In response to recent questions about the Church 2.0 task force and in light of the changing and dangerous COVID Delta variant situation, we hope to clarify who we are and how we arrive at our recommendations to the NP Board of Trustees for approval. Like all of our community, at this point, we really hoped we’d be well advanced into planning full reentry into our usual and beloved church activities. But Delta has upended this for everyone and we’ve had to refocus on a safe reopening process.
Our team meets weekly for spirited discussions to thoroughly evaluate the impacts of the latest data on community safety and to review multiple options to provide: safe Sunday services, RE for the children and parents, building use for staff and guests, gatherings of NP and non-NP groups, etc. Technology, health priorities, need for community building, how to incorporate music etc. are all weighed in the discussions.
Task Force members:
Lee Bluemel – Minister
Kerry Anne Kilkelly – Faith formation
Denise VanVooren – Caring community
Melissa White – Worship committee and music
Steve Vail – Technical team and music
Kirk Olsen – Board of Trustees representative, building and grounds
Karen Letourneau – Medical knowledge
Current COVID Status:
COVID 19 cases continue to increase locally, the following data is from https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting .
The number of cases, in the last 2 weeks are:
North Andover: 89 cases or 21 per 100,000 residents.
Lawrence 273 cases or 22.1 per 100,000 residents.
Andover 163 cases or 15.8 per 100,000 residents.
Methuen 173 cases or 23 per 100,000 residents.
Haverhill 80 cases or 17.7 per 100,000 residents.
This is an issue for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals as 75 of the Massachusetts hospitalizations in the last week were for fully vaccinated people.
What this means for North Parish:
After much discussion North Parish is going to try a hybrid service for the water communion.
Water/Shell/stone drop off and social mingling will be September 11 from 1 PM to 3PM by the circle.
The service will be held in the back yard at 10:00 on September 12.
For both events, all attendees who can be vaccinated are expected to have been vaccinated. Masks and social distancing are required. The service will be broadcast via zoom, as this will be the first attempt at an outdoor broadcast it will be best effort. Think back to late March 2020 for expectations on the experience. The North Parish staff and tech team will be working hard for this so please give them your full support.
We also hope to be able to have an additional outdoor service in October while it’s warm enough.
North Parish will continue to offer zoom services each week as we have throughout the pandemic.
Questions for the Task Force?
If you have topics that need to come up before the church 2.0 task force they can be sent to Kirk Olsen