Protocol for Opening Our House of God 

to in-person worship during the age of the Coronavirus

Vista de la Montana UMC

UPDATE   September 8th, 2020

The Sanctuary, Narthex and Education and Administration Building:

                We will deep clean our buildings following CDC recommendations using only approved solutions and chemicals.  We have purchased a “fogger” to sanitize all the surfaces in the facility along with the air-conditioning system every week before use.  See below.  We use a CDC approved sanitizing solution that kills Coronavirus.  All areas will be sanitized using wipes, sprays, and proper cleaning/sanitizing supplies.

This is the sanitizing solution we use.


 All hymnals have been removed, and the registration books will not be distributed.  

The 3 water fountains we have been covered and signed as closed.  Water bottles will be provided.

All soft toys have been cast away so no problem with them.


                Hand sanitizer machines have been purchased for all rooms and buildings.  There is a sign on the Hand Sanitizer that indicates no handshaking.  This goes for hugs etc.  We will drop for the foreseeable future the “Welcome Time” in which we shook hands and hugged each other.

                The Narthex Unisex bathroom has been shut, locked, and signed to eliminate it as a possible super spreader site.  

Sanitizing wipes will be available to be used before and after all building use.  

Patio restroom doors will remain closed to keep rattlesnakes from entering them.  A stand with paper towels on it will be in front of the doors so people can use a paper towel to open the door if they want too.


                Parking will not change however everyone should maintain six-foot separation from others when exiting their vehicles to enter church. Wait until the person who you are next to has walked a safe distance.

                We begin with a friendly welcome booth that explains all the rules and protocol.  Minimum of 7 volunteers needed to man/woman up stations.  (1 – North gate/temperature check, 2- West end of sidewalk, 2 – entrance to breezeway, 2 – breezeway)

                Custodian will have tables, large easel, and large hand sanitizer machines set up. Help will be needed setting up the two awnings.  (1 North gate, 1 west end of sidewalk) Milk cartons filled with water and bungee tied to legs on windy days.


To enter the Sanctuary to worship a person must run the gauntlet of temperature takers, sanitizing machines and release form signing as well as the questions about.  Only the staunches Christians desiring to worship with others will put up with the process.

                Here are the steps in order, like Jesus asking John 3 times, “Do you Love me?”

Station one “Temperature Taking”.  At this first station the “Wellness Check” is required.  These are a series of health questions that are: Do you feel sick with a cold or have flu like symptoms, do you have a cough if so, please go home.  Also, a reminder to give everyone 6 feet, wear a mask, use hand sanitizer, and no handshakes or hugs today. 

Temperature is taken and if the temperature is 100.4 or above, they will be asked to leave and seek medical attention if it remains high on retake.  Some may object to the infrared thermometer being pointed at their forehead for fear of damaging the “pineal gland” in the center of their forehead.  In that case temperature can be taken at the wrist.  Temperatures of a person can be high if just walking from the parking lot to the patio; so, if the temperature spikes high we will ask them to rest in the shade for a moment before retaking. 


The second station is the “Hand sanitizing” station.  Again, touchless hand sanitizers will be present, and all will be asked to use them before proceeding on.  The same “Stop the Spread” signs will be at every station.

The third station is “Waver Signing” station.  Here the wavers (see attached) will be signed before people can enter the sanctuary.  These wavers will be sent home so people can read them and sign them in advance and simply bring them in on their first Sunday.   A “master list” will be kept identifying everyone who has already signed in from previous Sundays.  Two pen holders will be used. One will be for sanitized pens before human touch.  The other for contaminated used pens.
 Access into the building will be the right-hand doors off of the patio.  All who enter must wear a mask.

Greeting will be provided by the people at the 3 stations with no touch.  Bottled water will be provided because the drinking fountains will be closed, and we live and worship in the desert.

The outer doors and doors from the Narthex into the Sanctuary will be propped open so no one needs to either touch them or clean them.  The electric company will love this for cooling and heating will flow out into our beautiful desert.  Divided aisles for one-way entry/exit.

