Due to COVID, there were questions about doing the Live Nativity this year. I sent a late-night text out to the crew with my thoughts and asked if they were
comfortable doing it, with many changes. Within 10 minutes I’d heard back from several and the rest came in early the next morning. The answer was a
resounding “yes.” It brought tears to my eyes. I had the opportunity to meet with most of that crew, including a representative from Hydesville Church, and we
spent several hours discussing not IF it will happen, but rather HOW to make it happen in a safe manner. This year’s dates are December 12 & 13. Here are some of the modifications taking place. This list is not all-inclusive and always subject change.
1) We will not be able to track down actors in church like we’ve done in years past. PLEASE reach out! This year, we are asking for “bubbles” of people in the scenes as much as possible. That “bubble” includes people with whom you frequently associate without wearing a mask or other protective equipment. This will limit the distancing that needs to take place in each scene outside. If you have participated before, you may not be in the same scene that you’ve done before.
Actors will be called a day or two before the event to confirm participation as well as to check on health.
2) Everyone will be screened according to standard Public Health protocols. This check-in process will also tell you which room you belong in.
3) We will not be meeting in the Center Dining Room as in years past. For Scenes 1-6, we will be dividing up the classrooms downstairs in the Church. Each room
will house the actors from one scene with a divider down the middle of the room separating the shifts. (ie 7 & 8 pm shifts on one side, 7:30 & 8:30 shifts on the other) Scenes 7-9 will be over at the Center Dining Room under similar circumstances. All the costumes, accessories and small props for each scene will be in your assigned room. If you have participated before and are used to passing off a prop at shift change, we are working hard to minimize that. Masks are to be worn in any building and you must stay in your assigned room. Hand sanitizer will be provided and windows will be open in the rooms. There will be people downstairs and at the Center to help us stay on track with our safety protocols, monitor our restrooms and get actors outside at the appropriate times.
4) Since costumes will be in your room, if we don’t know everyone in your bubble, please don’t be offended if we ask a costume size. Think about what needs to fit over the clothing you will be wearing outside. Having a size 3X for you when you’re a size small, or vice versa, just isn’t going to work and could delay our start time while we try to find something for you to wear.
5) Food will be provided sack lunch style and brought to you in your room at the church or Center. We are working on a limited menu. There will be bottled water
and hot water along with packets of hot chocolate and cider in each room. In the past, the cooks of the SDA church have lovingly donated the food for the Nativity. Sadly, we will NOT be able to do that this year, however, we still need to purchase the items we are providing. In lieu of providing food, please consider writing a
check to the SDA church and marking it “Nativity.” This will go towards food, the disposable items needed, and possibly other items necessary for our extra changes this year. Do NOT label your check “Nativity Food.”
6) In addition to their usual safety vests, the traffic crew will be wearing masks and sanitizing any CDs that are handed out to and returned from the cars. Careful
attention will be paid to the placement of cones to keep cars from getting too close to the scenes. Much can happen in the next few months, and some of the above might be different, but we have a start and are opting for safety and following Public Health Guidelines as we make these changes. Even after all of this, if there is a
sudden surge in COVID cases in our community near show time, we may be required to cancel. However, the crew is praying that we can once again share the Hope for Humanity through this annual event and that God will bless our efforts. This event does not happen without YOU. Please put this on your calendar and reach out to participate. Don’t wait until the last minute. Empty scenes don’t tell much of the gospel story. Let me know if you have questions and I’ll do my best to answer.
1.The board voted to have the members of the nominating committee or their appointed representatives, call those who are currently serving for 2019 and 2020. (If you recall, the board voted in 2018 to have those elected to serve for two years) They will be asking those elected to continue serving through 2021. The COVID-19 restrictions make it difficult to try and coordinate contacting, voting, readings and discussions. Most of 2020 has not required everyone currently elected to be as busy as normal. So please pray about continuing to serve our membership. Personal one-to-one ministry that each of you bring is much needed at this time.
2.Our treasure reported that there was a boost of giving recently. That has considerably helped our YTD deficit. We still need around $2000 to make September's budget. She reports that we are more on track for the year then we were a few months ago. God has blessed us through your tithes and offerings. We appreciate your continued giving. Also, both the school and the church were audited this year and due to Amy's hard work, we passed with flying colors. Continue to pray for our treasurer as she keeps us on track and up-to-date.
