EUMC plans for members to regather in person the weekend of August 1-2

By Chuck Gibson

LOVELAND, OH (July 16, 2020) – Reverend Kathy Currier, Senior Pastor for Epiphany United Methodist Church (EUMC) confirmed plans are currently in place for members to return to gathering for  in person services August 1-2.

Reverend Kathy Currier, Senior Pastor, Epiphany United Methodist Church of Loveland, Ohio (FILE)

“That is the plan,” said Currier. “We were hoping to regather last weekend (July 11-12), but with the spike in the area we just didn’t feel it was safe to regather. We pushed it back until August first and second. That’s what we hope to do.”

The plan for EUMC members to regather includes limits on how many will be allowed to come into a service. Currier says they will have multiple services to accommodate as many people who wish to return in person. For those who make the choice not to regather, services will continue to be livestreamed just as they have been since before the coronavirus pandemic.

 “People are still really tentative about gathering,” Currier said indicating their understanding some people will not return right away. “We have three services and we would allow up to 100 people at each one. Our plan is to keep it to 100 people at each service. We’re looking forward to seeing each other.”

The guidelines from the United Methodist Church Bishop allow for 25-percent of capacity when determining safe social distancing procedures. Epiphany United Methodist Church in Loveland could actually allow up to 125 people to gather and still meet the guidelines from the Bishop. They are planning to stick to only 100 to be safe. Steps are being taken to ensure a safe and healthy environment in accordance with the guidelines being given for all who do regather.

 “We’ve removed everything from the pews following all the guidelines given to us by our Bishop and our Conference,” Currier explained. “There will be no hymnals or anything like that. We’ll be wearing masks, but we will at least be able to regather in person.”

Rev. Kathy Currier, EUMC Pastor will see some live faces return August 1-2, but understands some will wait (FILE)

Currier understands some people really want to get back while some others may not be back until there is a vaccine. The goal is to provide the option for regathering safely for those who do want to return. They will continue to provide for everyone to participate in the practice of their faith with EUMC.

“We were streaming before the pandemic so we’ll continue to offer that,” said Currier. “We’re going continue to offer classes, studies and groups online even well after we’re all able to regather. Really, we’ve found it is a very convenient way for people to gather.”

In that way, the pandemic has revealed some options for people to engage who have small kids, can’t drive at night, or any variety of variables which have limited their participation in some of the programs offered in the past. EUMC plans to continue most of the online offerings and especially the things they’ve added during the pandemic. Going back to church, regathering in person is the focus for now and Currier believes they have everything ready. She even feels some of the state mandates, like wearing masks, help them.

 “That kind of helps us. That gives us a law to fall back on for what we would prefer people do,” she said. “We think we have everything ready. Like I said, we thought we were going to do it this last weekend. The 11th and 12th of July is the date we kind of held out there during the last month or so. Once it got closer, we could see it wasn’t the best.”

All those faces will be wearing masks if they come back August 1-2 (FILE)

Epiphany, and Pastor Currier, is blessed to have a medical team with doctors and nurses and others on the front lines helping them to make the best decision. Right now, they are hopeful they will indeed be able to regather as planned on August 1-2. A cleaning service performs a deep clean during the week. Specific places will be marked off where people can sit during worship with safe social distancing. Cleaning teams will clean all surfaces between services. Sanitizing stations are available all over the church.

“If you come in, everyone will have a mask on,” Currier said. “There will be no singing. Our music will be recorded because singers are ‘super spreaders’ we are told. There is a bigger risk if there is live singing.”

There will not be any children’s ministries during worship services. Children will be required to stay with their parents. EUMC is taking all the necessary precautions to regather safely. They know things can change at any time. Currier says they are prepared to adjust if necessary.

“We’re hoping for the first and second,” she said. “If we need to push that back again, we can do that, but that’s the plan.”

 Click here for up to date information from Epiphany United Methodist Church- Loveland online.

Epiphany United Methodist Church – Loveland is located at: 6635 Loveland- Miamiville Road, Loveland, Ohio 45140