TLC Updates and Response to COVID-19 - Transfiguration Lutheran Church - Bloomington, Minnesota

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TLC Updates and Response to COVID-19

November 19, 2020
Latest COVID Recommendations & Guidelines:
The Church Building Remains Closed
 
 
Dear Beloved Church,
The TLC Church Council, at the recommendation of the TLC Covid Response Team, and after consulting the  recommendations and established guidelines by the State of Minnesota, Center for Disease Control and Bloomington Public Health, have decided to continue to keep the church building closed (except the ELC) and continue online programming for worship and program ministries through the end of December. This decision is consistent with the Bloomington School district. We will continue to monitor the case numbers and revisit our approach to worship and programming in January.
In the meantime, we encourage you to participate in the online worship, resources, and programming that Transfiguration Lutheran Church is providing. We hope that they are providing support and encouragement for you in these days. Pastor Arthur and the TLC Staff continue to be available by phone, email and video conference for pastoral support and other needs as they arise.
As we consider how to be the church in these unusual times, we are guided not just by public health directives, but also by the multiple commitments of our faith. These can be in tension with each other at times. For example:

1. Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Therefore, out of love for one another and concern for the well-being (particularly of the most vulnerable) we will take every precaution and follow state recommendations to ensure the health and safety of all.

2. We worship a God who chose to become flesh and dwell among us. God came to us “in person.” As the Easter story reminds us, this movement of God to dwell with us was not without risk. Jesus tells us that when two or three are gathered together, he is with us. Gathering together is essential to who we are as the body of Christ. Therefore, we will establish clear plans to resume in-person gathering as soon as state guidelines permit.

For the most updated information about the status programming and building use, please visit the front page of our website and click on “Covid 19” or call the church office. We pray that you stay safe and well.

Your TLC Council & COVID Response Team


November 1, 2020
In Case You Were Wondering…
 
 
If I could attend worship services at TLC in-person, what would they be like during this time of the COVID pandemic?
 

As determined by TLC’s COVID response team, the “Stay Safe Minnesota” campaign, and the CDC, opening up TLC’s sanctuary for in-person worship services (e.g. Sunday mornings @ 10:00am) would present an experience something like this:

-Capacity of the sanctuary would be limited to approximately 50 people, including pastors, musicians, ushers, and technical staff.  Why 50 when various agencies and government state 25-50% capacity?  Because of the size of TLC’s sanctuary and the socially distance mandate of no less than 6 feet in all directions (see next item).

-Congregants would be seated in every other row of pews, be required to wear face masks and socially distance themselves from another congregant in that pew and in front and behind by 6 feet.

-Families could sit together, but be spaced on all sides 6 feet from another non-family congregant (pew lengths may differ, but you could approximate 3 individuals or one family and a single individual per every other row of pews).

-There would be no live “singing” or “brass” performances by TLC musicians because both project increased aerosol droplets at a greater distance from the person singing or blowing into an instrument. Those performances would be pre-recorded and presented via projections on the Sanctuary wall-screens during the worship service.

-Congregants are not allowed to sing.  Again, due to amplified aerosol dispersion of the virus-containing droplets from the mouth and nose of a potentially infected person.

-The worship service would basically consist of the pastor performing the welcome/announcements, liturgy, prayers, sermon and communion – where communion would be non-contact.  Congregants would be provided with a small communion “kit” of juice/wafer as previously used at the TLC drive-in services.

-There would be no fellowship inside the building before or after the service.

-Cleanup and sanitizing the sanctuary, narthex, and entrance areas post-service by TLC’s contracted cleaning service would be comprehensive; involving distinctive (and higher cost) methods of sterilization.

               
 
Source Links of COVID-19 containment:
 
Stay Safe Minnesota – Minnesota COVID-19 Response
   
 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
 

UPDATE as of October 15, 2020

As previously published, October 25 was the date being considered for possible public, in-person worship services to resume at TLC. At this current time, the Minnesota Department of Health is reporting a trend of increasing cases of coronavirus in our area.  Also, in reviewing our survey data from August of 2020 [available in the pdf preview below], the majority of our respondents from TLC would prefer to wait to worship in-person until they feel safe. Therefore, our COVID Response Team, TLC church staff, along with its council members, recommend postponing in-person worship for the time being. Their current recommendation is to continue to dedicate efforts to maintain high quality online worship offerings. These groups will continue to revisit and discuss this information regularly as we move through the fall. The implementation of safe, in-person worship will be pushed out to a future date to be determined.