3.FJA has started out with 5 students. They have two 1st graders, 2 5th graders and one 7th grader. There are many challenges in teaching through this COVID epidemic. Pray for our Principal, the staff and the board as they meet these challenges head on and share the love of Jesus through new and creative ways. Please continue to support FJA in your giving if so led.
What the school does not currently have is a substitute teacher roster. If you have some time to spare and love working with children, you are qualified. At this time, Jamie would most likely be in the room attending her mandated meetings by ZOOM. So if needed, you would have her support and guidance. Please contact her if you might be willing to be on a substitute list.
4.We will be having readings at the parking lot service to accept the following transfers: Kali Barnhart to Grants Pass, Bob and Ryan Osborn to Eureka, Jesse and Sharon Perry to Arcata/Mckinleyville and Karina Brinckhaus back to Fortuna from Thailand. What is positively a blessing from God, is that as we transfer these members out, we have a transfer in as well as our three baptisms and our profession of faith from August. God continues to hold us in his hand. He has a plan for Fortuna.
5.Pathfinders have started meeting about two times a month on Sundays, outside when possible. They have been working on their Ukuleles and are planning some more outdoor activities such as hiking etc. Continue to pray for our Pathfinder leads as they too are trying to be creative and safe when planning new activities during COVID.
Don't forget that your 4th Quarter SS supplies are here. They are available after the Parking lot service on the steps,bags are marked, or during office hours. Information on the 40 days of prayer is also available at the services or by contacting Lalita Brinckhaus.
Unfortunately when we re-open, which is weeks/months away, these are the guidelines, protocols and procedures that will be new to all of us. In order to safely meet, we have to implement these changes and we have to make sure that each of you are aware of them and adhere to them. The last thing we want to do is to “police” anyone.
COMMUNICATION during this time is essential. Therefore we are sending you a copy of the complete plan submitted to the conference, as well as the key points below that will affect you. You will know what is expected of you before, during and after each service as well as what the safety/security team will be involved in. When you read the complete plan, you can understand why re-opening is so far out. Any changes to the plan will immediately be communicated to you.
Some of you will not be comfortable with what is expected. Therefore we understand if you decide not to attend the indoor service. We will continue to do on-line services for those of you that do not want to attend. Not holding Sabbath School classes is especially hard for those members with children. We know you want to worship together as a family on Sabbath. Small groups, (practicing social-distancing and masking recommendations) are certainly an alternative for you. This time of year encourages outdoor activities and small-group gatherings. Being able to worship & fellowship together in the safest, most healthy and practical way is want we want for each of us.
1. BEFORE COMING: If you have a medical illness or a compromised immune system we encourage you to take advantage of on-line ministries. Those over 60, you are in the higher-risk age. Consider carefully before choosing to attend.
2. ENTERING: There will be one entrance and exit. We will be using the front doors with the ramp.
3. SCREENING: Prior to entering, members will be screened for COVID symptoms and fever. Those in question will be asked to not attend that day’s service. If you have a fever, cough, congestion, fatigue, aches, loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath…please do not come
4. MASKS: Masks and social distancing are mandated. Masks are required to remain in place during the entire service. Masks must fit over the nose and mouth.
5. CONTACT: Please do not hug or shake hands with anyone other than family/friends you are already associating with. Practice frequent hand-washing.
6. SEATING: Members will be ushered in and out at each service. Every other pew is closed for everyone. You will be seated on the ends of the pew. Do not sit in the center. If you have a large family obviously you may extend in to the middle. You can sit with those you have been socializing or associating with during shelter-in-place.
7. SOCIAL-DISTANCING: The floors will be marked for social distancing, please try to position yourself on these markings if possible.
8. CLOSED: The downstairs and the balcony are off limits for everyone other than members of the safety team or those on duty that Sabbath.
9. CANCELLED: Spanish churches as well as Sabbath school classes are suspended until further notice. Potlucks, socials, and other meetings are cancelled as well. Meetings such as elders, board, finance etc. will continue on ZOOM.
10. HARD SURFACES: Bibles and hymnals are removed and stacked in the closed pews. Please do not use them.
Please do not pass out anything for others to handle. Try not to touch door handles, walls, light switches, etc. if possible.
