March COVID Task Force Update

by | Mar 14, 2021 | COVID-19

March 2021 COVID-19 Advisory Task Force Update

Where We’ve Been – A look back at our congregation’s COVID-19 journey:
As we mark the one-year anniversary of the county-wide COVID-19 quarantine, we recollect on the development of the Wilshire COVID-19 Task Force in response to the pandemic. Since the inception of the Task Force, we have been focused on finding meaningful ways to keep our congregation connected AND safe. The Task Force has remained steadfast in a desire to re-introduce activities that would allow for in-person gatherings while adhering to the nine guiding principles we highlighted in our first COVID-19 Task Force update in May 2020, including these three key priorities:

    • We will not be an early adopter.
    • We will reopen in stages.
    • We will remain a church for “Every Body.”

We are grateful to each of you for your continued diligence in staying connected through the most unprecedented times and truly embodying what it means to be church despite our decision to not hold indoor worship services. In addition to Sunday School Zoom meetings and our YouTube worship services, we were thankful to add more outdoor activities such as churchwide socials, preschool play dates and Church in the Lot. We also began to offer indoor activities with the introduction of registered events, such as the Honest Advent Experience and, more recently, bridging the needs of our children and youth ministries for “Sunday Night Live” and “Watershed.”

Moving into 2021’s Lenten season and Holy Week, Wilshire will host multiple Sunday morning worship services on Palm Sunday (March 28) and Easter Sunday (April 4) in the north parking lot.

Looking Ahead – Reuniting In Person:
Understanding that COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more widely dispersed, the Task Force is closely monitoring local data and distributed vaccination rates in the community. The Task Force is also maintaining a sub-committee that is evaluating more in-person gathering efforts that would meet a minimal risk level (based on exposure rate and group size analysis) per a collegiate model that has proven effective. With these things in mind, we are looking forward with great anticipation for the opportunity to safely re-gather indoors.

Our goal is to re-gather with alignment to our SEE principle of providing a Safe Experience for Every Body as soon as possible.

So, what does re-entry look like? Our planned approach will follow an incremental process and will be based on local data that continues to have a downward trajectory and the assumption that vaccinations are achieved as forecasted. Here is a tentative outline of that vision:

        • Beginning Wednesday, March 31, we will implement an in-person 30-minute midweek bible study in the Sanctuary. This will be registration based (both by phone and online) for up to 75 people.
          * This midweek bible study will be held every other week on an ongoing basis.
        • We will continue to gather for Church in the Lot during the spring on April 25 and May 23.
        • By Sunday, June 6, we plan to offer up to three in-person Sunday morning worship services in the Sanctuary. Registration and attendee limitations will be put in place with the goal to offer all attendees the opportunity to worship safely. These services will include social distancing and masking.
        • By Promotion Sunday in mid-August, our goal is to be reopened in a capacity that better resembles pre-COVID times, including in-person Sunday School for all ages.

We look forward to these re-entry points with great anticipation. We expect that we will gain new footing with each activity that allows us to build for better implementation and more capacity to host indoor worship and safe corporate fellowship activities.

We know there are many more questions and logistics to come. Staff leadership is currently compiling a more comprehensive look at programs and protocols within this phased approach to re-entry. The result will be a document that will address more specifics – everything from choral plans and child care to Sunday School and other gathering logistics.

Thank you for your continued support in keeping a safe church community. We look forward to rejoining in person with renewed invigoration. May we not “grow weary in doing good” as we remain hopeful for what is yet to come.