REGISTER TODAY FOR IN-PERSON, INDOOR WORSHIP!
At its meeting on April 7th, WSUMC’s Church Council approved a plan presented by the Church Reopening Team for resuming in-person worship in the sanctuary.
The Reopening Team recommended conducting the first in-person worship service in the sanctuary on May 2nd at 11:00 a.m. This recommendation was based on a number of factors including a decline in both COVID positivity rates and case numbers in Richland and Lexington Counties, a high number of Washington Streeters receiving vaccines, and recent guidance from both DHEC and the Centers for Disease Control to resume in-person worship.
The Reopening Team will continue to monitor the COVID percent positive rates for a 7-day average. Should positivity rates in Richland and/or Lexington County exceed the 5-8% moderate level or if there is a named surge in the number of new cases, the Team will recommend to the Church Council that this announced date be pushed back.
Watch a message from Reverend Patricia Parrish about the continuation of social distancing and masks while attending in-person services:
More Information about Indoor, In-Person Services
As we plan to gather for worship in our historic sanctuary for the second time in over 13 months, we wanted to share a few reminders and things to expect with the service. These are protocols and measures that we are taking to ensure your safety and the safety of others:
- You can enter the church from the parking lot doors near Bull Street or at the Washington Street sanctuary doors. Hand sanitizer and masks (if you forget yours) will be located at these entrances. Please wear a mask at all times while you are on church property.
- A designated person will be recording attendance to assure that we abide by our maximum capacity. If you have pre-registered and cannot attend, please use Eventbrite to cancel your reserved seat.
- The main restrooms on the first floor will be for single-person usage. A sign will be placed on the doors as a reminder. As you enter, please flip the sign from “unoccupied” to “occupied”, and do the opposite as you leave. The new handicapped restroom near the ministers’ offices will also be available as a single-use facility.
- The seating in the sanctuary has been carefully designated for a maximum capacity of 95. Pews that you can sit in are designated with a white bow and a “Welcome Back” card; all other pews are marked as not for use.
- Ushers will seat you in a designated pew, following an order that will assure a safe flow. Please understand that you may not be able to sit in the pew or area of the sanctuary that you might be accustomed to.
- For the safety of those in attendance, we will not be singing hymns. A choir soloist will be carefully positioned during musical presentations.
- The service will last approximately 40 minutes. At the conclusion, the ushers will direct you in an orderly exit plan. We ask that you leave through the main sanctuary doors, exiting onto Washington Street. This will avoid any large indoor congestion.
- Children are welcome although we are not providing a nursery, children’s moments, or children’s church at this time. Changing tables for infants are located in all first-floor restrooms open for use.
We ask for your patience and understanding as we reunite in worship, knowing that things may look and feel differently. The Church Reopening Team has been carefully planning for in-person worship inside. They will continue to meet weekly to evaluate our protocols and make adjustments where needed. Additionally, the Reopening Team will continue to monitor COVID trends in our area and any updated protocols issued by the CDC or our SC United Methodist Church Conference.
Thank you, and welcome back!
Attendees are strongly encouraged to pre-register. This will allow us to control the number of persons who attend in accordance with safety protocols and social distancing.
The SC UMC Conference released updated protocols on March 29th for local churches. These recommendations can be found at umcsc.org/bestpractices. The Church Reopening Team is currently reviewing the protocols published last summer for WSUMC for any changes that may be needed as a result of this guidance.
Additionally, the Reopening Team recommends hosting in-person Sunday School classes beginning on May 16th, pending the success of the worship services on May 2nd and 9th and based on positivity levels equal to or less than 5-8%. Arrangements are underway to offer a hybrid approach to allow limited in-person attendance with remote capability.
Details for these reopening plans for in-person worship in the sanctuary and for Sunday School will be announced as soon as they are finalized, along with the plans for the continuation and transition of our outdoor services and virtual worship offerings.