FCPC has assembled a Covid Task Force whose members represent different groups of the church and have diverse professional backgrounds. The first priority is to keep our members, guests, and staff safe by following CDC, state, and local health guidelines.
You may email the Task Force with questions or concerns.
Thank you to the members of the
FCPC COVID TASK FORCE:
Joe Mettenburg (Chair)
Rev. Chris Taylor
Rev. Ellen Dawson
The following guidelines are already in place at the church:
Hand sanitizer is available upon entering the church, and in different areas of the building.
Social distancing of at least six feet is being practiced at all times.
Everyone is required to wear a mask inside the building. There are masks available.
All people entering the building must sign in for contact tracing purposes.
We ask everyone to remain home when sick, and after being around someone who is sick or having traveled to high risk areas (14 days)
Caretakers Greg and Mike have been regularly cleaning the church facilities using Bactronix cleaning products, which are hospital grade disinfectants that are also environmentally friendly
NOVEMBER 12, 2020 UPDATE
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
The return to worship in the sanctuary is so welcome. Thank you to all the volunteers and the staff who work so hard to bring us the Word both in person and shared through the live stream. We have heard from some that you do not "want to take someone else's place" given the limited numbers that we feel can safely be accommodated. We encourage those who are interested and not at high risk to join us in the sanctuary. Please, if you are so called, sign up and come worship! We have not reached our maximum capacity in the sanctuary yet. If you change your mind, please call and let the office know so we can open your reservation to someone else. Children are welcome! Though currently there is no formal children's Sunday school, Pastor Lori has several creative and thoughtful ways to engage our children during the service. It is a joy to see them.
We have also heard your concerns about worship. We do acknowledge that COVID19 continues to spread in our community at greater and greater rates. Our task force, the worship and music staff and volunteers, and the sextons are working tirelessly to make sure that every safe measure is considered and implemented, as much as possible. These measures include regular cleaning, optimized ventilation, masks, distancing, hand hygiene and - most importantly - your discernment of staying home if you are considered vulnerable, are sick, have been exposed to someone who is sick or have traveled to (or received a visitor from) a location considered a "hot spot".
We are continuously monitoring conditions and trying to improve our approach amid changing understanding of how the virus spreads. According to the health department, contact tracing has found that a majority of spread is occurring during family gatherings, social functions and other events where there may be less adherence to core tenants of safe practice including wearing masks, hand hygiene and distancing. We recognize that we cannot eliminate risk, but with discipline and planning we can minimize risk, just as so many other institutions around us are safely doing in order to reclaim a shred of normalcy.
As winter sets in and the holidays approach, we pray for discernment of gathering with family and friends, and we pray that the impact these gatherings may have on our families as well as the larger community - our schools, our places of work, and our places of worship - may be mitigated by discipline and adopting safe practices throughout.
In follow-up to the exposure incidents at the preschool in the last few weeks, no additional cases were recorded as a result. We are so thankful to the preschool staff and leadership for maintaining safe and effective practices while educating our children. Please pray for their continued health and safety.
Do not forget to check the church website for upcoming events and opportunities to safely gather and be with each other.
If you have comments, suggestions, questions or any other communication to the task force, we value hearing from you: firstname.lastname@example.org.
OCTOBER 23, 2020 UPDATE
And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purposes. Romans 8:28-29
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
We acknowledge and hold up to the glory of God all the hard work and thoughtfulness by so many working to enrich our fellowship and community in the midst of the ongoing global pandemic. We acknowledge that this virus is spreading more in our communities and that exposure to this virus carries very real risks, both known and unknown. We also acknowledge that people in our community are struggling - publicly and privately - and are impacted spiritually, physically, emotionally and financially by the virus and the ongoing actions to mitigate its spread.
Thank you to the staff and pastors who tirelessly and prayerfully work and care for us amidst uncertainty and changing dynamics. Thank you to those who are leading worship. Thank you for producing consistent and quality livestream services so that all may feel comfortable to worship in the space of their choosing. Thank you to those who are establishing safe guidelines and practices for the gradual return of limited numbers of congregants to sanctuary worship as winter approaches and outside worship will no longer be reliable. Thank you to the preschool leadership for caring for and taking on the burden of responsibility for the youngest of us. Thank you to all the committees who continue to come up with creative and thoughtful ways of both bringing us together during these forced times of separation and also serving the greater community. Thank you to all those who do their part to keep themselves and those around them safe from the spread of this virus by following established safe practices.