                Masks will be required to enter the building and if someone doesn’t have one, they will be provided.  If some shows and insists on entering without a mask, besides embarrassing them by calling attention to the requirement, we will seat them separately in the back by the exit door which is 10 feet from the nearest seats.  I would not hesitate to speak with such a person.  But if they were defiantly disruptive, I would call the sheriff to have them trespassed off.  I expect better of my people and the people of this community.  I know the “heart of humankind is evil and tends towards evil continually” Gen. 6:5, but I do not expect this to be a problem.  I would defiantly continue to worship and not let someone else’s bad actions control the worship of God.  “God inhabits the praise of his people” 

                Entrance will be by reservation only (online or by phone).  If someone arrives without reservations, they will be asked to stand in the patio to see if anyone who had a reservation does not show and then they can take that person’s place.  Will also have an overflow room sanitized and ready to go in case of need.

People will be counted as they enter the building and the ushers will set them in socially distanced spaces as singles or as families who share the risk of infection and death from each other.  Seating will be clearly marked.  Only sit where NO SIGNS are in the chairs.  Ushers will assist.  Seating for families, couples and singles will be set up using safe distancing guidelines of 6-foot.  Whatever way we divided up the room we came up with only being able to accommodate 60 people at a time.  If more sign up, we will have to go to two services.  Seating will also be guided by state, local and direction of the Bishop.

Egress from the building will be through doors on the right as you exit.  The kitchen may also be used because we do not expect to practice any Christian hospitality through food for a long, long, long time.  No gathering time will be permitted inside the church.

                No bulletins will be produced or advertisement flyers.  Everything will be on the screens and by verbal announcement.  Communion elements on Communion Sundays will be by “sealed communion kits” that include the wafer and a small cup of grape juice that people will be handed by a gloved assistant either as they enter or exit.

                A locked box will be set up just inside the sanctuary for people to drop their offerings in as they enter or if the sermon was good enough on their exit with even more cash.

                Worship speakers will be given separate wireless microphones to use.  Regular users will have their microphones stored separately that only they can touch and change the batteries.  Separate podiums will be provided for each speaker with a 12-foot distancing.  The organ, piano, microphones etc. will be fog sanitized before the service and if necessary, between services.

                To be avoided in the service are singing, and wind instruments.  No unison liturgies, but all words will be on the screen for the hearing and visually impaired.  The choir is on vacation until further notice.

                Worshippers will be dismissed by small groups by the ushers to maintain the 6-foot distancing.  

                All the AV people will wear masks and clean their workstations before use with alcohol wipes.  Note the attached separate protocol for the AV booth.

Sunday School Spaces:

                We do not expect to start face to face Sunday school until long after we begin worship again.  Currently all Sunday school is online.  But when it does start up here is how we are going to do it.

                Hand sanitizer machines have been purchased and are available for all rooms.  The rooms are large enough and the classes small enough they will become automatically socially spaced 6 foot apart.

                All soft toys as well as other toys have been removed.  We got rid of all soft toys awhile back, because they are just germ factories.

                The staff/teachers will have rubber gloves and masks.  Children will be spatially separated.  Face masks will be required and available for the children who arrive and don’t bring them.  Masks are required for children 2 and up.  The nursery is being remodeled and will not be available for quite some time.  If someone shows with a baby they will be invited to take the child to worship.

                The rooms will be “fog sanitized” after every use.  

                All children will have their temperature taken by infrared thermometers upon arrival.  Their parents will be asked the same health questions that worshippers are asked.  If they are sick or have a fever, they will be promptly delivered back to their parents to take them home and for testing.  

                Most curriculum will be digital on the TVs in the classrooms.  Any paper curriculum will be for the children to take home with them.  Only pens or pencils that we can sanitize after the children touch them will be available.

                Finally, if some child or parent does come down with the virus, we will ask them to contact the church and let us know, so we can notify others who may have been in contact with them by phone, email or text.

                Conference created “Member covenant” and “health forms” will be mailed/emailed prior to reopening.  Copies will be available on Sunday with clean pens and box for used pens.  Pastor will announce safe policies throughout service and will be included in the online bulletins/announcements.  

Small Group meetings:

Meetings for more that 10 will be ZOOM meetings.

The rooms will be sanitized by fogger before and after each meeting by the custodian.  6-foot distancing will be required.  No food or drink served.  

Signs of the 11 common Covid-19 symptoms will be posted in each room.