Published on: 6/20/2020
Dear St. Lukers,
St. Luke’s Campus Reopening Task Force met yesterday in response to the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in Florida and Orange County, as well as the Mayor’s decision to create an executive order requiring face coverings in public. While we see constant changes in virus confirmations and information, St. Luke’s commitment to your health and safety remains our top priority.
Upon evaluation of data from the Orange County Health Department, the daily positivity rate percentage has moved from hovering around 5-6% over the last weeks to raising over the last three days to 15% on Friday. The average median age is also on a downtrend, meaning the average age has shifted to not only affect grandparents but now moving toward the ages of parents and caregivers of our children and youth.
The Task Force has requested we hold on moving to the first phase of hosting small in-person groups on campus until there is more consistent trend data. In the meantime, the Task Force and Directors will meet with two different healthcare providers on Tuesday to gain more information. The first meeting will be a walk-through of our facility to ensure spacing, sanitation, and ventilation are correct to provide the safest conditions possible. The second will be a meeting with a data analytics specialist who will provide further information on trends to watch. We will utilize information from these meetings as well as an agreed-upon dashboard of metrics to continue evaluating operating decisions for our church and outreach to the community.
Questions can be submitted to the Task Force by clicking here. We are grateful for your patience and understanding as we move through these times and we encourage you to pray for one another and take care of yourself and those around you.
With Hope and Healing,
St. Luke’s Campus Reopening Task Force
Katy Slack Chair, Church Council
Jim Atchison, Vice Chair, Church Council
Jon Crump, Chair, SPR
Debby Zutter, Chair, Trustees
Warren Willis, Co-Lay Leader
Yvette Desrosiers-Alphonse, Co-Lay Leader
Phyllis Van Dyke Thompson, Church Council member
Janet Burnley, St. Luke’s member
Jennifer Stiles Williams, Scooter Leonard, Dawn Fleming, Melissa Cooper, Steve Schneeberger
Published on: 6/4/2020
St. Luke’s Campus Reopening Task Force, which included staff, lay leaders, chairs of Trustees, Church Council, Staff Parish, and lay leaders from theme parks and local business, created a phased approach to engaging ministry on St. Luke’s campus. The Task Force’s recommendations were shared with Church Council on June 2, 2020.
The phased approach was created with the grounding of:
- St. Luke’s Core Values: Christ-centered Love lived out in Acceptance, Hospitality, Community, Discipleship, Service
- The three General Rules of the Methodist Church: Do no harm, Do good, Attend to the ordinances of God
- St. Luke’s COVID-19 Priorities: Safety and health, Connection and care, Financial strength and support
The recommendations help create a roadmap for staff and leaders to slowly and cautiously begin to offer on-campus ministry in addition to continuing ministries online. Precautions from resources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) include:
- Utilizing face coverings
- Washing/sanitizing hands frequently
- Providing additional hand sanitizing stations
- Maintaining social distancing including seating in venues
- Increasing sanitation practices after every gathering
- Disinfecting areas of campus daily between noon – 2:00 p.m. and nightly
These precautions will be part of our new social covenant with one another.
In early May, St. Luke’s solicited feedback on reopening campus by sending out a church-wide survey. The survey responses from St. Lukers were used in addition to other resources in preparing the phased reopening plan.
On Monday, June 8, St. Luke’s staff members will begin returning to work on campus as needed in a staggered schedule. We will continue to encourage our most vulnerable staff to telework and those on campus will practice our new precautions of face coverings in common areas, social distancing, continued online meetings, and using new sanitation equipment and protocols.
St. Luke’s first public phase will begin after the June 15 guideline from the Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and approximately 2-3 weeks after the first theme park opens. This first phase will include:
- Opening the church office for limited hours by appointment only
- Opening the Sanctuary during specific weekday hours for private worship
- Welcoming small groups of 15 or less to gather on campus
You will notice signage about St. Luke’s new campus protocols at the entrance to each building.
It is important to note that St. Luke’s phases are subject to change. Each slow, strategic phase of reopening will begin approximately 2-3 weeks after the prior phase and about 1 stage behind state and county guidelines. With each subsequent phase, there will be added numbers and hours to the maximum capacity. Any spikes or concerning rise in rate of positivity will be used to revise and postpone the movement to the next phases.
We all want to know more about returning to on-campus worship, so members of the Campus Reopening Task Force have compiled resources and information to consider:
- Arranging on-campus gathering spaces (worship venues, classrooms, etc.) in keeping with social distancing guidelines greatly reduces capacity
- Reservation systems, asking communities to stay home and not participate, and the limitation of contact, diminishes our core values and what we hold dear about worship at St. Luke’s
- Research confirms singing and congregational singing spreads the virus more forcefully than speaking conversationally.
- University of Wisconsin-Stout Article
- COVID-19 and Singing: scientific research and contrary opinions
- The National Association of Teachers of Singing, the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Chorus America, Barbershop Harmony Society, and Performing Arts Medical Association (PAMA) webinar.
St. Luke’s current online worship enables us to gather with the most people possible, utilize more people to represent St. Luke’s diversity, utilize musicians and singers without limitation, allowing you, your family, friends, and those who are new to St. Luke’s to fully sing, participate, and connect from anywhere in the world. Our goal is to continue to upgrade our ability to offer online worship and help you connect to worship together in neighborhoods or small groups.
For these reasons, we will not begin to gather for corporate worship on Sundays until the last phase. In Phase 2A, we will host designated times for you to gather privately in the Sanctuary throughout the week with liturgy, scripture, prayers, and pre-recorded music. We know sacred space is important and this may be helpful for your personal worship discipline. Days and times will be shared as we enter Phase 2A.
We will continue to update you as we move into each phase. Click here for an overview of St. Luke’s Campus Reopening Phases.
St. Luke’s is developing policies and procedures including this permission form for Children’s and Youth Ministries. These guidelines along with St. Luke’s phased Campus Reopening Plan are being reviewed by Andy Gardiner, Sr. Vice President for External Affairs and Community Relations at Orlando Health and Dr. Donald Plumley, Pediatric Surgeon with Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact St. Luke’s Leadership Team. You will receive a response within a day.
May we always hold true to those who prayer walked St. Luke’s campus forty years ago before there were any buildings. May our number one concern be to uphold the sacred worth and value of every person who steps on these grounds physically, emotionally, and spiritually in the name of Jesus Christ.