Returning to Worship at VUMC

We hope that the following will answer any questions you might have about returning to worship at Vestal UMC.

What time is worship?

We are following our usual summer schedule and will have one worship service at 9:30 a.m.

I feel I am vulernable - should I come to church?

Only you can determine what is right for you. We are offering early seating (8:50 to 9:05 a.m. for those who would like to limit their contact with others as much as possible.

However, if you have concerns we encourage you to take it week by week, and return only when you feel it is right for you.  In the meantime you can continue to worship on our website or on our Facebook page.  If you do not have access to these please contact the office or let your care partner know and we can share with you other ways you can worship with us.

What will worship be like?

We have done everything we can to keep the elements of the worship service as much as the same as possible. We have had to change some things to be in compliance with NYS and/or to help keep our most vulnerable people safe.

  • We are not able to sing – but we will hum and ooh.  All attending are encourage to bring any small instruments from home (tambourines, maracas, etc.).  You can have some fun making your own as well!
  • Bible, hymnals, paper, pencils have all been removed from the pews.
  • Pew cushions have also been removed.  However, you are free to bring your own from home each week.
  • There will be no bulletins distributed (except a limited amount for those needing large print.)  Each week in the By the Way we will give you a link to print information for worship that you can bring with you.  We ask that you please also take it home with you to recycle.
Why do I have to register if I am attending worship?

In order to reopen we had to file a plan with NYS to explain how we are going to comply with the guidelines and mandates given to us in order to begin worshiping in person again.  You registering for worship helps us fulfill two of those requirements.

1. We are limited to 33% capacity during worship.  By you registering for worship you will help us know how many people are coming, and help us to be sure we are not going to exceed this number.  Because we have seating in both the sanctuary and, if necessary the dining room, we do not anticipate this to be an issue.

2. Contact tracing – if we ever have someone in our church family test positive for COVID-19 we will need to provide Broome County and NYS contact information for anyone that person was in close contact with.  By registering, it gives us record of your attendance, and then we will know, if that unfortunate thing happens, that you will need to be contacted.

How do I register?

Registering is quite easy!

You can do it here, on our website, by completing a short form.  You can also do it with your realm login at www.onrealm.org or on your smartphone or tablet with the Realm Connect app.

 

What is all this stuff I keep hearing about Realm?

Realm is a program that we use to track all of our members and constituents and it includes our accounting system.  As we move forward in this new world we are now in, Realm will be used for more and more things including communication between you, church, your friends and the groups you are a part of.

It will be the preferred method for registering for events, how you can check and print your giving records, sign in for worship and meetings, and much, much more.

While it is not necessary to have a Realm account, we highly encourage those online to create one as it is the best way for you to stay connected with your church.

If you, or someone you know is not online, it’s ok!  We will still have alternative ways to communicate with you, let you register for events and more – just like we always have.

You can get more information about Realm here and get the apps as well.

I know things are different - how will I know what to do?

Yes, how to enter and exit the church building and sanctuary will be different.  We will have lots of friendly faces, er…, smiling eyes there to help you every step of the way.

When you arrive someone will greet you in the parking lot to remind you of our social distancing policies and what to do when you reach the entrance.

At each entrance you will be greeted once again and directed to the sanctuary based on which entrance you use.

Once again you will be met in the sanctuary and someone will show you to your seat.

When worship is over you will again be show how to leave the sanctuary and building safely.

What are the "rules" we need to follow?

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Masks must be worn by anyone in the building (or in the parking lot if social distancing is not possible).
  • All greeting must be verbal or symbolic.  There will be no touching (handshakes, hugs, elbow or fist bumps, etc.)
  • We ask that people remain in their seats as much as possible during worship.  This is to minimize the passing of each other as much as we can.  If you need the restroom or if you are a parent with a child and need to leave worship you can do so.
  • The lobby, narthex, sanctuary, dining room, and two main bathrooms will be open.  All other areas of the building will not be accessible.  (Note: if you need a private bathroom for any reason please see one of our staff and we’d be happy to show you to an alternative restroom.)
  • Main restrooms will be limited to two people at a time.
  • Elevator use is limited to people from the same household. Otherwise only one person at a time can use it.
Can I still watch the worship services online?

Yes!

It will still be on our Facebook page and here, on our website each Sunday at 9:30 during the summer and 8:30 and 11:00 during the rest of the year.