Updated Guidance for In-Person Worship & Gatherings

As of May 15, 2022: No new restrictions or relaxations of current protocols. Masks continue to be required indoors during worship and in common areas of the building.


Contents:

Worship

In-person worship resumed on July 4, 2021 and was paused between January 2 and February 13, 2022. As of February 20, 2022, we are proceeding with the following safety protocols:

  1. Please pre-register your attendance here to assist with the planning, as well as for contacting tracing purposes.

  2. Masks must be worn by everyone 2+, regardless of vaccination status. Well-fitting respirator masks, such as an N95 or KN95, are strongly recommended and available upon request. (The only exception is the pastor and liturgist, who must be fully vaccinated and remain at least 12 feet away from congregants.)

  3. If you have Covid-19 symptoms (such as cough, congestion, fever or chills, lost of taste or smell, body aches, shortness of breath or sore throat), or within the last two weeks have tested positive for COVID-19 or been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, please stay home and access the worship service via livestream.

  4. Enter through the sanctuary doors (corner of Hopkins/Napa)

  5. Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance

  6. Nursery care (ages 0-3) will be offered beginning at 9:45am. After the children's message, children will be invited to Godly Play (pre-K to 5th grade) and Youth (6th-12th grade) will be invited to Youth Group.

  7. Bulletins: Access the digital bulletin here. A very limited number of printed copies will be available in the narthex.

  8. Tithes & Offerings: Donate online at www.EpworthBerkeley.org/donate; Mail a check to Epworth at 1953 Hopkins St., Berkeley, CA 94707. After worship, you may also place your offering in the plate located in the narthex.

  9. Ventilation: The Epworth sanctuary is equipped with two 42inch fans which circulate external air flow from the sanctuary entrance and out through the attic.

  10. Holy Communion: We will celebrate Holy Communion on the first Sunday of the month. Individually packaged communion cups containing a wafer and grape juice can be picked up in the narthex/lobby on your way in to worship. If you are worshiping via the livestream, please have a piece of bread or cracker and juice or water ready. In-person worshippers will be invited to partake of their communion elements outside as part of the sending forth from worship.

  11. Coffee/Fellowship on the Front Lawn: Following worship, everyone is invited to the Hopkins Street grassy area for cofffee, tea and light refreshments, as well as special music for a time to chat and reconnect. (No food or drink permitted indoors.)

Livestream Worship will continue. Tune in every Sunday at 10am to participate:

Small Group Gatherings: Group Discernment for Acceptable Risk

Effective May 8, 2022: Epworth small group gatherings (which includes older adult ministries, committees and other church-sponsored ministries) of fully-vaccinated persons may hold their meetings at Epworth indoors and may remove masks in their meeting place given that all of the conditions are met:

  • Group is not open to the general public*

  • Group is limited in size to no more than 100 people

  • Group is limited in access to the same, regularly gathering group*

Additionally, groups must identify a protocol leader who will be responsible for:

  • Confidentially verifying that the small group wants to proceed under the new principle which allows masks to be removed if conditions are met, being intentional in including everyone who wants to participate

  • Ensuring that the group adheres to these protocols

  • Verifying the UP-TO-DATE VACCINATION status** of group members (See City of Berkeley Guidance)

  • Maintaining a list for contact tracing purposes that identifies the names, dates, times of entry and exit of everyone who enters the indoor space

  • Maintaining six feet of social distancing between individuals/households when unmasked.

  • Posting signs promoting self-assessment for symptoms (see document below)

  • Ensuring that no one entering has fever, cough, congestion, nausea, headache, runny nose, muscle aches or any other COVID-19 symptoms

  • Communicating to church office that the protocol has been activated, naming the protocol leader and their contact information. Protocol leaders need not submit the information they have collected.

*We know that some groups are open to new persons. In these cases, a new person can either be asked by the group’s designated protocol leader to show their vaccination card and ID, or the group can revert to masking for that gathering.


**The City of Berkeley defines UP-TO-DATE vaccination status as "boosted when eligible" (their record shows a booster dose or it has been less than 5 months since their 2nd dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or 2 months ago since their single-dose of J&J vaccine. See Guidance)


Masks must continue to be worn in common areas of the building and during high risk activities, including singing, or in mixed vaccinated/unvaccinated settings. Wind instrument rehearsals/performances remain suspended.

202202 City of Berkeley Required COVID19 Signage
.pdf
Download PDF • 1.83MB

Building Access

  • Only use the Hopkins Street entrance. (Construction workers use the Napa Street entrance.)

  • Sign in and sign out.

