COVID-19 Advisory Task Force Update – July 2
Wilshire is committed to providing opportunities for fellowship even while it remains unsafe for us to congregate. That includes keeping everyone involved in the life of our church up to date on the work of the Wilshire COVID-19 Advisory Task Force. Our team advises church leaders on the conditions under which we could safely gather within the church walls, works to create community in pandemic conditions, and plans for the day when our church doors are again open for Every Body.
The Task Force will update the congregation on significant developments as they occur and otherwise will provide a status report monthly.
If you have questions about our work or any of the information below, you can reach out to anyone on the task force directly, or send an email message to COVID@wilshirebc.org.
Wilshire COVID-19 Advisory Task Force Members:
George Mason, senior pastor; David Nabors, director of business administration; Heather Mustain, associate pastor; Darren DeMent, associate pastor; Doug Haney, associate pastor; Linda Garner, parish nurse; Cory Anderson, chair of Risk Management Committee; Rob Banta, chair of deacons; Debbie Meripolski, chair-elect of deacons; Bill Jernberg, health ministry team; Christy Tabor, chair of Weekday Education Committee; Gayle Lawson, chair of Building and Grounds Committee; Barbara Gass, chair of Finance Committee; Kenton Keller, facilitator of strategic planning; Dash Blaker, communications advisor.
COVID-19 Advisory Update – July 2
Wilshire’s COVID-19 Advisory Task Force has established three guiding principles that will drive plans for reopening the church building for congregational worship. The principles are captured in the acronym SEE – Safe Experience for Every Body.
- SAFE. As a church open to all and closed to none, we all want to join in a big congregational hug. But that’s not smart right now. The Dallas County COVID-19 data is trending higher. We want to keep our members safe and encourage responsible neighborliness. So, here’s the sad news. We’re a long way from gathering together in the old, familiar ways. If local COVID-19 trends reversed today and continued to decline, it would still be 42 days before Dallas County would be in the “green” zone that we’re targeting as a minimum requirement for reopening the Sanctuary. (The “green” zone is one of four zones ranging from red to orange to yellow to green as per the Dallas County COVID-19 Health Guidance for the Public guide). As we watch and wait, we’re continuing to look for creative ways to be church virtually and in small, socially distanced groups with masks. That likely will include more parking lot events. We’re not, however, promoting even small-group offsite gatherings while infection and hospitalization rates are rising.
- EXPERIENCE. We’ve explored options, including opening the Sanctuary to a socially distanced few, without singing or mingling. But that doesn’t feel like Wilshire to us. More than 90 percent of the people who responded to our member survey in May said they’re attending services and Sunday school virtually, and we’re getting good feedback on the experience. So, for now, that’s how we’ll continue.
- EVERY BODY. Wilshire is an intergenerational family. We’re making plans for safe childcare, for protecting senior adults and others at high risk, for our youth and their parents. We’ll congregate again when we can open the doors to all.
Meanwhile, building upgrades that will help create conditions for a safe return are underway. Automated entry doors, motion-sensor lights and hands-free faucets and water fountains are among the improvements that will make our environment safer. The first-floor bathrooms near the library will be totally renovated.
We’ll share updates no less than monthly, and any time there’s a significant change. And we’re always open to your ideas, questions and feedback. You can reach out to anyone on the task force directly, or send an email message to COVID@wilshirebc.org.