each one of you and your continued support and commitment to being part of St. Andrew’s unique and needed ministry in the world.
UPDATE – October 26, 2020
As we traverse into this challenging winter chapter of the COVID global pandemic, we are being called to move from strength to strength, as we continue to “do no harm” by loving our St. Andrew family and the greater community by wearing our masks, maintaining social distance and not gathering in large groups.
The St. Andrew COVID Response Team meets regularly to discuss the latest science and medical data available from Colorado Governor Polis’ team, Tri County Health, the Center for Disease Control and the United Methodist Church. The facts drive our decisions about the safest next steps for St. Andrew. What we know for sure is the science is alarming. Confirmed cases and fatalities are on the rise in all demographics, sectors and age groups across Colorado and nationwide.
As people of faith our connection with God has always been virtual. The St. Andrew COVID Response Team trusts science, which means we must continue growing into our online groups and worship space, while keeping our physical doors closed to protect ourselves and the greater world we serve from the spread of the virus. In this instance, “do no harm” literally means not one more case of COVID. If our action protects one person, we have succeeded in doing no harm.
We lean into this winter chapter trusting God is leading us to a new place. The St. Andrew clergy and staff team work tirelessly to create deeply connectional community during this time and always seek your input on new ways to keep our family intertwined while we meet virtually, outdoors and with distance. How can we pivot to spend meaningful togetherness without sharing close quarters or shared air space?
Recently, UMC Bishop Karen Oliveto, along with a group of faith leaders, penned a letter to Governor Polis explaining why leading and loving their communities means keeping physical doors closed but pulling closer virtually.
The COVID response team members are committed to the community of St. Andrew and the numerous lives we touch outside of St. Andrew. For this moment, together means working in our own corners of the world to stay safe and help others as we are safely able. We continue making a difference through the Resurrect our City Campaign amongst numerous other outreach opportunities. The decision to keep the doors closed to the beacon on the hill is not taken lightly and will continue to be monitored based on new information.
We look forward to hearing your ideas on how best we can continue to stay connected in the days ahead. Please contact Sarah Davis with your thoughts and insights.
“My obligation is to do the right thing, the rest is in God’s hands.” Martin Luther King Jr.
UPDATE – August 3, 2020
The COVID Response Team reviewed the preschool administration’s plans and safety protocols implemented to minimize the risk of contracting or spreading the virus amongst the students and teachers. The staff of the preschool has been working tirelessly since the outset of the pandemic in March to think of innovative ways to provide a safe, nurturing environment for the children to grow socially, academically, spiritually and emotionally. The preschool is following all guidance of state and local health authorities as well as continuing to follow all accreditation standards. After review, the response team affirms that all plans and contingencies are well thought and we are focused on supporting the Preschool’s carefully planned, safe re-opening.
At this time, the rest of the church property will remain closed to the general public to maintain a safe work environment for our clergy and staff. Specific requests for outdoor events will be individually considered on a case by case basis. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
UPDATE – June 11, 2020
Adhering to Safer at Home guidelines, St. Andrew church doors remain temporarily closed for large group gatherings and worship. Yet our outreach, mission and vision have never ceased as we strive to serve and strengthen our community during this critical time. The St. Andrew clergy and staff team provide continuous care, quality online connection, learning and worship throughout the week.
As safety practices are now in place, the St. Andrew clergy and staff team began returning to the building for more regular office hours effective Monday June 8th. In the weeks and months ahead, we are focused on launching deeply intentional and meaningful small group gatherings and community life. As we shared recently, it seems that large sanctuary worship is still a few months away. To move forward safely, we continually monitor updates and respond to the latest health and safety protocols as determined by the Center for Disease Control Guidance for Communities of Faith, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, The United Methodist Church and all regional agencies.
Responses to our first St. Andrew COVID survey highlighted how profoundly we love – and are willing to persevere with patience – in order to best protect our entire interconnected community. Survey responses recognized many parishioners remain in the most vulnerable, Stay at Home, compromised health category. A voluminous number of our voices expressed concern for community members who are socially isolated and /or are technologically isolated during these unprecedented times. Many respondents expressed a high level of concern for returning to large group worship and welcome new and heightened safety measures to protect our community, church family and building. Understanding and inviting new safety measures and practices, as outlined by Governor Polis, forty-three percent of survey respondents expressed readiness to return to large group worship. Sixty-three percent voiced a readiness to join in small group gatherings.
The COVID Response Team always welcomes your thoughts and input. We are grateful for your dedication to radically loving and inclusive community, and for honoring the Imago Dei in each of us. We will continue working diligently toward safely opening the physical doors of St. Andrew.
*COVID-19 health and safety resources:
The Colorado state government risk-benefit document & graphic
The latest COVID 19 data from the state of Colorado
Center for Disease Control Guidance for Communities of Faith
United Methodist Mountain Sky Re-Launch workbook
Covid Response Team Members:
Lana Banbury (chair)