Church Council News
Review of Reopening LCC
We are technically ready to reopen
Reopening the First Congregational Church of Leverett (LCC) has been in the planning stages for months. The main issue has always been health concerns regarding Covid transmission. Reopening is controlled by both regulatory authority of the Commonwealth and our own sense of self preservation. The current regulatory situation is reported as follows:
“Baker also announced the state will rescind its mask mandate on May 29
and replace it with an advisory that generally mirrors the recently updated
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, saying that people
who are fully vaccinated — meaning two weeks past their last required
dose of a COVID-19 vaccine — can safely resume normal activities,
indoors or outdoors, without wearing a mask or physically distancing.
As of May 29, the state will still require a mask for everyone — regardless
of their vaccination status — in nursing homes, health care settings,
schools, child care centers, ride-sharing services, taxis, and public
transportation systems, including train stations, bus stops, and airports
(both riders and employees).
However, only unvaccinated individuals will be asked to wear face
coverings in other indoor public settings and when they can’t socially
distance outside.” Boston,com, May 17
We are now in position for the fully vaccinated to resume church attendance at LCC. We will issue our own guidance concerning masks and hand washing and sanitizers. The Covid pandemic resulted in in-church attendance being suspended at LCC. We were fortunate that Pastor Lee Barstow was knowledgeable in online meeting protocols and led us into Zoom meetings. We have met since March 2020 online using the Zoom program. An outgrowth of adopting Zoom online is that LCC Sunday services reached a geographically diverse audience. Some of the attendees are
joining in from great distances, others are unable to travel because of health concerns, not necessarily linked to Covid. Our Church Council, looking forward to the time when we could physically meet again did not want to abandon our new parishioners who can only attend online and has taken action to open hybrid services.
The Council has taken the following steps to implement hybrid services. The church building has been connected to the internet. Audio and video equipment plus software has been purchased and installed with additional wiring as needed. The choir has experimented with recording, and that product has been part of several services. Rich Connelly and several other members of the Council have spent time to sort out the limitations and technical problems of implementing a hybrid service with Zoom. We think that we will soon be able to begin in-church services. Stay tuned.
Charlie Paulin, Church Council