|Hello EH family!|
We are excited to provide you with our weekly update regarding COVID-19 and our transition together. You are encouraged to connect with your church family in all the ways that are right for you. Please use wisdom as you discern how to be involved.
Numbers in our community are very high. This means that any gathering or interaction with other people carries risk. The safest interaction with others is through letters, phone calls, and digital interactions. We continue to seek to be a safe space to gather in small groups and urge you to make the best decision you can for yourself and those close to you.
This week we have seen the number of hospitalizations due to COVID continue to rise and approach 400 in Douglas County. Nearly one out of three tests is positive (29.3%). There were 3,081 positive tests last week and we are on track for 4,000 positive tests this week. Remember, that 56% of all cases come from a personal contact with someone who has COVID-19 so please use caution when gathering privately with others.
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. sent a letter yesterday to all of the United Methodist Churches in Kansas and Nebraska. Here is his first paragraph:” Out of an abundance of caution I am strongly encouraging that in-person worship services for congregations located in counties identified as being in critical or dangerous statuses related to the COVID-19 pandemic be suspended until further notice. I fully recognize that this means worshiping physically apart from one another during the Thanksgiving and Advent seasons, including Christmas Eve, funerals, weddings, and other large group gatherings but I believe this is the most responsible action at this time to preserve the health and well-being of our laity and clergy.”
This means that we will continue to pause our in-person worship for the time being. We are still able to offer our small group settings and look toward what God is going to do through and for us.
What is in person at the Veterans Dr Elkhorn Hills Campus:
Small Groups including Men’s and Women’s Bible Study, Knit and Sew, Grace Sunday School, Thursday Men’s Fellowship, Monthly Prayer Group, and Triple G Youth Group. Contact your group leader if you have any questions.
Our worship teams will continue to meet to record online service.
We will continue to have drive-thru and drive-in events.
Preschool & PDO Classes
How do the statistics impact our church?
We utilize many variables in considering the transition of our church during this COVID-19 season. An encouraging variable has been the wonderful response of our congregation and the ways you have offered extreme hospitality to one another through social distancing, hygiene, and masking. Thank you!
Percent of positive test is the biggest statistical benchmark for us. We need four weeks of decrease in this area to move fully into phase three, the biggest effect of this will be increasing the size of small groups allowed to meet in the church from 10 to 25. Likewise, we will utilize this benchmark when deciding when to pause in person worship. Each Friday we will offer an assessment of where we are; if we have two straight weeks of 14% or higher positive tests we will pause in-person worship. Additionally, in person worship will pause if Elkhorn Public School (EPS) moves to online only classes–allowing the transition team and church council to assess risk and make a wise decision regarding large gatherings.
While tests are still above 3% positive, we encourage those who are at high risk to stay home and use our digital services to connect in worship. Numbers are considered “high” and we encourage extreme caution when tests are at 10-13.9% positive. Reminder: we will pause in-person worship at two weeks of 14% positivity rate and consider closing the Elkhorn Hills campus.
Preschool and Small Groups that meet in the church are structured differently from large gatherings, like worship, in terms of risk. A pause in worship will not necessarily precipitate a pause in small groups or in preschool classes.
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Our mailing address is:
Elkhorn Hills United Methodist Church
20227 Veterans Drive
Elkhorn, NE 68022