11. SINGING: We will have special music, but we will not be singing out loud as a group.
12. RESTROOMS: If you have to use the restroom, instructions on how to clean after each use will be clearly posted in the restroom. We will only be using the mother’s room restroom and the two lobby restrooms.
If your child attends with you, remind them of the sanitizing procedure or accompany them to the restroom.
13. CIRCULATION: Doors and windows will be open to allow for the flow of fresh air throughout the sanctuary. Because of this, we encourage you to dress warmly and bring a light blanket. The church will be much colder than normal.
14. FOUNTAINS: Drinking fountains are off limits. We suggest you bring own water.
15. SANITIZING: Sanitation stations will be throughout the building with all necessary items needed to clean. The church sitting dormant for six days in between services will be part of the sanitizing process on certain surfaces that otherwise could not be cleaned/sanitized.
16. OFFERINGS: Offering will be collected in a communal area. Those counting the offering must wear gloves and masks when handling the money.
17. FLU SHOT: It is strongly suggested that you contact your physician to see it is advisable for you to get your annual flu shot this fall/winter.
Information for this plan comes from the agencies listed on the last page. The church will implement both SDA agency recommendations as well as government agencies (referred to in the plan as “agencies”). If there is a difference in the guidelines between SDA agencies and government, the stricter guideline will be implemented.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this re-opening plan is to continue to minister to our congregants and community, to ensure their health and safety, and to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If we determine that we cannot meet the recommendations we will choose not to meet until such time as we can meet those agency guidelines. The plan will include policies and procedures in these four areas per NAD:
1. Cleaning and Sanitizing
SAFETY TEAM: We will form a safety team specifically geared toward creating plans and monitoring the on-going cleaning and sanitizing of the church and guarding the safety and health of our congregants. A point person will be appointed.
POINT PERSON: Security/safety team named church secretary will be point person. The point person will facilitate communication with members, staff and various agencies. She will help to ensure that the procedures and protocols in the plan are clearly posted and communicated to congregants. The point person will review the plan with the staff and the safety team weekly. Report any concerns to other team members, make any necessary plan changes, and communicate those changes to the congregants.
PPE: Staff and congregants will wear all mandated PPE. Currently the county requires masks to be worn by all individuals when they are around others, whether or not they can maintain social distancing. Safety team will make sure that all congregants coming in to the church have masks on and that they keep masks on properly for the duration of the service. Gloves and masks will be available for all those safety team members when they are cleaning and sanitizing the church, or at any time they are coming in contact with “at risk” surfaces. Children 5 and under will not be required to wear masks. Those congregants that are not comfortable with wearing PPE during the service, will be re-directed to take advantage of our on-line services and other media presentations that are available on-line or aired on radio or television
SCREENING: All staff and congregants will be screened for symptoms and fever upon entering the church. Those with any symptoms will be asked to not attend that day’s service. The list of COVID-19 symptoms will be clearly posted on the outside of the building as well as inside.
CAPACITY: The occupancy limit of the Fortuna SDA church is approximately 500. Per agency guidelines, we will limit our congregant attendance to 25% of this, or no more than a 100 per service, whichever is less. If at anytime we determine that we cannot ensure proper social-distancing and implementation of our Safety Plan, we will review this number and adjust accordingly. We will continue this number of attendees until COVID-19 occupancy restrictions are changed or lifted.
REPORTING: We will report to the Humboldt County Public Health Department any congregant or staff member that tests positive for COVID-19. In addition we will determine who may have been in contact with diagnosed congregant (less than six feet for more than 15 minutes). Those individuals will be instructed to contact their primary care physician and the HCPHD and follow all quarantine or isolation recommendations given to them. Safety team will continue to monitor those individuals and make sure that at risk people not attend services unless cleared by physician. Services will be discontinued if someone tests positive that has attended church.
FOUR STEP PLAN FOR RE-OPENING
1. CLEANING AND SANITIZING. The following cleaning and sanitizing will be done prior to the reopening and on an on-going basis after each service. Additional cleaning and sanitizing protocols will be implemented as needs arise. Cleaning solutions will follow EPA-approved guidelines with alcohol solutions being at least 70% alcohol or bleach disinfectants with at least ½ cup of bleach per gallon of water.
