October 18 and an Ongoing Caveat

By October 9, 2020

On September 25 in our FUMCFW Weekly Enews we published the article, “Why is it taking so long?” to address the many questions surrounding our return to in-person, indoor worship in our beloved Sanctuary. In that article we outlined the thinking behind our decision making, our reliance on science, and our close working relationship with our local public health officials.

We also mentioned a hopeful return date of October 11; however, upon looking at the weekly trends we’ve been advised to watch most closely and the advice of public health officials, we have delayed that start date another week — to a new hopeful date of October 18.

With an ongoing caveat.

With our deep commitment to keeping vulnerable members of our congregation as safe as possible and averting contribution to the community spread of this virus, we will continue to watch the weekly trends as advised and stay in contact with public health officials to make this in-person worship decision early each week.

We realize that last-minute decisions are never ideal. And that having to make a reservation to go to church seems odd at best. Please be assured that we’re doing all we can to make this transition back to “normal” (whatever that’s going to look like) as easy and user-friendly as possible.

A phrase that we have learned to live with is “During COVID…”  That phrase reminds us that what we are doing now to keep people safe — to do no harm — is not forever, but during this unprecedented time.

When key trends seem steady and we’re cleared to go forward with in-person worship, you’ll receive an email as soon as that determination is made with a link to make your online reservation for the following Sunday’s service. Our clergy and program staff, led by Worship Coordinator Elaine Johnson and Director of Welcoming Ministries Lisa Helm, have worked very hard since early June to develop and implement protocols we will follow once we’re back on campus for worship. Watch your email for specific instructions!

Want to know more? Click here to view the site our public health officials monitor regularly.

In addition to new case counts, hospitalization rates, and other stats you’ll see on this Tarrant County Public health Dashboard, one local biostatistician who regularly puts out reports for the county and the state on this topic says that epidemiologists also watch a statistic known as the R0 (pronounced R-naught) that indicates how fast cases are multiplying. The RO models the expected number of cases that will result directly from one case within a community. When the R0 goes above 1.0 we’re having fast spread, such as it did in June, and we saw the results throughout July and August. Because the R0 is currently less than 1 and has been relatively stable, we are able to consider and actively plan our return to  in-person worship, with the ongoing caveat that if it the RO and other trends go back up, we shut back down.

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