Thank you, God, for the assurance of your love as we seek ways to demonstrate this love in our families, work spaces and communities.
The FCPC preschool was informed of a student who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID19, this week. The preschool leadership immediately informed exposed families and staff and is working closely with the Allegheny County Health Department to assist with the process of contact tracing and isolation. Please pray for these families and the preschool leadership, and respect the privacy of those affected.
We remind groups and congregants entering the building to abide by posted signage regarding safe practices and limiting access to portions of the building.
Worship in the sanctuary this Sunday will include a small number of congregants. Attendance is voluntary and you must reserve your household "pod" prior to the service through the church website. Numbers are strictly limited. Careful preparation of the building and safe practices will be in place to minimize the risk of virus exposure, including
Mandatory face masks, fully covering both nose and mouth
Hand hygiene stations
Reminders to distance and separation of household pods during the service
Reminders that there is no congregational singing
Optimized air exchange in the building
Thorough cleaning of all surfaces. Hymnals and bibles have been removed from the pews to limit potentially contaminated surfaces
Temperature checks will be performed at the door; no one will be admitted with a temperature over 100F
Reminders to stay home if you are sick, have had recent sick contact or have recently traveled from regions considered at high risk.
We encourage those who are concerned about potential exposure and/or are considered at high risk for complications related to COVID19, to continue to worship from home via the livestream service, available on the FCPC YouTube channel.
The Covid Task Force and Session continue to monitor local cases as well as the situation in our county and neighboring communities. Please be patient as things may change quickly and scheduled events and activities may need to be modified.
Do not hesitate to reach out to the office with any questions or to the task force at email@example.com.
OCTOBER 9, 2020 UPDATE
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of
you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them
all together in perfect unity.
The details for in person worship in the sanctuary are coming together. When it begins, the service will also be live-streamed from the sanctuary so that it can be watched from home as well. Look for instructions in the coming weeks about the start of in-person worship and how to RSVP.
Some groups have started to meet inside the building as we experience cooler weather and less daylight. Please continue to practice mitigation strategies of wearing face masks, social distancing, and practicing good hand hygiene.
The preschool continues to do well and has been able to add a third day each week for children to come to school. They continue to find creative ways for the children to learn and celebrate their traditions safely.
We appreciate all the staff and many individuals who are committed to the functioning of the church during this challenging time. We are also thankful for prayers for the church and our greater community as we support one another.
SEPTEMBER 25, 2020 UPDATE
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3: 22-23
Thank you to everyone for both coming out and spreading the word to make the Blood Drive a success on Tuesday! Vitalant reported that we collected 24 units of blood which is considered a very good number, even prior to Covid. Thank you also to the staff and Deacons for their coordination of the event.
The Preschool reports that school has been going well. The children and teachers have all been adapting to some of the new safety processes put in place and they have also become creative with using outdoor spaces.
The sanctuary is being prepared for indoor worship, with a target date of mid-October. While the staff and multiple committees work on this transition, Sunday outdoor worship services will continue as well as the online prerecorded services at 10:30 AM. The Tuesday evening gatherings will also meet on Tuesdays at 7:00 pm on the terrace outside of Fellowship Hall.
SEPTEMBER 11, 2020 UPDATE
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Dear Fellow Members of Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church,
The Covid Task Force wants to express its gratitude to all the FCPC staff and committees as they work tirelessly and creatively under conditions pressured and limited by the global pandemic of Covid19.
We continue to prayerfully balance our faith commitments with maintaining safe practices to mitigate the spread of this virus. With the support of our Session, the Task Force continues to take into consideration all Federal, State, and County recommendations. Though we are not legally bound by these mandates, we are bound to our call to love our neighbor. The Biblical mandate to love especially our most vulnerable neighbors, is the primary guide that drives our decision making. We acknowledge that we have had to set aside important and meaningful practices during this process, and we grieve this. We yearn for a time when we can safely be close, to sing, to embrace without discernment, and to gather in all the ways to which we have become accustomed. Yet we also acknowledge that there is precedent for worship, on occasion, to take different forms. As Presbyterians, we are a people who are reformed, always reforming. Part of our heritage and history is that we are a people who both value our roots and rituals, while seeking to be adaptive in the face of change and challenge. This includes how and where we worship. As such, we are seeking to both stay grounded in the core tenets of our faith and tradition, while remaining confident God meets us, and is glorified, in every expression of worship, including online or outside gatherings.
