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HUMC Reopening Plan

Hamburg United Methodist Church Reopening Plan

In order to open our church building for Sunday Services and Memorial Services, the following plan is established to properly provide a clean and safe environment for all who enter our facility. We plan to utilize only the parts of the building that are needed for services and proper functioning. Restroom facilities will be provided. For Sunday worship, you are encouraged to use the entrance facing Main Street and the main section of the parking lot. We have prepared two lines and two check-in stations in the air-conditioned Gathering Space to facilitate your entry to the Sanctuary from these doors. There will be hand sanitizer stations at the entrance as well as near the sanctuary. 

Our Service of Worship will require a few changes as safety measures. 

  1. We will not be distributing bulletins or hand-outs of any kind. 

  2. We will not pass offering plates, but will follow our summer pattern of plates at the front of the sanctuary, in addition to the availability of electronic giving through PayPal. 

  3. We will not be seated close together but will maintain an appropriate distance in the pews. 

  4. We will not be greeting one another with kisses, hugs, handshakes, or any touching (we recommend a “holy wave”). 

  5. We will not be holding receptions or serving food in the building after any worship Services.

  6. We will be discouraging congregational singing. However, we will be blessed with music, and you are encouraged to hum, sign, dance or sway along. 

  7. In accordance with Upper New York Annual Conference guidelines for reopening worship, face-coverings will be expected at all times while in the building.

For the summer, we will only be using necessary portions of the church building, due to the labor intensive need to clean and disinfect whole areas between each use to comply with State and local government and Annual Conference guidance. Please respect and follow instructions on all posted signage. Many areas of the building will be closed through the remainder of the summer, and other areas will only be open for specific purposes. 

The Reopening Taskforce will continue to develop and revise plans for increased in-person ministries in the days and weeks ahead. Other than Sunday worship and meetings that cannot be accomplished online (because of their essential relationship to facilities management) there will be NO gatherings of church groups or community groups in either the main building or the Sparks of Hope Recovery Center, apart from individually authorized recovery meetings and Red Cross Blood Drives, until further notice. We will endeavor to inform groups promptly when the Reopening Team determine that it is safe to resume meeting in this sacred space. Please watch for more news on such changes on our website and in the newsletter. 

Please be assured that our Plan meets the NY Forward, CDC, and Upper New York Conference guidelines and requirements for Houses of Worship. Let us remember to count our blessings during these days of transition in each of our lives. God has blessed us with capable leadership, disciples committed to following the way of Christ, and the ever-present guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead us onward. 

The areas of the building that are not currently in use except for specific purposes are the following: 

Basement, Little Lamb Wing, Kitchen ,Third Floor Parlor/Parlor Kitchen, Library, Offices

The main floor including the Sanctuary, Columbarium, and rest rooms will be open. Seating in the Gathering Space will be limited and lingering to socialize in this space is discouraged.

Our office staff will continue to work remotely during the week.  Office staff can be reached via the church phone from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Monday to Thursday, and by email Sunday through Thursday. With Cristina’s shift to Sunday morning ministry support, her former short Friday hours have been moved to Sunday for the time being. 

Anyone needing to gain access to the building must call and make prior arrangements with the church office. To provide a safe environment for services, the Sanctuary, Columbarium, first floor men’s and women’s rooms, and entrances will be completely cleaned and disinfected each Thursday. All surfaces such as pews, door hardware, restroom facilities, and tabletops etc. will be disinfected utilizing a misting method with EPA listed disinfectant. 

Entry doors will be held open for you while gathering for worship. Sanitizer stations will be available at check-in, and other strategic locations in the building. Everyone entering the building will be required to wear a face covering. All will be encouraged to maintain the social distancing recommendation of 6 feet except families and those who are attending together.

The Reopening Taskforce has worked to create socially distanced boxes for seating throughout the sanctuary—you and members of your household may sit together in any unoccupied box when you arrive for worship. All bibles, hymnals, envelopes and other material from the pew backs, along with seat cushions have been removed and stored. Congregational singing is discouraged for the time being, but there will be music. We will not have the traditional offering or passing of the offering plate, instead offerings may be left in the plates at the front of the sanctuary as we have often done in summer months. We will not be offering bulletins or any announcement handouts. The building will not be open at all from Friday (after cleaning and disinfecting) to Sunday except for staff who may need to prepare the sanctuary for worship or financial staff who will only access financial offices. The building will also not be open to anyone at any time (except Sunday) unless prior arrangements are made. This plan will be in effect until further notice. 

It is our hope that certain in-person ministries may resume on a limited basis in the near future. To this end, the Reopening Taskforce will continue to work with ministry leaders and will continue to revise this plan as appropriate. If we need to resume increased lock-down procedures, we will attempt to roll back in-person ministry in the same way we have reopened. 

HUMC Reopening Task Force

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