Church Policy for Reopening

Church Policy for Reopening


In accordance with government guidelines, the Deacons have instituted the following policy.

A Policy Addressing Religious and Faith-based Organization COVID-19 Requirements

The State of Washington has established specific requirements for Religious and Faith-Based Organizations as outlined in Governor Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Proclamation 20-25. The services covered in these operational guidelines include all worship services, religious study classes, religious ceremonies, religious holiday celebrations, weddings, and funerals.

St. James has established a plan which incorporates protections and protocols included in Washington State’s specific guidance applicable to religious organizations and religious gatherings. St James Lutheran Church’s COVID-19 Preparedness Plan describes how the Church will, under the supervision of an appointed COVID-19 Supervisor, implement the following:

  1. monitor the health of employees and enforce the COVID-19 safety plan, a comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control, mitigation and recovery plan.
  2. educate staff, attendees, or visitors about coronavirus, how to prevent transmission, the church’s COVID-19 policies, and the importance of self testing for COVID-19 symptoms prior to attending religious services or gathering.
  3. screen staff for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 at the start of every shift.
  4. educate attendees and visitors about the church’s COVID-19 policies and request employees, members, and visitors to take their temperature before attending a service. Any individual with a temperature of 100.4°F will not be permitted to attend the services and/or gatherings.
  5. ensure that all employees, members, and visitors in attendance shall wear face coverings before, during, and after the service (whether indoor or outdoor).

Action. Pastor Jenson and Deacon Poe have been assigned the duties of monitoring, informing staff and attendees of the forgoing requirements.

We emphasize the importance of self testing as noted in paragraph 2 above.

We ask that each person supply their own mask. In case of necessity, there is a small supply of masks on site.

  1. keep a log of attendees at each service or counseling session, and to retain that log for at least two weeks.

Action. Communion attendance is already kept.  Added to that will be a record of non-communicant attendees.  A poster will be posted near the guest book and

  1. ensure that a written copy of the safety plan is posted conspicuously indoors and outdoors.

Action. Deacons Selin and Poe have been assigned to prepare and post the safety plan.

  1. ensure that disinfectants are available and cleaning supplies are frequently replenished.  We will have sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer.

Action. Deacon Hellwig has been assigned to this task.

  1. ensure that a maximum capacity of up to 25% capacity or 50 individuals, whichever is less, (excluding organization staff) is not exceeded.
  2. ensure that in-home services or counseling inside a person’s residence is limited to 5 total individuals
  3. Ensure social distancing, maintaining minimum six-foot separation between all persons at all times.

Action. Blue tape will be on the floor to direct traffic flow.

Ensure safe access to the building, safe traffic flow to maintain social distancing and maintain six feet of space between the congregation’s seats or have physical barriers between them. Members of the same household may be seated together as a single unit.

Action. Blue tape will be on the floor to direct traffic flow and for spatial indicators.

  1. educate staff, attendees, and visitor on locations of hygiene products, proper sanitation, and ensure frequent and adequate hand washing . Use single use disposable gloves. Soap and running water shall be abundantly provided at locations for frequent handwashing.

Action. Pastor Jenson and Deacon Poe are assigned to this task.

  1. ensure access to restrooms and limited to no more than 2 people at a time.  Individuals waiting to use the restroom must maintain a six foot distancing.
  1. implement facility ventilation protocols during services and increase ventilation rates where feasible.

Action.The overhead fans will be on and select windows opened.  The doors on the East side of the building may be opened.

  1. implement weekly facility cleaning and weekly disinfecting protocols and ensure that tissues and trashcans are placed throughout the location (indoor and outdoor).

Action. Pastor Jenson, Deacon Poe and Tommy Donahue will be assigned the cleaning. Volunteers to assist will be welcomed.

  1. ensure cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces after each use— using soapy water, followed by the appropriate disinfectants.

Action. The Bible study hour will be recessed for cleaning and sanitizing.  Pastor Jenson, Deacon Poe and Tommy Donahue will be the cleaning crew. Volunteers to assist  will be welcomed.

  1. provide additional protections and protocol for social distancing including barriers or floor marking.

Action. Blue tape on the floor will indicate traffic flow and define barriers.

  1. ensure that personal protective equipment (PPE) is available for staff, attendees or visitors. A facial covering must be worn by every individual.

Action. We ask that people bring their own mask  but we will have masks and gloves available as needed.

  1. ensure that no choirs shall perform during the service. Singing is permitted, but individuals must not remove their face coverings to sing – it must stay on for the duration of the service.
  1. Ensure regular cleaning of religious apparel.

Action. Vestments will be stored in garment bags for the week between services.

  1. limit face-to-face interaction between staff and attendees.

Action. There will be no handshakes after service.  We will instead use the nod of peace.  The nod of peace is the right hand over the chest and a slight head nod towards the person, this can be done at the six foot distancing requirement.

  1. provide protections for receiving or exchanging payment.

Action. The offering plates will not be passed pew to pew. A donation station will be set up in the back of the building.

  1. provide protections for receiving religious sacraments.

Action. There may be no direct physical contact between servers and members or visitors. Anything to be consumed may not be presented to the members or visitors in a communal container or plate.  A no contact distributor for the host will be used, the host will be placed in disposable cupcake papers.  The wine will be distributed in the individual cups, poured by a contactless distribution device.

 Note. Members that are not comfortable attending in person remain at home until such time as they deem it safe to attend. We will continue to post the bulletin and sermons online.

Click here if you would like to download a copy of this policy.



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