No Worship in Sanctuary Soon: The Worship Committee and Pastor David want to be clear that FPCU will not be resuming public worship in the sanctuary anytime soon.
We encourage everyone, if you have not already, to join us for morning worship on Youtube anytime, Facebook and/or on Zoom on Sundays at 9:30am (call the office at 217-367-8357 for passwords and directions). If you would like a partner or a helper for this, just let us know. Members are standing by and ready to help. Also, let the church office know if you would like sermons emailed or mailed to you each week.
Office Closed: Due to Covid-19, the church office will continue to be closed—our secretaries are working from home and will not have regular office hours. Voicemail messages are emailed to them and they will respond to emails each weekday. Steve and David will be working at the church and keeping an eye on things. Stay home and stay in touch.
Five Factors: Stores are open, restaurants are open, so why can’t we return to worship in person at FPCU? The only way to stay 100% free from risk is to completely isolate from each other. Which we are not going to do! We all have activities – like school and work and medical appointments – that we need and want to do. But it is a good idea to educate yourself on the factors that go into determining the relative riskiness of activities to help you stay safer.
A helpful way to think about the spread of Corona Virus takes into account 5 factors:
- Proximity: how close are you to other people? Remember, the most current understanding is that the Corona Virus can be transmitted via droplets AND aerosols, or tiny particles expelled into the air. This makes the “6 feet” rule outdated; it’s likely that a larger distance is needed for protection, especially when unmasked. Remember – a person does not need to be displaying symptoms to be contagious.
- Ventilation of your space: how long would a virus particle linger in the air if an infected person expelled one? Will airflow allow for the fast exchange of air, or will the air be more stagnant?
- Time: how long will you be spending in one area – i.e. will you be sedentary in the same space, or moving through quickly? Longer exposure in one space = increased risk.
- Activity in the space: will people in the space be quiet and breathing softly, or will they be talking, singing, or breathing more heavily? Will they be masked?
- Number of people in the space: the less people, the less chance you’ll encounter someone infectious, and the farther away you can stay.
So in a grocery store, for example, the five factors break down like this:
- Proximity: You are generally able to avoid others, at least for the majority of the time you’re there. GOOD
- Ventilation: variable. We’ll assume GOOD
- Time: you are able to move through the grocery store space relatively quickly without lingering in one space for long. GOOD
- Activity: masks are generally required, and most shoppers are not talking or singing much – until you get to the checkout area perhaps. MEDIUM
- Number of people: potentially high. BAD
So considering all of these factors, a trip to the grocery store is considered a LOW-MEDIUM risk activity for Corona virus spread. To reduce your risk, go at off-hours when there are less people. Activities in the LOW-MODERATE range also include any outdoor activities where participants can be masked and / or reasonably far apart.
How about eating indoors in a restaurant or having friends over for dinner indoors? The factors break down like this:
- Proximity: you will be in pretty close proximity to others. BAD
- Ventilation: likely not great. BAD
- Time: you will likely be in the same space eating for a while. BAD
- Activity: folks are eating and talking, so not wearing masks. BAD
- Number of people in the space: potentially high. BAD
So taking into account all of these factors – eating at an indoor restaurant / entertaining friends inside is considered a HIGH risk activity. Outdoor dining and entertainment is less risky, with much better ventilation, so choose that option when possible.
Which brings us around to our favorite indoor activity, CHURCH!!
- Proximity: pretty close but we can control spacing of people somewhat. MEDIUM
- Ventilation: no windows to open. BAD
- Time: we will be there in one spot for at least an hour, if not more, depending on David’s sermon length lol. BAD
- Activity: Singing, talking abound in normal circumstances. But we would require masks and eliminate singing, vocal participation, and social hour to make it better. MEDIUM
- Number of people: likely high. BAD
These scores put in-person indoors church in the MEDIUM-HIGH risk category.
Given that the demographics of this church lean towards a more elderly than young, our church population is at a high risk of complications from a COVID-19 event. Although medical interventions have improved, the medical community is far from understanding how to effectively and consistently treat this new disease. With colder weather coming, Corona virus spread is already increasing; as more of us in this community contract COVID-19, hospitals are seeing an increase in those needing treatments.
Given these factors, and on the recommendation of our local health leaders and our presbytery, we Parish Nurses support the leadership at FPCU for opting to continue our remote services at least through this winter. Let’s face it, COVID fatigue is REAL – we are all tired of this and want to get back to normal. But please be confident that by taking this step of continuing our online services, we are directly decreasing coronavirus spread in our own community. We are being considerate of our front-line workers and helping to allow people who need to work and go to school have that chance. We are loving our neighbors. Let’s all pray that a breakthrough in treatment and prevention of COVID-19 awaits us soon!
Blessings, The Wellness Committee