02.09.22 | Wellness and Missions
Social/coffee hours may be resumed as restaurants return to full capacity. Food should be served wearing gloves and using utensils rather than offering open table buffets. (BWC Guidelines for Re-entering Well, p. 4)
It is in relationship with others and time spent together that Christians grow in love for one another and for God. A time of fellowship before or after worship encourages these relationships. However, if being physically close poses a threat of serious illness, we must respect and love people enough to find other ways of engaging with one another.
One truth has become abundantly clear during the pandemic: the church is not a building. During this time of online congregational gathering, people have discovered the importance of engaging. Coffee hours may resume if your meeting space allows for a safe flow of people in compliance with all local and state guidelines, remembering that unvaccinated people must continue to wear masks and physically distance themselves from others.
Implementation for In-person Coffee/Social Hour Checklist
- When your gatherings include people who are unvaccinated, you may need to remind participants about adherence to the six-foot rule for distancing. One approach is to tape six-foot lengths on the floors as a visual reminder of the required distance between people. As weather permits, you may consider encouraging people to fellowship outside of the building.
- The Re-Entering Well Task Force should evaluate the layout of the space where coffee hour will be held.
- Create a space in which it is easy for people to sit or stand at least six feet from one another. Note how many people may fit in this configuration of the room. If it is not possible to provide a safe space for all participants, consider alternative plans for fellowship such as creatively inviting smaller groups to participate in different areas.
- Design the gathering space by placing furniture and other objects in locations that visually assist people’s understanding of how they should move through the space. Consider having one path into the room and another out of the room.
- Post clearly visible signs both outside and inside the designated room reminding people to continue practicing physical distancing.
- Food should be served wearing gloves and using utensils rather than offering open table buffets.
- Order ample supplies of hand sanitizer, paper towels, napkins, etc., and have them readily available.
- Thoroughly clean the entire space after every event. That includes all items and surfaces such as tables, chairs, serving trays, bowls, and utensils.
- “How to gather with friends while physical distancing,” according to meeting expert Priya Parker, author of The Art of Gathering https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2020/3/19/21183551/coronavirus-social-distancing-strategies-tips
- “How to Be Together Apart in the Time of Coronavirus,” New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/17/opinion/internet-coronavirus-social-distancing.html
- “Ways to help older neighbors and relatives in isolation (and how they can help you),” Washington Post