A. These areas will be cleaned with appropriate recommended disinfectant
1. Hard surfaces of all pews in the sanctuary.
2. Window ledges.
3. Electrical outlets and switches.
4. Drinking fountains (they will be marked “do not use”) Cups will be provided by each faucet.
5. Door handles, inside and out. On all interior and exterior doors.
a. During services, as congregants come in, door handles will be wiped if it is observed that they have been touched by someone entering.
6. Pianos and keyboards between each congregant use.
7. All hard surface tables and chairs in the Sabbath School rooms as well as those in other areas.
8. If we determine that Sabbath School can reconvene, teachers will need to disinfect all hard and soft surfaces in the room, in addition to any materials handed out and collected.
9. Toilet handles and toilet seats after each use. (Sanitizing materials will be placed in each restroom with instructions for cleaning. This will also be communicated to congregants prior to re-opening) Children should either be accompanied by a parent who can sanitize, or the child should be reminded to follow the sanitizing directions posted in each restroom.
10. All dispensers i.e.: soap, towel, toilet paper etc.
11. Railings as needed. (we currently are keeping our downstairs and balcony closed in order to control the flow of congregants)
12. Podiums and music stands.
13. Microphones and stands in between each use.
14. Audio/visual console.
15. Handles on cupboards and drawers.
16. Any other areas we determine need sanitized.
B. Heating and cooling filters will be changed every three months. (suggested by NAD)
C. Well-stocked sanitizing stations will be placed throughout areas where congregants will be. They will be maintained and restocked as needed.
D. Weather permitting, doors and windows will be opened during services to allow fresh air to come in and circulate. Congregants will be reminded to dress warmly and bring a blanket if they tend to be cold.
E. Pipes will be run prior to re-opening to ensure that stagnant water that may contain other bacteria or fungi is flushed out. (suggested by NAD)
F. The church being unoccupied for six days each week, with the windows open for circulation, will be part of the sanitizing process for other surfaces that may be impossible or unnecessary to clean each week.
2. MITIGATION AND EXAMINATION OF CURRENT PRACTICES
The following will be discontinued, or put in to practice in order to reduce the risk of contact between individuals and between individuals and church property.
A. Potlucks, prayer meetings, evangelistic meetings and other social gatherings will be suspended until such time as it is deemed safe to resume these types of gatherings without the need for social distancing.
B. Board, Elders, FCSC & School board meetings will continue to meet virtually when at all possible. Any other meetings deemed necessary will be virtual as well.
C. There will be one communal location for tithes and offerings to be collected. Offering plates will not be passed. There will be a monitor at the location to assure that collection station is continually sanitized.
D. Those individuals tasked with counting the offerings, will always wear PPE including masks AND gloves. This includes the deacons as well as the treasurers. ( (suggested by NAD)
E. Hymnals and bibles will be collected from the pews where congregates will be seated so as to limit contact with common property objects.
F. Bulletins will not be handed out at this time. (suggested by NAD)
G. Pews will be dismissed one at a time, alternating sides in a manner that will ensure social distancing.
H. Visiting in the lobby will be discouraged. Pastor will be encouraged to exit the building after the service to prevent congregants from lingering inside. Visiting outside of the building needs to include social distancing and PPE.
I. Congregants will be encouraged to wave or verbally greet one another rather than hug or shake hands.
J. Quarterly supplies will have a limited number of staff handle them and they will be gloved when distributing.
K. Sabbath School classes for children will currently be suspended until the staff, safety team and agencies can determine that it is without risk to resume OR that those areas can be set up in a manner to implement social distancing and sanitizing measures that are feasible for young children.
L. Singing and oral group readings will be suspended as to cut down on the amount of particulate that is dispersed in to the air.
All new policies, procedures and expectations of this plan will be communicated to our congregants prior to re-opening, and on an on-going basis as plans change or are updated. We will use social media, e-mail, text and standard mail to make sure that everyone is aware of what is expected of each individual congregant as well as the congregants collectively. Our goal is both keep our members safe and healthy and to educate the congregants on the measures we are taking to help ensure that safety.
