Plan to Restart Public Worship

Dear members and friends of St. Paul’s,

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience…. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:12-15)

We have all gone through a time that none of us have experienced before with the COVID-19 Pandemic. When our school shut down and our in-person services stopped in March, who would have thought it would be months before we opened again.

But the time has come for us to take the next step to start in-person worship services. Our Board of Elders met last week to come up with a plan to start those services up again. They spent a considerable amount of time to put this plan together. The plan that they wrote follows this opening letter. We encourage everyone to read through this document completely. As this plan is implemented, there will be things that need to be adjusted. We realize that some will be here for our first service, while others will still feel hesitant for a while. That is okay. As we work through this process we want to encourage everyone to be patient with one another.

Beginning on Sunday, June 7th, we will begin to worship in church. For the first weeks, we will have services on Sundays only. There will not be a Monday evening service at first. The Sunday services will be at 8:00 am & 10:00 am. These times are slightly different from our normal summer schedule. The slightly longer time in between the services will allow the church to be wiped down and cleaned before the 10:00 am service. 

Communion will not be celebrated on Sunday mornings during the month of June. We will celebrate the Lord’s Supper on Saturday, June 13th. When Communion was celebrated on a Saturday and Sunday mornings a few weeks ago, it worked very well. You can access the sign-up on the front page of our website or you can call the office or me, and we will be glad to get you into a time slot. If that schedule fills up, we can add more time slots on that Saturday morning. As always, an appointment can be made with me anytime to receive communion anytime.

Worship service information will be placed on the screens, and not in a bulletin. We will do this for a while to avoid people handling the bulletins. Hymnals, Bibles and Friendship Registers will be removed from each pew.

In order to practice social distancing, we will be asking everyone sit in every other pew. We strongly encourage people to wear masks to church, but they won’t be required. We will have masks available at church for anyone who needs one.

We also ask that if you wish to socialize with each other following our services, please do it outside instead of in the narthex of church.

Worship services will still be available online. However, they will be one of the Sunday services which will be recorded that morning. We are planning to have that service posted later on Sunday for those who wish to view them at home on our website, Facebook and YouTube pages. 

I also thank all who have continued to support the ministry of St. Paul’s financially. It has been nothing short of incredible what people are giving to support our ministry. Our offerings continue to be above this time last year and above our current budget needs. I want to thank every one of you from the bottom of my heart for remembering the Lord’s work here at St. Paul’s. I would encourage you to continue to do so.

Together, we will continue to move forward in this changed world. Together, the message of Jesus will continue to go out to the Franklin area and the world. I look forward to seeing you again in church. May God bless each of you.

In our Savior’s name,

Pastor Brian Adams

Guidelines for Return to Worship

St. Paul's Board of Elders

I. Purpose:

The purpose of this document is to prepare a plan for the re-establishing worship services (post Safe at Home Order) beginning on 07Jun20, at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Franklin Wisconsin. Although the building was closed, the church remained open with on line worship. The chosen date will allow the sanctuary, narthex, and common areas of the church facility to be cleaned in preparation for services.

On 13May20, the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision negated the extension of the Safe at Home Order. On 19May20 the city of Franklin allowed its Emergency Health Order #1 to expire at the end of 21May20, without further extension. It is important for this congregation to be aware of what restrictions apply to us, so we may evangelically apply biblical principals in keeping with the Fourth Commandment, as we seek to honor the Third Commandment.

All members of the congregation realize that we have many different opinions or comfort levels on this subject. Christians can be in disagreement in matters of adiaphora (those things that God has neither commanded nor forbidden). When dealing with different opinions and comfort levels, the Christian practices patience, understanding, support, and forgiveness in their heart.

We also understand that the virus is still alive and active. These guidelines will assist us to make every effort to keep people safe and healthy. These guidelines will be followed as the Council of St. Paul’s or Board of Elders (BOE) deem necessary.

II. Planning

   A. Responsibilities:

  1. The Council and BOE are responsible for monitoring and incorporating government orders and guidance.
  2. The Council and BOE are responsible for coordinating with local health authorities and law enforcement.
  3. The Council and BOE are responsible for providing leaders, staff, and volunteers with personal protective equipment (PPE) while servicing.
  4. The BOE are responsible to establish protocols for physical distancing before, during, and after services, including seating arrangements, modified worship practices and dismissal procedures.
  5. BOE to continue offering online worship options for those who are sick, higher risk, have been exposed to a coronavirus (COVID-19) patient within the last 14 days or are otherwise uncomfortable gathering in person.
  6. The BOE to establish isolation protocols should a staff member volunteer or attendee become ill at our facility.
  7. The BOE to minimize the use of printed or hand-held materials such as bulletins, hymnals, bibles, and friendship registers.
  8. The BOE to establish an ad hoc committee of volunteers for cleaning the facility
   B. Plan Scope:
  1. Clean and disinfect the sanctuary, narthex, and common areas before the initial service and schedule a weekly cleaning thereafter.