Melinda Chau
TLC Council

Please express your questions, comments and concerns via email to: council@tlcmn.com



COVID Response Update: Re-Opening the Church
RESULTS OF THE AUGUST 6, 2020 SURVEY (open for input 8-6-20 thru 8-10-20)

Many thanks to all who filled out the survey last week (August 6 thru August 10). It provided crucial feedback in helping the Covid Response Team make a recommendation to Council at the August meeting this past Tuesday regarding re-opening of the church building. You may read the recommendation below which was adopted unanimously by Council. The full responses to the survey follow.
 
To briefly summarize, the current recommendation is to continue to dedicate efforts to maintaining high quality online worship offerings, including regular outdoor worship. Necessary training of staff and volunteers will begin in September to prepare for eventual in-person worship. The earliest possible date being considered for public, in-person worship is October 25. This is subject to change. Sunday School, Confirmation and High School ministry is being planned in consultation with families and will begin in October, probably with a combination of online and outdoor offerings, weather permitting.
 
I am incredibly grateful to the ongoing extraordinary work of the dedicated TLC Staff, who continue to tend to their duties in very unusual circumstances and to the TLC Church Council who are highly engaged and wrestling deeply with the challenges and blessings of tending to the health of the community in these times. Also, my sincere gratitude goes to the Covid Response Team led by Pete Erickson and Jeanine Brown who will continue to work on planning and implementing our response as we move forward into the fall.
 
We miss you. We miss gathering in person. We trust one another to God’s daily provision and care.
 
May the Almighty God bless and keep you this and every day,
 
Pastor Arthur

Survey DATA Answers
Survey TEXT Responses
TLC is closed to all  visitors unless by appointment. It's important that we maintain this  rule during the pandemic crisis. Spontaneous visiting, regardless of  well-meaning intentions, may cause complications in the church  environment or compromise the health of church staff or ELC staff and children, and vice-versa. Any questions or concerns, please contact the  TLC office at 952-884-2364 or: office@tlcmn.com
COVID-19 Response Update for TLC - July 1, 2020 Update
  • The church building remains closed to gatherings of any size due to the ongoing essential service ministry of the Early Learning Center.
  • Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis for funerals, weddings and baptisms. Contact a pastor directly to discuss.
  • Individual access to the building requires prior approval from a staff member, mandatory mask and social distancing protocols.
  • Outdoor gatherings are permitted. Please bring your own lawn chairs. Bathrooms are not available. Masks are recommended.
  • A Covid Leadership Team is being formed to consider the safe expansion of building use.
  • Prayers are highly recommended and sincerely requested as together we seek to adapt and “be the church” in new and vital ways in these ever changing times.


While in-person gatherings remain on hold, active ministry continues in a wide variety of forms. The church truly is not a building!

Small groups and ministry teams that have met or are meeting during this time include:

  • Church Council – Zoom
  • TLC Walkers - Outdoors
  • Stewardship Team – Outdoors
  • Strategy Team - Zoom
  • Racial Justice Team - Zoom
  • Men’s Golf League – Dwan Golf Course (New location)
  • TLC Staff – Zoom
  • Mission and Outreach Team – Zoom
  • Families with Small Children – in driveways and neighborhoods
  • RIC Ally Team – Zoom
  • Men’s Beer/Bible Group – Zoom
  • Stephen Ministry Team – Zoom
  • Worship Planning Team – Zoom
  • Pastoral Care Team – Zoom
  • New - Intern Pastor Grace’s Bible Study – Zoom
  • Confirmation Small Groups – Zoom
  • Peer Ministers and High Schoolers – Zoom
  • Financial Team – Zoom
  • K3P3 knitters – Parking Lot
  • Library Team – Zoom
  • Property Committee - Zoom
  • TLC Faith, Fact, and Fiction Book Club - Zoom
  • TLC Woodwinds - Google Duo
  • TLC Handbells - Zoom
  • TLC Chancel Choir - Zoom
  • New - TLC Garden Group – Outdoors (Church gardens and landscaping)
  • Addiction Awareness Team – Zoom
  • Welcoming Diversity Team – Parking Lot
  • Dad’s Support Group – Zoom
  • Women’s Café Group – Zoom, Text, Parking Lot
  • Boundary Waters Planning – Zoom
  • Pastoral Visits – Driveways by request

Please let us know if you are interested in connecting with other TLC’ers in any of the ways listed above, or let us know if you have an idea for safely gathering that we can help you put into action.
Also, if you know of an active group that is not listed above, please let us know and we will add to the list!
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