Out of love for neighbor, worship in our sanctuary and all activities in our building are suspended until further notice. We continue to be the church in all circumstances. Worship now on our Online Worship page.
Updates from Trinity in Response to Covid-19
FROM TRINITY’S COVID-19 RE-ENTRY TEAM:
As some of you are aware, Trinity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has established a COVID-19 Re-Entry Team to assist staff on the development and implementation of a phased reopening plan. The team is made up of the following Trinity staff and members.
- Fred Anderson – Retired Washington County Epidemiologist, Co-Chair
- Pastor Chris Bellefeuille
- Bob Eiselt – Parish Administrator
- Tom Hosek – Head Custodian
- Matt Simcik – Professor, School of Public Health – U of M, Co-Chair
- Denise Swager – BSN, RN
- Mel Sullivan – Council Secretary, Sr. VP/CPO at Ecumen
The purpose of the Team is to ensure we implement strategies and procedures to protect and maintain the health of our staff, members, and guests without disruption of our mission. We expect the entire church will have a role in implementing this plan. Obviously, our intent is to prevent and reduce transmission of COVID-19 within our church, both indoor and outdoor activities, and in our community. That doesn’t mean we can’t still be the hands and feet of Jesus in our congregation, the St. Croix Valley, Minnesota and beyond.
The Re-Entry Team will be addressing COVID-19 related items such as:
- Staff and volunteer health
- Traffic flow, social distancing and face mask expectations
- Staff, volunteer, member and guest hygiene expectations
- Building cleaning and disinfection practices
- Occupancy and activity limitations for each space in our building
- Drive-in worship practices
- Communications and training
What we are asking of you during this time is your prayerful support of our efforts and patience as we navigate this ever evolving landscape.
The team will be working diligently to address the many concerns of being able to return to indoor worship and allowing others to utilize our space while being protective of the health of everyone involved. The timing and any restrictions will be determined with the best available scientific information in a timely manner, knowing full well that the information may change and our strategies will be flexible to accommodate those changes. It is clear to the team that things such distributing bulletins, following along in the Bibles during the Gospel, using hymnals and singing, and passing of the offering plate will need to change. We are fortunate to have a large screen for the order of service and prerecorded music, as well as an established drive-in church ritual.
Strategies to reopen a business or house of worship requires thoughtful planning. They need to be practical, quantifiable, and dynamic. A myriad of contingencies and preventative measures must be carefully considered and implemented. Please be patient as the staff and council plan for our safe return to Trinity spaces.
The Council has affirmed a Trinity Re-Entry Ministry Team. This team will evaluate the science, determine our policies and reflect on our ministry and mission priorities as we develop a re-entry preparedness plan.
Re-entry includes things like worship, faith formation, small groups, staff and the office, weddings and funerals, LADC preschool and the many groups that rent or use our space: AA/Al-Anon/Alateen, Boy Scouts, music ensembles, homeowners’ associations and more.
Re-entry also includes considerations like wearing masks, sanitizing services and air exchange rates, traffic flow, seating, spacing, what materials can and cannot be shared as we meet and what products are most effective to keep us safe. And we also realize that people have different tolerances or medical limitations for re-entry. We are keeping all that in mind, as well.
Mission and ministry of Trinity will receive the priority. We do know that we will not immediately gather in the numbers technically allowed by the governor but determine what is best for Trinity, our members and our staff.
The team is Fred Anderson, retired Washington County Infectious Disease Epidemiologist; Dr. Matt Simcik, U of M School of Environmental Health; Mel Sullivan, Sr. VP and Chief People Officer of Ecumen/Trinity council, Denise Swager, RN; Kim Dahlgren, RN, Faith Community Nurse; Bob Eiselt, Tom Hosek and Pastor Chris.
The team has begun meeting and as material is available, we will share it with the congregation. In the meantime, we welcome prayers for discernment and patience as we find our way forward. If you have questions, please direct them to Bob Eiselt or Pastor Chris.
You might be interested to download and read the document below from the ELCA titled “Considerations for Returning to In-person Worship.”
STATE OF THE CONGREGATION ADDRESS
View a state of the congregation presentation led by Pastor Chris to communicate what’s been happening at Trinity during the Covid-19 pandemic. Includes comments from Council President Doug Johnson, and financial update from Council Member Andrew Thelander.
In compliance with the best medical wisdom available, we have suspended all Trinity in-person activities, including worship, through the end of May. (An announcement about drive-in worship will be made by early May.) We encourage ongoing use of online gatherings for Faith Formation, Bible and Book Studies, Circles, Small Groups and more. We will continue to offer livestream worship on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. and weekday Pause & Pray at noon on Facebook live. With you, we eagerly await a return to in person gatherings in the future.
- We are suspending worship in our sanctuary and all activities through April 30.
- The worship staff will bring you fresh, faithful, and engaging online worship experiences each Sunday and Wednesday.
- The Faith Formation team is working to bring faith forming, learning and serving opportunities to all ages in the weeks to come.
- The church office is closed for now. Office and program staff are working from home, coming into the office only when necessary.
- Continue to use regular email and phone to contact us.
- Giving is still critical to our church family’s financial well-being. As you are able, please continue to give. If you are able to do a bit more in this time, to cover those whose income is impacted, please do so. We thank you for your courage and faithfulness in this time. Ways to give>>
- We encourage the use of Zoom, Facebook chat, Skype, Facetime and more to join your household with others for prayer and worship.
- Small groups, circles, bible studies and book groups can meet online! Zoom is offering easier and more affordable access. Facetime, Facebook chat, Skype and many other tools are good options.
- Reach out to your Trinity friends, people you see in worship, those you haven’t seen in a while and those you worry about. Send cards, children’s art, connect via social media for live chat.
- Follow the Trinity Lutheran Church page on Facebook if you are a Facebook user. We are offering fun ways to connect there.
- Consider joining Facebook for this time of social isolation.
- Send your ideas for creative ways to connect. If you see something another church is doing that resonates with you, send it to us!
- Pray for our custodians, Tom and Annie. They continue to work, especially alongside our LADC preschool – Trinity will be a site for LADC children whose parents work in healthcare, are first responders, etc.
- Pray for your staff as they find new ways to be a team on your behalf.
- Pray through your picture directory if you have one. Show pictures to your kids and say the names out loud. Then send a card letting the person know you prayed for them. You can do the same with your Facebook feed, contact list or address book.
- Financially support Valley Outreach in this time. They also have need of volunteers. You can find more information here: https://valleyoutreachmn.org/
FROM OUR FAITH COMMUNITY NURSE
The authorities on COVID-19 and other epidemics are the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Please be aware of the multitude of misinformation.
Below is advice from the OHA and CDC on best practices to avoid the spread of all viruses, including COVID-19:
- Do not panic. The majority of cases exhibit mild symptoms similar to the common cold. If you have symptoms or think you may have been exposed to the virus, call your healthcare provider to identify the best way to receive care. #1 MOST IMPORTANT!
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. Wash between fingers and under nails with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your mouth, nose, and eyes. Touching your face with unwashed hands increases the risk of spreading germs and infection.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, not your hands.
- Clean frequently-touched surfaces and objects every day. These surfaces include phones, countertops, tables, doorknobs, cabinet handles, bathroom fixtures, computers, and light switches. Use a disinfectant.
- Stay home when you are sick and limit close contact with others. If you elect to seek medical treatment, call your healthcare provider first.
- Feel free to “bump elbows” or bow to fellow congregants during fellowship instead of hugging or shaking hands.
The CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask:
CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. Again, if you have symptoms, please stay home and call your healthcare provider.