Plans for Sunday Services, beginning October 10

Your regathering team (Marti Peters-Sparling, Donna McClurkan, Greg Feldmeier, Gary Heckman, and Chris Schleuder) along with Rev. Rachel and Joe Hampel, after much discussion and consultation with UUA guidance, have decided on a framework to guide our return to limited-attendance, indoor, in-person services, beginning with the service at 10:45am on October 10. Our services will be simultaneously streamed to Zoom and we encourage people to attend services that way, as it is the safest option.

Beginning on October 10, we will allow limited-attendance services if:

  • The COVIDActNow Risk level for Kalamazoo County is ‘High’ or lower. (As of this writing in Mid-September, the risk level is at ‘Very High.’ You can monitor this here:
  • We have space to seat people. Given that The Commons is currently full of household goods donated for our Afghan neighbors, this is an open question. The resettlement process is taking more time that we anticipated.
  • The service is being led by People’s people. We might occasionally still join other congregations for worship, such as on October 24. On those days, there will not be an in-person option.

The church staff will decide on Wednesday afternoons if in-person services will be possible for the following Sunday and will spread the word to people who want to attend.

How many people will be allowed to attend?
We are still working to determine the number of people that our building can accommodate with relative safety. Gary Heckman is working to revive a ventilation system for The Commons that has not been used in recent years. He is working with Joe Hampel (whose experience as a veterinarian preventing the spread of respiratory diseases in mammals is relevant to our situation) to calculate the rates of air exchange, which will guide us to a number that feels reasonable. Every gathering carries some risk, but we are working to mitigate it as best as we can.

If I want to attend the service, how will I sign up?
Look for signup links in the ‘This Week at People’s Church’ weekly emails and other church communications. You will also be able to sign up by calling the church office.

What else should I know?
This service is intended for adults and youth over 12 who would prefer the service to religious education programming. (Children under 12 will have outdoor religious education.) We invite unvaccinated people to attend the service on Zoom. We will expect everyone to remain masked, except for service leaders while they are speaking. There will be no group singing and no food or drink at the service.

This plan, like every plan for the future, is a work in progress. We will be moving slowly and making adjustments as the situation warrants it. For the latest updates, please see our weekly emails.

See you in church,
Rev. Rachel

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