A. Signs with the symptoms of COVID-19 will be posted outside of the facility, upon entry and throughout the facility.
B. Elderly congregants and those with compromised medical problems will be encouraged not to attend.
C. Congregants entering will be asked about having the following symptoms: FEVER, COUGH, CONGESTION, HEADACHE, FATIGUE, MUSCLE ACHES, LOSS OF TASTE OR SMELL, and SHORTNESS OF BREATH. Congregants will also be checked for a fever before entering. Those with symptoms that are new or current or with a fever will be redirected not to attend the service.
D. All sanitizing procedures will be explained to the congregants prior to meeting and will be clearly written out and posted in the appropriate areas.
E. The importance of frequent hand-washing will be stressed..
F. Seating areas will be clearly marked in each open pew. Closed pews will be roped off and clearly marked as well. Congregants will be ushered in and ushered out.
G. Congregants will be informed that social-distancing and PPE is mandated and not an option for attending services.
H. The floor will be clearly marked in 6-feet increments so those entering and exiting the building/sanctuary can practice social distancing.
I. Any changes or updates to the plan will be immediately communicated to the congregant
A. This plan will be reviewed by safety team weekly.
B. The plan will be updated as needed to reflect current agency changes.
C. The plan will be amended to address what is working and what is not working during the services.
D. Communicate these updates and changes to the congregants immediately.
E. Monitor the health of staff and congregants.
F. If anyone attending services tests positive for COVID-19, services will again be suspended. We will attempt to notify other congregants that may have been in contact with the positive tested member. Sanitize the church per protocol. Notify appropriate agencies if necessary.
G. Review plan to determine where a protocol might have prevented contact with the virus. If necessary, make any changes to the plan to improve in an identified area. Communicate changes to congregants.
Information for this plan was taken from the following agencies:
1. Humboldt County Department of Public Health (HCDPH)
2. California Department of Public Health (CDPH)
3. North American Division of Seventh Day Adventists (NAD)
4. Adventist Risk Management (ARM)
5. Northern California Conference of Seventh Day Adventists (NCC)
6. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Written and developed by the Safety/Security team of Fortuna Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Written June 16, 2020. Updated June 23, 2020
Our security/safety team is currently in the process of developing a re-opening plan that we have to submit to Ed Farguson for approval. Unfortunately, in order to comply with all the guidelines and restrictions mandated by several agencies for places of worship, it is going to be pretty strict.
Having said that, here is a reminder of the current restrictions for parking lot services. Some concerns were raised about this past Sabbath's parking lot service. Please remember that social-distancing and masks are mandatory if you get out of your car. The mask must cover both your nose and your mouth. Also, we have to restrict the passing out or passing around of anything that will be touched by several people.
Some of these restrictions, may seem silly or unnecessary, but in order for us to continue to fellowship in the parking lot or eventually in the church, we need to try our best to abide by these guidelines. Once we-reopen, there are going to be so many more rules, so we hope that we can be assured that each of you who attend are willing to support the restrictions and guidelines that we are mandated to have in place.
We do understand your frustrations and feelings during this time. It is not easy for any of us. But praise Jesus, we at least get to come together and worship and fellowship. If we have to abide by a few social distancing restrictions and sanitizing protocols to do that, I am OK with that and grateful as well.
Please pray for us as we develop this plan and for each of those entrusted to make sure the plan is adhered to. We hope soon to have a copy of the re-opening guidelines ready to mail out to each of you.
1. Tomorrow (June 19) by 6:00 pm, the links for on-line Sabbath will be posted as usual. We will continue with our parking lot service at 11:00 on Saturday. Please mask-up if you exit your car and practice social-distancing with members you are currently not living with. We know you want to hug, but please give a big air hug or wave, or try using your words to tell someone you miss them..................now there's an idea!!!
2.This is our Father's day Sabbath so we will have something to pass out to our men, but it has only been handled by one person, with gloves and sanitized hands. Feel free to decline it if you don't feel comfortable taking it.
3.Also your third quarter periodicals are ready. Again, per conference suggestion, they are bagged, handled by minimal staff who were gloved and sanitized. You can get them Sabbath, after church. Cindy will have a box outside for you to get them. If you are willing to deliver to others, feel free to take theirs as well. Come by the church on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well to pick them up.
4.The CHURCH OFFICE WILL BE CLOSED THURSDAY AFTERNOON THE 25th of JUNE and TUESDAY THE 30th. You can still call and leave messages and e-mail me as I will be checking messages.
5. FOCUS information needs to be in by TUESDAY the 23rd.