The Regathering Team prays this message finds you healthy and safe. We have missed seeing you in person and pray for the time when we can gather again safely. This time continues to challenge all of us and our normal routines. It has pushed us to find new ways to worship and remain connected. It has reminded us that AUMC is not the building. It calls us to remember the stories of the children of Israel as they wandered the wilderness, the times their temple was destroyed, or their diaspora. It did not destroy their faith, and they persevered.
We would like to thank all who participated in the Regathering Survey. Your feedback will continue to help shape our plans to create a “new normal”. At this time we would like to share how our team is preparing.
Our goal first and foremost is your health and safety. We are sure that the following phrase has crossed most of our minds, “wish we could just go back to the way things used to be”; however, this is not the reality. With that in mind, our Regathering Team is seeking new ways to express our faith and create safe spaces to meet once again.
The Regathering Team recently met online via Zoom to continue the work on AUMC’s plan to safely gather in person. This plan will need to be approved by our District Superintendent prior to implementation. This Regathering Plan includes 8 areas we must address in order to move forward. The areas include: physical distancing, the worship experience, cleaning & sanitizing, health & personal hygiene, facility safety, visitor expectations, employee support, and other groups. This plan will take time. If you are interested in reading the framework for the plan from the UMC California Pacific Conference you may click here.
The following steps have already been taken:
- Staff began ordering supplies shortly after the quarantine began (though the demand has created delays of months).
- Staff began cleaning and sanitizing the church facilities.
- Pastor James meets regularly with colleagues via Zoom to discuss ideas and options.
- Other staff review how other churches both near and far are addressing regathering and ways to continue ministry during this time.
- The staff discusses items regarding regathering weekly during our staff meeting.
- Contact with our District Superintendent and California Pacific Conference for guidance.
- Regathering Survey of the congregation completed.
The Regathering Team is lucky to have 4 healthcare professionals to guide us. They continue to stay informed on current COVID-19 cases, especially in Orange County and Anaheim. Cases have been moving up once again in Anaheim. We have another church member that has been exposed and is being monitored to make sure they did not contract the virus. This is just a reminder how close this pandemic continues to be to our church. With this constant change in the situation, we do not anticipate regathering in person in the near future. But we do plan to be ready to resume in-person events and worship once it is prudent.
The Regathering Team will endeavor to keep you informed on our progress and any other information that is vital to your health and safety. As we keep each of you in our prayers we ask that you keep us in your prayers.
May God keep you safe and healthy!
Rebecca Whitfield & Your Regathering Team