This is the second report to the congregation from Wilshire’s COVID-19 Advisory Task Force. We are seeking to keep the congregation informed as we continue our work of evaluation and recommendation.
First, the task force expresses its gratitude to the 344 congregants who last week completed our online survey. A summary of those findings can be found here. All your input has been carefully studied by the task force and is guiding our next steps. In addition to the multiple-choice answers, we received additional comments and suggestions from 124 congregants. The task force has read each of these comments.
Second, we have determined that when we are able to reopen the building, our first priority will be finding a safe way to offer corporate worship. We anticipate worship services — with likely adaptations and perhaps offered at alternate times to allow more participation — will be offered well before any small-group meetings such as Sunday School. Even so, knowing when this will happen remains uncertain. A subgroup of our task force currently is proposing criteria for when we will know it is safe to attempt any kind of corporate worship. We know that will not happen in June and we believe it is unlikely that will happen in July. We hope to present these criteria to the congregation before July 1, so everyone will know more what to expect.
Third, we are exploring ways to use the north parking lot for appropriate socially distanced events with smaller groups. One example of this that we have affirmed is allowing limited outdoor youth gatherings with certain protocols in place to mitigate risk. If successful, this model could potentially be used by adult groups as well.
Fourth, we are working diligently to make essential upgrades to our facilities while the building is closed. Two already-funded projects — installing solar panels on the roof and retrofitting the entire building with LED lighting — are now moving forward, even though unrelated to COVID-19 preparations. A top priority is renovation of the men’s and women’s restrooms located behind the Sanctuary and near the Library. Architects are working now on a design that will allow us to significantly expand both restrooms and to create a touch-free environment. We also are working on installing more hand sanitizer stations, retrofitting restrooms with as much touch-free technology as possible and ensuring all primary entrances to the building may be accessed with automated doors.
Fifth, we will be working with other faith leaders in the Dallas area in an effort to present a united front on church reopening. We are in communication especially with like-minded churches about how we can support each other in our public witness and communication.
And finally, your continued financial support is essential to the church at this time. We are able to offer the innovative ministries now happening in every segment of the church’s life because of your giving. We are able to make proper preparations for reopening because of your giving. And we are able to continue to support our missions partners locally and globally during this pivotal time of ministry.
The COVID-19 Advisory Task Force
George Mason, senior pastor; Mark Wingfield, associate pastor; David Nabors, director of business administration; Heather Mustain, minister of missions and advocacy; Doug Haney, minister of music; Darren DeMent, minister to students and young adults; 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.