A Message for Emory Fellowship Congregants and Visitors
Located in the historic Brightwood community of Washington, D.C., the Emory Fellowship’s vision is to serve our community such that people lead WHOLE lives. We are dedicated to spreading the teachings of Jesus Christ in alignment with the joys, trials and challenges of contemporary life. For the better part of 2020, nothing has presented Emory with operational and administrative challenges like the COVID-19 global pandemic. Worship services have been virtualized. Mission, music, youth and other ministries have adapted to changed conditions. And, church leaders and staff have found new and creative ways to ensure administrative continuity in rapidly evolving situations. As we maneuver through these precarious times, Emory will continue to find creative ways to keep our congregants, ministries, Brightwood and the larger community engaged.

One of the additional challenges we face from the pandemic is developing, communicating, and implementing an orderly Emory Fellowship Reopening Plan that reflects our values. We long to have worship and fellowship together. However, we must do so prayerfully by putting health and safety at the forefront of our decisions. For this reason, the Emory Fellowship Executive Board
convened a Reopening Task Force on May 27, 2020 to develop reopening guidance. The Task Force is composed of Emory members with backgrounds in medicine, law, education and other disciplines, and is chaired by Nicole Mitchell. Task Force recommendations have been reviewed by the Board, and are now being communicated to our congregants, visitors, and community partners. It is our prayerful hope that the guidance herein will keep our Emory family informed on key reopening issues throughout the pandemic and guide the Fellowship in continuing WHOLEness under conditions that remain healthy and safe for everyone.

How was the Emory reopening plan designed?

The Emory Fellowship’s Reopening Task Force held meetings in August-September 2020 to develop reopening policies and guidance. Special emphasis has been placed on reopening in a manner that is safe, and that will minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Although the COVID-19 research is still evolving, the Task Force has followed COVID-19 response protocols published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church, and the District of Columbia government. As a result, the Task Force has developed a four-phase plan that all ministries can utilize to safely reopen.

Will we be updated regarding the status of Emory’s phases?

Each phase will be communicated regularly (website, CCB email, Facebook, YouTube, etc.) to all congregants and ministries.

What will I need to do when the Emory Fellowship reopens?

Across all phases of reopening, clergy, staff, volunteers, congregants and visitors must be
educated and encouraged to practice the following:

  • Any individual experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or recently exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19, must not work in or visit a place of worship due to the risk of exposing others. Symptoms of COVID-19 may include: fever (subjective or 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit), chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea or otherwise feeling unwell.

  • Practice social distancing. Stay at least 6 feet from other people.

  • You must wear a cloth face covering/mask at all times while at church.

    • If you are unable to wear a cloth face covering/mask, consider virtual services.

    • Masks are not required for children under two.

  • Avoid shaking hands and other physical contact with people outside of your household.

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of the elbow. Used tissues must be thrown in the trash and hands washed.

  • Gloves must be worn only as indicated per routine facility responsibilities (e.g., serving communion, handling food).

  • Perform frequent hand hygiene (with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub). If you are able, carry personal sized containers of hand-sanitizer with you at all times. Key times to perform hand hygiene include:

    • Before and after using the toilet.

    • Before and after putting on, touching or removing cloth face coverings.

    • Before and after handling any shared objects (i.e. books, bibles).

    • After handling other people’s belongings.

    • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

    • After departing services or events at the church.

What is the plan if a congregant becomes sick or is exposed to COVID-19?

  • Identify an area to separate anyone who exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 during hours of operation, and Emory will ensure that children are not left without adult supervision.

  • Anyone who becomes sick with COVID symptoms should be transported to their home or a healthcare facility in a timely fashion. These individuals should be tested for COVID-19 at their local health department or by their primary care provider.

  • Local health officials will be notified if a person with COVID-19 has been at the Emory Fellowship and Emory will communicate with staff and congregants about potential exposure while maintaining confidentiality.

  • Those who have been exposed to a person diagnosed with COVID-19 should stay home, self-monitor for symptoms, and follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.

  • Emory will close off areas used by the sick person and prohibit use of the area until after cleaning and disinfection has occurred.

  • Staff and congregants with symptoms of COVID-19 or who have tested positive for COVID-19 should not to return to the Emory Fellowship building until they have met CDC’s criteria to discontinue home isolation.

  • Activities will be suspended until a safety determination has been made by the Reopening Task Force in consultation with appropriate local health, or other officials. Virtual activities will be recommended until the safety determination is made.

Download the PDF here

©2018 by The Emory Fellowship.