* Sunday outdoor live services continue. All are welcome! 10:30 am in the parking lot. Bring a chair and prepare to worship together, under the sky.
* Tuesday evening gatherings continue on the terrace outside of Fellowship Hall, 7:00 pm. All are welcome! Come and participate in an informal period of reflection, prayer, and fellowship.
OTHER UPDATES/LETTERS TO CONGREGATION
June 15, 2020 - Letter to Congregation
May 5, 2020 - Letter to Congregation
March 23, 2020 - Letter to Congregation
March 13, 2020 - Letter to Congregation
March 11, 2020 - Letter to Congregation
AUGUST 28, 2020 UPDATE
Let everyone give all their praise and thanks to the Lord! Here’s why—he’s better than anyone could ever imagine. Yes, he’s always loving and kind, and his faithful love never ends...So lift your hands and thank God for his marvelous kindness.
from Psalm 107 (The Passion Translation)
August 28, 2020 Update
Allegheny county continues to experience relatively widespread infections throughout all communities, a positive test rate of 7-9%, and roughly ~100 new cases/day. These metrics suggest we must remain cautious, but do allow for some flexibility, with safe practices in place.
The Church office remains open by appointment only and meetings are strongly recommended to be held virtually or outside.
YouTube services will continue each Sunday morning. Outdoor live services on Sunday mornings (not streamed or recorded) will also be held, weather permitting. Please keep an eye out for information from the Church by email, on Facebook or call the office with any questions/updates. For the outdoor services, and based on the Allegheny County Health Department mandates, gatherings must be fewer than 50 (outside). Overflow worshippers may be asked to stay in their car. We know this may be inconvenient! We are working to implement a robust system to RSVP for the services. Thank you for your patience and your support.
We are coordinating carefully with the pastors, staff and the Worship & Music team to establish the best safe practices that align with a meaningful worship service. The health of all our congregation, staff and volunteers remains a high priority as we engage in worship together.
Tuesday evening gatherings continue on the patio outside the Church at 7 pm; please contact Nici in the office if you'd like to attend!
Youth group activities continue! Please contact Ryan if you are unsure of the times.
Safe practices to limit the spread of COVID19 remain in place:
We are so grateful for the over 200 responses to the recent survey! These responses reflect a diverse cross-section of our church community and each and every one is important. Your comments are so helpful and we are grateful for all of them. If you would like a paper survey, please let us know at the email address listed below. Here is a brief summary of the responses:
Thoughts toward returning to indoor worship are varied:
30% are not comfortable until a vaccine is available
26% will wait several additional weeks
25% will return at the first opportunity with precaution and concerns
19% want to return at first opportunity even with restrictions.
Most are feeling satisfied with and are enjoying the current church offerings as well as participating in online activities
A vast majority are willing to attend a service at a different time than they are accustomed to (90%).
Almost all are willing to wear masks while at the church (94%).
For those with children, the response to resumption of children’s participation, while following best practices, was generally positive (~60%)
There were many open form comments - we love hearing from each of you! Where appropriate and/or relevant, the comments have been shared.
A significant number expressed gratitude and appreciation for the work by staff and church leaders.
Chris Taylor’s daily devotions are greatly appreciated.
There were many thoughtful suggestions for improvement to the technical side, format and content of the worship services.
The music is important and enjoyed by many.
Many expressed a desire for more connection - both virtual and in person.
Many of you expressed caution and concern for moving forward, remembering to consider those of who are older or with health issues.
If we didn’t hear from you, you can reach out to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please continue to help as we work to enrich your church experience. From so many of you, we see that faith and trust in our church is strong. Knowing this helps sustain all of us through this journey. Each of us is but an instrument of God’s hands and we can all work together for His glory, trusting in Him and His plan.