COVID-19 Precautions at Zion
Zion’s COVID-19 Precautions—Updated April of 2021
The advent of the coronavirus and the subsequent pandemic have created new challenges for Christians and their churches around the world. Zion Lutheran Church is no exception.
Pastor Voltattorni, the Board of Elders, and the Board of Trustees have discussed how best to hold in-person services while protecting those most at risk, the elderly and the medically compromised. In consultation with Zion members in the medical community, they drew up the following procedures and precautions, which continue to be followed at the 9:30 a.m. service:
- The church is professionally cleaned with COVID-appropriate procedures before each worship service.
- Masks (or face shields) are required and must be worn throughout the service. The pastor also wears a mask.
- Everyone enters and leaves the church by a single door, always keeping six feet apart. This door is at the top of the handicapped-accessible ramp off the parking lot.
- Hand sanitizer is administered when individuals enter the church, leave the church, and when they approach the altar for the Lord’s Supper.
- Those attending sit in physically distanced pews. No hymnals are used, and worship folders with the order of service, lessons of the day, and hymns are available in the pews.
- Members approach the altar for the Lord’s Supper in family groups. The pastor, wearing gloves, places the wafer into the communicant’s hand (without contact), and the communicant takes an individual cup with the wine.
In addition to these precautions, an air purification system was added to each of the three existing air conditioning/air handling systems that exist above Zion’s sanctuary. This new system passes the return air through a carbon filter to remove 95% of particles and bioaerosols and then passes the filtered air through a UVA lamp/pure air cartridge. While this new system cannot guarantee elimination of all viruses, it will improve the air quality in the sanctuary throughout the year.
On February 21, 2021, Zion added a second service at 11 a.m. to accommodate those who cannot or prefer not to wear masks. All the procedures of the 9:30 service are followed, with the following exceptions:
- The church is not sanitized between the 9:30 and 11 a.m. services.
- Those attending the 11 a.m. service are asked to enter the church through the door into the Fellowship Hall on the east side of the building (although those who need to use the handicapped-accessible ramp and entrance are still welcome to use it).
- Although masks are worn as people enter and exit the church, masks are optional during the service and may be removed.
- The COVID situation is in flux, and, therefore, it is possible that more changes will be made to this service in future months.
In the early days of the pandemic, Zion had suspended the traditional coffee hour/fellowship time, and members have greatly missed the opportunity to greet each other and talk after the service. So recently we have begun allowing members once again to congregate in the Fellowship Hall, since the room is large, has adequate air flow, and it is possible to physically distance.
Some may find these changes burdensome and unnecessary; others may find them too lax. We respect everyone’s decision regarding attending in-person services. Yet in everything we do, our purpose is to protect the most vulnerable members of our community and to treat each other as we would want to be treated ourselves. So we bear one another’s burdens, keeping in mind the words that St. Peter wrote to first-century Christians who were enduring intense suffering, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:8-9