Current guidelines for gathering at New Garden Friends Meeting [first published January 4]
- All group activities at NGFM are structured to be as inclusive and COVID-safe as possible. Nevertheless, we urge all New Gardeners to be mindful of the update above from our COVID medical advisers. Please make decisions about gathering at New Garden Friends Meeting and elsewhere based on your personal level of risk for serious COVID disease and the risks that your exposure to COVID could pose for members of your household or for your other contacts, such as co-workers and unvaccinated people.
- Semi-programmed Meeting for Worship (MFW) takes place on Sundays at 11 a.m. It is a hybrid of in-person worship outdoors and virtual worship by Zoom and Facebook Live. Those attending in person are asked to seat themselves in household groups, socially distanced from others, and to mask when entering or leaving the worship space, when singing, and when entering the building. Friends will be notified if weather is not conducive to outdoor worship; for the present, this means that Friends will be able to participate only by Zoom or Facebook Live on inclement Sundays.
- Unprogrammed MFW may take place at 9 a.m. outdoors or indoors, depending on preferences of participants. Friends are asked to remain masked and socially distanced. If indoors, participants are asked to adhere to COVID-safe room capacity guidelines posted by each room’s door.
- Other small groups may also meet indoors at the Meeting House in numbers up to each room’s capacity. For reservations, please e-mail Sharon Burton at ([email protected]). Friends are asked to remain masked at all times in the building and to use restrooms one individual or family group at a time.
- Friends interested in gathering indoors in small groups during semi-programmed MFW may reserve a room in advance using the reservation process above and connecting virtually to MFW with their own electronic device(s). If using more than one device per room, Friends are asked to bring earphones. On days when outdoor MFW is taking place, Friends gathered indoors will be invited to join outdoor MFW at approximately 11:50 a.m, if they wish, for singing together. Friends are also invited to greet each other outdoors after Meeting for Worship.
Future Meeting for Worship plans
The Meeting on Ministry and Counsel took place on December 28, and was in unity to request that all meeting participants be vaccinated to attend any in-person Meeting for Worship and Meeting-sponsored events. MM&C agreed that this request is consistent with practicing the testimonies of Community, and of Integrity, with the responsibility for monitoring and managing this on the conscience of each individual, for love of each other.
A called Meeting for Business took place on December 12 to consider options for semi-programmed Meeting for Worship indoors, in keeping with COVID-safe protocols. The sense of that meeting was that New Gardeners would benefit from a hybrid model that includes an indoor option when weather is not conducive to outdoor worship. The Communications Committee is working through the technical challenges of adapting our hybrid model of worship to our indoor spaces. For this reason and because of the surge in community COVID cases, we will not make changes in our MFW format for several weeks, at least, and not earlier than February 6.
Our next meeting of the COVID Medical Advisory Group will be February 1; if you have any COVID questions or concerns that you would like addressed please contact Janie Foy, Jennifer Schaal, or Kat Rice.