The Process of Re-Opening
From the Clergy and Staff of Sterling UMC:
The Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church has released a Handbook for Local Churches on re-opening for in person worship. This is a comprehensive handbook that is over 60 pages long with very specific instructions for re-opening. Here is a summary of what we have learned:
- First, we are creating a “Healthy Church Team” of congregation members, as per instructions from the Bishop, to help assess where we are and how we will move forward. This team is being spearheaded by Debbie Myers, our current Lay Leader. They will work alongside our clergy and staff to make decisions regarding all our church activities, worship or otherwise, in accordance with the instructions given to us by the conference.
- Churches will move through three distinct stages during the reopening process. Currently, most Virginia churches are preparing to move to Stage One on May 24. Northern Virginia is slated to enter Stage One later than the rest of the state as per Governor Northam’s instructions. During Stage One, only Pioneer Churches will begin in person worship. There are a handful of Pioneer Churches across the state of Virginia who have been approved by their District Superintendent and will adhere to strict reopening protocols during Stage One. Sterling United Methodist Church is not a Pioneer Church and we will continue online only worship through Stage One.
- We will not be holding in person Vacation Bible School or In God’s Backyard Summer Camp as per the instructions from the Conference.
- Here is a link to the summary of the handbook provided by the Virginia Conference as well as a video from our Bishop detailing the process of reopening churches around Virginia. Finally, here is a link to the Virginia Conference page with the most recent updates on the process of re-opening.
Sterling United Methodist Church will be holding online only services into the summer, but our mission doesn’t stop just because our building is closed. We will still be engaging with everyone through our weekly events – One Sterling Moment, Coffee with the Staff, Evening Prayer with Pastor Marcela and, of course, Sunday Morning Worship. There are ways for you to continue to be involved with service opportunities and engage in worship by sending in a Lord’s Prayer Video or by volunteering as a liturgist.
While we are staying home during this time, please know that we are staying home – together. We are doing everything we can to make sure everyone stays safe and healthy while still engaging in the church. We love you, we miss you and we are in this with you.