  2. Do not share equipment or materials used for worship services such as microphones, bulletins, offering plates, friendship registers, etc.

  3. Minimize areas of your building(s) being used during services and gathering to minimize disinfecting needs.

  4. Block off unused areas of your building(s), such as meeting rooms, hallways to the school, the mail box area, crying room in the sanctuary, while recognizing they maybe a fire exit route(s).

  5. Designate one in and one out protocol for tight spaces.

  6. Establish frequency and processes for enhanced cleaning and disinfecting commonly used areas (pews, rest rooms, and door handles) after each service.

  7. Communication plan

III. Building Care:

   A. Building Inspection

  1. Conduct a though facility inspection or walk through to check on the safety of the building before it is reopened.

  2. Restart mechanical and electrical systems including lighting, HVAC, sound/video and organ.

  3. Check for rodent/pest activity or infestations.

  4. Address overgrowth and other issues stemming from building vacancy as needed.

  5. Flush hot and cold water through out all points, including bathrooms and kitchen areas.

  6. Address any slip, trip, or fall hazards.

   B. Building Cleaning

  1. Initial cleaning of the church shall be scheduled on 06Jun20 at 9:00 am.

  2. Thoroughly clean and disinfect the narthex, sanctuary, bathrooms, hallways, and kitchen areas before reopening and weekly cleaning thereby afterwards.

  3. Ensure cleaning supplies and disinfectant have been ordered and are on hand.

  4. Make hand sanitizer or hand-wipes available throughout the building.

  5. During initial cleaning period, block off pews and chairs to establish proper social distances.

  6. During the initial cleaning period, remove hymnal, friendship registers, and bibles from the pews.

  7. Organists shall clean and disinfect the piano and organ areas of the sanctuary.

   C. Supplies

  1. Disinfecting agents for your facility.

  2. Hand sanitizer for staff, volunteers, and worship attendees.

  3. Masks and latex gloves for staff, volunteers and worship attendees.

  4. Face coverings for worship attendees. Masks are recommended but not required.

    D. Communication

  1. Prior to reopening, communicate plans via multiple channels such as email, website, social media, phone calls, etc.

  2. Communicate the plan to make it available to members and non-members alike.

  3. Update the plan and share details of the plan as circumstances change.

  4. Reinforce messaging that persons who are ill, or higher risk should continue worshiping remotely.

  5. Initial Sunday worship service to resume 07Jun20 at 8:00 am and 10:00am with no Monday night service until further notice.

  6. Establish Saturday morning communion with on line sign up.

  7. Continue on line worship

  8. No bulletins will be handled out before the service. Order of worship to be projected onto screens in the sanctuary. Weekly announcements shall be distributed via E mail. Printed copies of weekly announcements to be placed on counter top in the narthex for those without e mail addresses.

  9. Offerings can be placed into the “tower” before or after the service.

  10. The training of additional ushers’ duties.

  11. The initial cleaning of the church on -06Jun20 at 9:00 am.

   E. Instructional Materials

  1. Develop on-site instructional materials such as signs or projected images to generate awareness of new protocols and procedures.

  2. Directions to aid the flow of people and vehicles.

  3. Information on physical distancing and face coverings.

  4. Messaging to stay home if sick.

  5. Importance of hand washing and hygiene practices.

   F. Training

  1. Train staff, leaders, ushers, and volunteers on established plans and protocols for worship services and gatherings.

  2. Addressing high(er) risk individuals that arrive or those presenting signs of illness.

  3. Maintaining physical distance requirement among those who attend.

  4. Understand cleaning and disinfecting procedures, as well as the supplies used.

IV. Implementation:

   A. Before Services

  1. Disinfect the worship areas.

  2. Disinfect worship materials such as microphones and music stand if used.

  3. Disinfect restrooms, flat surfaces in the narthex, and other common areas.

  4. Replenish disinfecting and covering supplies.


   B. During the Service

  1. At entrances, prop doors open (weather permitting), applying admission criteria and provide hand sanitizer.

  2. Remind members of not to shake hands.

   C. After the Service

  1. Dismiss attendees from back to front.

  2. Disinfect worship areas.

  3. Disinfect worship materials such as microphones and music stand if used.

  4. Disinfect restrooms, flat surfaces in the narthex, and other common areas such as doors, light switches, chairs, etc.

  5. Provide hand sanitizer and new PPE to those that have post-service responsibilities.

  6. Place offering “tower” in a visible location in the narthex.

St. Paul’s Board of Elders
Jacque Vallier, Chairman
Steve Baade
Bob Hille
Karl Hassler
Tobin Kallies

Download the Plan