Return to Worship Task Force Update

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Almost two months ago, the Church Council appointed a task force to develop guidelines for 1) getting our staff safely back to work in the office and 2) getting our congregation safely back to corporate worship. We’re writing to share an update of our work since our first letter to you last month.

Christ Our Savior has resumed on-site public worship services.
The task force developed recommendations for a safe and responsible opening for everyone who chooses to worship in-person. We made decisions about facilities, signs, logistics, seating, sanitization, and more. In-person Sunday services resumed on June 14. Also, funeral services have resumed.

Christ Our Savior implemented protocols to continue worship services.
Mindful of guidance from the State of Michigan and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we developed recommendations that allow us to worship together in a responsible manner. Specifically, we:
  • Encouraged face coverings as a way to limit the spread of coronavirus. And we understand that some won’t be wearing masks due to medical conditions or age.
  • Ensured compliance with safe practices, such as encouraging persons who are sick or who have had recent contact with someone who has COVID-19 to worship from home.
  • Implemented changes that minimize contact, such as seating every-other pew to maintain physical distancing, receiving the Lord’s Supper in the pew, giving offerings at the door, and moving after-service fellowship outdoors.
  • Developed a sanitization process that involves applying a solution to the pew backs and modesty rails between services. Afterwards, a team wipes the solution dry. We also prop exterior doors open while doing this to bring in fresh air.

Christ Our Savior staff are back to work in the office. 
We delivered a plan to ensure a healthy work environment that complies with the Governor’s executive orders regarding workplace safety. In addition, our parish nurse trained staff on the plan, including appropriate use of personal protective equipment and workspace cleaning practices.

There’s more to do.
We continue to monitor recommendations from the State and CDC, which are based on the latest science.  Our goal is to “get back to normal” when the time is right. We’re developing recommendations for the next phase of “return to worship,” to be implemented as the pandemic recedes. We’re also working on guidelines for how groups within our congregation and community can return to meeting on-site.

We’re encouraged by your support and we welcome your feedback.
We know there are diverse perspectives on how best to worship together safely. We thank you for your flexibility and willingness to adopt new practices for everyone’s safety. We invite your prayers for wisdom as we continue our work. May God grant to all good health and an end to this pandemic. Whatever our future holds, we know, as the spiritual song reminds us, that “God’s got the whole world in His hands!”

In Christ,
The Return to Worship Task Force
Jan Bernick, PhD, FNP-BC, parish nurse Lindsay Miller, member
Rev. Dean Davenport, senior pastor Mike Puterbaugh, elder representative
Matt Fremder, task force chairperson Gunther Ruck, member
Sandy Keil, RN, council representative  Tom Schroeder, staff representative
Amy Kuszynski, member Arlo Wiltenburg, council chairman
Jennifer Kuszynski, member Carrie Young, member
David Miller, member
Lindsay Miller, member 
Mike Puterbaugh, elder representative 
Gunther Ruck, member 
Tom Schroeder, staff representative 
Arlo Wiltenburg, council chairman 
Carrie Young, member

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! Psalm 100:4

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