  • Hand sanitizer is available in the lobby.

  • All in-person gatherings/activities should be scheduled in advance with the church office.

  • Masks must be worn indoors by everyone, regardless of vaccination status, in common areas of the building.

Children and Youth Ministries

Church Office Hours

Volunteer Church Hosts are available to assist you Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Merrie Bunt, Director of Communications and Building Operations, will continue to work remotely on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and be in the office Thursdays and Fridays. Please email or call the church in advance so that we can be prepared to best meet your needs.


Contact Tracing

If Epworth is notified that an employee, vendor, worshipper or other visitor has tested positive for covid-19 (which should be done by contacting the church office or Pastor Kristin), we will follow CDC and Cal/OSHA guidance related to contact tracing and notification.


External Building Users/Renters

Groups with prior building use agreements or a previous relationship with Epworth may apply for a new building use agreement. Please indicate your desired meeting days, times and locations for meetings to resume in June 2022 or later here: https://airtable.com/shrYJMXdIpDtXBTv4


Building users/tenants without a previous relationship with Epworth with be considered on a case by case basis as capacity and schedule allows. You may request meeting space here: https://airtable.com/shrsNRhO1JNZVTbH8


Food & Drink

Small group gatherings operating under the "Group Discernment for Acceptable Risk" protocol may consume food and drink indoors, though eating and drinking outdoors is encouraged. For all other gatherings including coffee hour, no food or drink should be consumed indoors.


Further Communications

Additional guidance will be share weekly in This Week at Epworth. Please subscribe to our email list here.


Previous Guidance

In-person Worship guidance (effective from 7/4/21-12/31/21)

1. Please pre-register your attendance here to assist with the planning, as well as for contacting tracing purposes.

2. Safety protocols

As an expression of love and care for everyone in our community, in particular the most vulnerable among us, please observe the following safety protocols:

  • Masks must be worn by everyone 2+, regardless of vaccination status. (Pastors and liturgists/speakers who are fully vaccinated may be unmasked, but must be 12 feet away from congregants.)

  • Enter through the sanctuary doors (corner of Hopkins/Napa)

  • Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance

  • Ushers will direct you to a pew that allows for 6ft physical distancing between individuals/households/pods. (Consider arriving a bit early and entering before 10am to give our ushers time to accommodate you.)

  • Nursery care (ages 0-3) will be offered beginning at 9:45am. After the children's message, children will be invited to Godly Play (pre-K to 5th grade). Youth group (5th-12th grade) will be led by Sarah Bruno.

  • If you have a fever, flu-like symptoms, or within the last two weeks have tested positive for COVID-19 or been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, please stay home and access the worship service via livestream.

3. Music and singing

Epworth is a singing, musical congregation. It is one of our strengths and joys. Not being able to sing or make music together has been one of the hardest parts about being separated due to the pandemic. As we return to the sanctuary, we will be able to make music together. Our Do No Harm team has sought to balance our need and desire to sing together with health and safety concerns. Beginning November 28, 2021 The choir may resume sitting together in the choir loft with some social distancing and masking, but can lead us in signing and other music. Congregational singing throughout the service will return.

4. Nursery, Godly Play and Youth Group

Nursery care (ages 0-3) will be available from 9:45 until the conclusion of worship.

Children (pre-k to 5th grade) will be dismissed to Godly Play after the children’s time. Parents will meet children at Hopkins entry after the conclusion of worship.

Youth group (6th -12 grade) re-commenced on July 18.

5. Bulletins: Access the digital bulletin here.

A very limited number of printed copies will be available in the narthex.

6. Tithes & Offerings

Donate online at www.EpworthBerkeley.org/donate

Text-to-Give: Text the dollar amount you wish to give to 1-833-276-7680.

Mail a check to Epworth at 1953 Hopkins St., Berkeley, CA 94707.

After worship, you may also place your offering in the plate located in the narthex.

7. Fellowship on the Front Lawn

Following worship, everyone is invited to the Hopkins Street grassy area for special music and time to chat and reconnect. (Coffee/tea and food service will be paused beginning 12/26/2021 for the duration of wintery weather. (No food or drink permitted indoors.)

8. Ventilation

The Epworth sanctuary is equipped with two 42inch fans which circulate external air flow from the sanctuary entrance and out through the attic.

9. Holy Communion

We will celebrate Holy Communion on the first Sunday of the month. Individually packaged communion cups containing a wafer and grape juice can be picked up in the narthex/lobby on your way in to worship. If you are worshiping via the livestream, please have a piece of bread or cracker and juice or water ready.