Update to Regathering Plan
Early in the pandemic, our Session (church governing board of Elders) appointed a re-opening task group to set criteria for when we could safely re-gather. They have set strict criteria of a 99% chance that those attending worship would not encounter a COVID-positive person.
Given concerning statistics recently about the virus rising in Multnomah County, we regret the need to delay our re-opening until mid-May, to allow a safer re-gathering.
The new proposed dates are:
- Church Office re-opening Tuesday-Thursday from May 4
- Worship re-opening by reservation; masked and distanced for congregants from May 16
Please be in touch with any questions and thanks for your understanding and flexibility as we continue to monitor the virus season, and for your prayers for our eventual and long-awaited re-gathering!
During these days amid all the changes and challenges they are holding, First Presbyterian is continuing to connect with our congregation, church friends, and those exploring our website.
While apart, we are still the church. With God and with each other, we are not alone.
We share a regathering letter and message of hope at the link below from Rev. Brian Heron, Presbyter for Vision & Mission with Presbytery of the Cascades.
As this time of sheltering at home has continued, people are seeking things to sustain their soul. Hoping you’ll stream our Sunday worship services at 10:30 am, or look at the Virtual Vespers services, quiet times of reflecting on faith and spirit. You’ll also find here creative resources for families at home with children.
Many church groups are continuing to meet by Zoom, and there is a Zoom coffee hour after worship each Sunday. The Sunday Scripture study class is meeting by Zoom at 9 am on Sundays, as well as a 7 pm study on Tuesday evenings.
Volunteers from our church are helping distribute food and art supplies at Alder House, and making food boxes at the NE Emergency Food Pantry, as well as making masks. The church has made grants to Friendly House and the NE Food Pantry to help those most in need.
A word of gratitude to the many who have given gifts of financial support through this season. Generous continued support allows First Pres still to be the church – in worship, pastoral care, education, and service to the community.
Our Session, the church’s governing body, has appointed a group to guide the church as restrictions on gathering are eased in the months to come. They will follow local health authorities, government rulings, and advice from our wider regional church, the Presbytery of Cascades to plan for gradual reopening. Given the present state of the pandemic, they have let us know that it is unlikely that we will gather in person for worship until Christmas Eve at the earliest. Our church’s Regathering plan is below.
While we miss the chance to gather together, out of care for health, for the time being, we’ll continue to worship together by streaming the service and holding one another in prayer. Please reach out to the church office at (503) 227-7331 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any needs.
Wishing you peace and strength through the challenges that these days are holding,
Regathering Plan for First Presbyterian
The church’s governing body, the Session, has appointed a re-opening task group to guide the church in future months to determine how to safely re-open the office, meetings, and eventually worship. They will rely on state and county regulations, health authorities and Presbytery guidance, to safeguard the health of our congregation. As restrictions on gathering lift, the Session will use discretion in deciding when it is wise to again worship together in person.
During this time, beginning March 15, the church was closed with limited staffing and worship and programming online.
Downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases reported within a 14-day period
Downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period
Adequate hospital and treatment capacity with decreasing numbers of infected healthcare workers
Adequate personal protective equipment, testing, tracing, and tracking capabilities
➔ The church campus is closed except for staff and congregants performing essential church business. Others allowed into the building by appointment. Masks should be worn upon entry to the church, in common areas, and when there is more than one person in the office. Surfaces will be sanitized regularly. Vistors asked to sign in for contact tracing.
➔ Continue offering online worship services only. Life rituals (weddings, funerals, baptism) kept to 10 individuals including clergy in attendance if held at the church
➔ Committees and groups continue to meet online.
➔ No youth, children, family activities in the church or mission trips.
➔ Outdoor activities are allowed if size, masks, and distancing are followed; access to the building is not permitted.
➔ Hopeful timeframe: through fall of 2020
Peak has passed according to state health officials
➔ Online worship continues
➔ Small meetings (10 people or fewer) can take place in-person; protocols for sanitization, sign in for contact tracing, and meetings are in place.
➔ Hopeful timeframe: late fall 2020 or early winter 2021
No resurgence of the disease; all indicators continue to decline per federal and state criteria
No government orders are in place
➔ In-person worship resumes with significant safeguards; no communion elements passed, for offering, people put offering in box at departure, ministers will not process at the beginning of the service, no congregational singing or unison prayers unless public health understanding changes.
➔ Follow protocols recommended by health officials for contact tracing, distancing and mandate use of masks.
➔ Hopeful timeframe: December 2020 if possible or early 2021
No resurgence of disease
Disease is still present
➔ Worship in-person with relaxed safeguards, but adequate spacing for both choir and congregation.
➔ Hopeful timeframe: beginning between April–August 2021
No resurgence of the disease; all indicators continue to decline
No government orders are in place
➔ All normal practices may resume as directed by the church Session.
➔ Hopeful timeframe: Autumn 2021
We ask your prayers for the church as we continue through this extraordinary season, and as we await a time when we can gather back together.
Re-Opening Task Group: Joyce Evans, Jon Bates, Cam Birnie, Bill Nelson, Fran Page, Brenda Peterson, Mary Priedeman, Russell Smith, Steve Snodderly, Pete Vanden Bosch, Amy Wood, Bonnie Garcia, Marc Lavender (Church Business Administrator), Audrey Schindler