Updated June 17, 2020
Dear Brunswick Beloved,
Recently Governor Walz, together with the Minnesota Department of Health relaxed some of the restrictions that had been ordered to protect us from the rampant spread of Covid-19. The Minnesota Annual Conference has also changed our status to a small degree, and a few churches in rural areas are beginning to have services, most often outdoors. This has led to questions about Brunswick’s plans for resuming community worship in our sanctuary as well as hopes that other small groups might be able to resume soon. Our Leadership Team met on June 15 to begin the process of developing safety and health plans for Brunswick, but I am sorry to have to confirm that we are not in any way ready to have most ministries in our building. We have set September 6 (Labor Day weekend) as the date we may resume weekly community worship, depending on our preparation and conditions at that time.
This waiting is difficult, and it brings great sorrow and perhaps a good deal of frustration. Our stress is compounded by violence in our community, our thirst for justice, and the transition of Pastor Yolanda to a new ministry. I share all of those feelings with you. All of your church staff and leaders are working extremely hard to provide as much ministry remotely as we can, while at the same time we make the necessary plans for you to safely return in the fall. Keep in mind that our building was previously in use seven days a week, and we have to provide not only for ourselves, but for the safety of all of the other groups that meet here.
Even when we have a plan, there is a tremendous amount of work that goes into holding meetings and worship safely. We need to set-up our building including entryways and restrooms for safety; we need to purchase and install required equipment; we need to remove soft fixtures (like pew cushions) from areas of the building; we need to train volunteers in new procedures for safety and hospitality. Some of you who are not at high-risk for infection may have volunteer opportunities in coming weeks to help with these efforts. There are also many ways that you can be part of leading worship; details on that were emailed out earlier this week, but please contact me if you would like to know more.
We are beginning to host a few high-priority small group ministries on our grounds or in our facility. These groups must have trusted leaders, a written and approved safety plan, limitations including not serving food or beverages, and carefully sanitizing areas after use. By “high priority” we mean those ministries that most immediately impact health and well-being, and ministries that are not available through other sources. These include REFIT® (meeting outdoors), the mask making workshop, and the Fearless support group. More will be added in coming days.
Your pastor and members of the Leadership Team are always anxious to hear ideas, questions, suggestions, or concerns from our members and friends. Please be in touch with us.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Ruth Ann