To: Friends of Peterborough United Methodist Church Oct 1, 2020
The Church Administrative Council met this past week to discuss the possibility of reopening the church for in-person worship services.
After a lengthy discussion, we decided that we should not reopen the church for in-person worship services at this time. While we recognize that other churches have been able to reopen with regular worship services, we do not believe this is possible for Peterborough UMC. Most of our congregation is in a high-risk category concerning COVID-19. We don’t want to take the chance that our worship service results in anyone becoming sick with this disease. We believe our physical church facilities would not be capable of safely accommodating in-person worship. The major concern is the church heating and venting systems, which would have trouble reaching air circulation and ventilation requirements. As schools reopen, we are also concerned about the disease circulating in the youth community. Although we love our families dearly, we don’t feel we can safely “social distance” with everyone at church. It is probably going to be like this until we have better treatments and a vaccine, most likely sometime next year.
This does not mean that we should give up on in-person worship, we just need to be more creative by developing ways we can meet in-person. Several ideas were put forward during the Administrative Council meeting. For example, we could explore an alternate space (perhaps renting space somewhere?), meeting in our cars in a parking lot (this has been done at other organizations), meet in a local park with everyone bringing their own lawn chairs, or have small group meetings in our fellowship hall. Another possible avenue may be available. All Saints Church is meeting on their lawn and has offered to conduct a combined service with us.
So, there seems to be some possibility to develop alternative in-person activities which would complement our online Sunday streaming worship. We would like to explore some of these ideas, but we need some help. Our worship team is busy with the worship that we are already providing. We need some people to explore and develop some of these ideas (or perhaps other ideas that you may have).
Laura Constantine and James Poplin have agreed to help lead in this effort. If you would like to help, please contact either of them to discuss how you can help. (Consult your directory or contact the church office for contact information.) We dearly want to see all of you again, but only with help from many can we make it happen.
Peace and blessings,
Peterborough UMC Administrative Council