Central’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Following guidance from the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ (SNEUCC) we ceased in-person worship on March 8, 2020.

WHY?

  • To protect the health of our congregation
  • In person worship is one of the riskiest activities because speaking, singing, and praying propel the air-borne particles that carry the virus
  • Many members of our church are among the most vulnerable to COVID 19

Worship Continued Without Interruption

  • Shifted to broadcast worship
  • To date, we have celebrated 37 Sunday worship services of “sacred distancing”
  • Worked continuously to improve the worship experience

Pandemic Task Force

  • Formed over the summer with representatives from church boards and committees
  • Followed the Phasing Forward document of the SNEUCC and monitored local public health conditions
  • Nothing can guarantee safety, so the pastor and Church Council have engaged in constant risk assessment with guidance from the Pandemic Task Force

SNEUCC Phasing Forward Document

  • Five phases based on local public health conditions
  • Base Phase: building completely closed, no in-person activities
  • Phases I-III: gradual increase of in-person activities, assuming widespread community testing, tracing and consistently shrinking cases of COVID
  • Phase IV: widespread availability of an effective vaccine and resumption of all in-person activities

Why Does it Matter?

  • We seek to protect the health of our church family
  • We seek to protect the health of the wider community
  • We seek not to place additional burdens on medical care providers
  • “I came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly” John 10:10b

The Church Never Closed

  • Sunday Worship Broadcast Seen by Over 140 Households Each Week
  • Sunday School Meetings on Zoom and Videos on YouTube
  • Added Friday Worship Preview and Devotional
  • Weekly Saturday Community Breakfast Continued and Added Summer Service
  • Monthly Food Collection Drives for Seven Months
  • Easter Flower Deliveries
  • Phone Calls to Every Church Household by Called to Care
  • Congregational Meeting in May
  • Drive through Chocolate Tour in June
  • Formation of Broadcast Team to Improve Worship
  • Prayer Box Distribution to 200 Households for Rally Day
  • Outdoor In-person Youth Group this Fall
  • Resumption of Saturday Evening Meal Program this Fall
  • Women’s Ministry Weekly Check-In and Prayer
  • Prayer Shawl Knitters Meets Monthly or Bi-Weekly
  • Women’s Ministry Weekly Check-In and Prayer
  • Men’s Group Met for 8 Weeks
  • “Central Reads” Book Group Meets Monthly
  • Monthly Trivia Night
  • Free Little Library Installed Outside on Corner of Pleasant and Titcomb Street
  • Resumption of Chancel Flower Deliveries
  • Installation of Professional Broadcast Equipment
  • Congregational Meeting and Town Hall in November
  • Virtual Christmas Fair and Wreath Sale in December
  • Midweek Worship for Advent
  • Social Hall Painted
  • Jill and Amantha Have Cleaned and Repaired Many Areas of the Building; Jack Has Wound the Clock Weekly
  • Basement Cleaned and Bulkhead Rebuilt
  • Met all State and City Building Inspections
  • Increased Communication from the Church
  • Council and All Committee Meetings Continue Every Month