Posted on: November 23, 2021

November Building Reopen Team update

Dear People of Immanuel,

It has been a while since we’ve provided an update on the building during the pandemic.  At first we were calling it an “unprecedented” time, but after a year and a half that word doesn’t seem to work anymore.  The newness of living in a pandemic has worn off. After all, during this pandemic we have already celebrated one Thanksgiving, one Christmas, and 2 Easters!  So, I am playing with the word “amazing” to describe this time. I am simply amazed at the ways we have learned, adapted and continued to bring God’s message of hope to our communities.  

Some of the things we know:

  • COVID continues
    • Ramsey County is currently in the Very High risk level
    • COVID case numbers in our county and the upper midwest are rising, and are likely to continue increasing as we move activities inside
    • Hospital systems in Minnesota are strained, both in terms of the number of COVID patients requiring hospitalization and a shortage of staff
    • The future of COVID remains unknown and difficult to predict 
  • Outside is safer than inside, but the weather is turning colder
  • Strategies for gathering indoors with people that are effective
    • Vaccinations (including third doses/ boosters for those who qualify)
    • Mask wearing
    • Ventilation 
    • Staying home if you don’t feel well, and getting tested if you experience any symptoms of illness, especially fever, cough, shortness of breath, congestion or loss of taste/smell  This is true for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
  • Vaccinations are safe and effective against severe illness, and vaccination is now available for ages 5 and up.  We should remember that while vaccines are the very best layer of protection we have, people who are vaccinated can still become sick and potentially spread the virus.

For now, Immanuel is staying the course in Phase 3, Step D of the building reopen plan.  The Building Reopen Team is watching the current situation, however, and we are prepared to take a step back if the situation requires more restrictions.

Currently: 

  • 100-person max for worship in the Sanctuary
    • New! Windows will be cracked open to allow fresh airflow, even on cold days; bring a sweater or your coat with you to your pew
    • New! Additional seating for up to 25 is available in the East Lounge
    • Live streaming of the services continues for those who are not able to be at church in person
  • 25-person max for gatherings and meetings
    • New! Windows should be cracked open to allow in fresh air; please remember to close the windows when you leave
  • Masks required indoors
  • No eating or drinking indoors
    • Coffee and treats will be outside on the front steps through November, then coffee will be discontinued but indoor fellowship without food/drink will continue

As we head into Thanksgiving, I give thanks for the people of Immanuel and all you are doing to keep our community safe during this amazing time!

Thank you for wearing your mask.  

Thank you for refraining from eating/drinking indoors.  

Thank you for staying home when you feel symptoms.  

Thank you for investing in livestream equipment and volunteer hours.  

Thank you for bringing your coat or sweater into worship as we start to open windows — those Norwegian sweaters were made just for a time as “amazing” as this! 

Peace,

Deb Ahlquist

Council President, Building Reopen Team