Church Reopening Update

COVID Team Report to Administrative Council
March 15, 2021

The response of FUMC Baraboo to the COVID-19 pandemic is rooted in scripture and science based. We show concern for our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable among us, promoting healthy practices for others and ourselves. We will continue to consult the best available research/information from the Centers for Disease Control, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Sauk County Health Department and the Wisconsin Council of Churches.

We are grateful for the signs of hope we see for curtailing the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily the increasing availability of vaccines. Yet, we are concerned that the Sauk County case activity remains high (148.4 new cases per 100,000 in the last two weeks as of March 11). Weekly online worship will continue to be offered as the safest worship option. Along with that, we will allow in-person activities in the parking lot (e.g. worship) with social distancing and mask wearing required by everyone over the age of five. Eating and drinking will not be permitted (the exception would be Holy Communion). During April, only instrumental music will be permitted in parking lot worship – e.g. electronic piano, drums, guitar. Music by soloists and congregational singing could be added later in the spring, as the availability of vaccines and rates of vaccination continue to improve.

The Neighborly Free Store can begin monthly parking lot events in April. Parking lot Sunday school can also resume. Small groups and committees of ten or less will be allowed to meet in the church (again with masks and social distancing required). Posted cleaning protocols will need to be followed at the conclusion of these gatherings.

The Centers for Disease Control has stated that fully vaccinated people (meaning those who are 2 weeks past the second dose of a two-dose vaccination, or 2 weeks past vaccination for a one dose shot) may gather indoors without masks in private social settings. However, because our church is a public space, it’s important that fully vaccinated people continue following public health best practices, including mask wearing and physical distancing. Everyone who attends a church sponsored event, either on site or off site, would need to wear a mask and practice social distancing (regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated).

We offer this guidance knowing the situation can change quickly. Based on new data, this plan can be revised as needed in the future. We will continue to pray that we will do God’s will and be faithful in this present moment.

Keri Olson, Pastor Marianne Cotter, Emily Moll and Leon Miller,
March 15, 2021