Dear FaithWestwood family—
As additional cases of the novel corona virus COVID-19 appear in the Omaha metro area, we want to assure you that we at FaithWestwood take this threat very seriously. Our Health Ministry Team -- which includes an experienced infection control nurse -- has developed separate preparedness guidelines for our church, our Love & Learn Child Development Center, and our FaithWorks pantry. These guidelines are continuously reviewed and revised in accordance with best practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and with ongoing consultation with the Douglas County Health Department.
These best practices include the following for FaithWestwood Church:
Practice 1 – Wash and disinfect our hands
We cannot stress enough the importance of washing our hands frequently and thoroughly. As it is available, we will keep hand sanitizer in strategic locations throughout the building, but, as you may be aware, this product is hard to come by. This makes thorough and frequent hand-washing even more important. Please wash your hands often, but especially before you come to church and after visiting the restroom. Posters demonstrating how to thoroughly wash hands are located above each sink throughout the building.
Practice 2 – Greet each other warmly but without touching
FaithWestwood is known as a warm and welcoming community and we don’t want that to stop – but we must protect each other too. Greet others warmly with a smile and verbal greeting rather than with any kind of handshake, touch, or hug. Our greeters, ushers, and hospitality team are implementing a variety of additional procedures to ensure their safety as well as yours.
Practice 3 – In Worship
• Items which are touched by multiple people -- including Connection Cards, pens, bibles and hymn books -- have been removed from the pews. All hymns, including those in the pre-service hymn sing before the 9:00 a.m. service, will be projected on the screens.
• Prayer teams will not be used during our prayer time. Because the Connection Cards will not be available, please see Vikki O’Hara in the foyer before or after each service if you have a prayer request. You may also submit prayer requests at any time throughout the week via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, through the link in your FaithConnect email on Monday morning, through the FaithWestwood website at https://faithwestwood.com/connect/pray or through the FaithWestwood app.
• Ushers will take additional steps to ensure the health and safety of everyone. We will not pass the bucket to collect the offering. Instead, as you leave, ushers will stand at each door with one bucket to collect your offering. For anyone who misses the usher, there will be an additional bucket on the table as you enter the worship center. You can also find opportunities to give in your FaithConnect email on Monday morning and on the FaithWestwood website at https://faithwestwood.com/about-us/give or through the FaithWestwood app.
Practice 4 – Communion
Over the next few months, we are limiting the times when communion will be served. When communion is offered, significant changes to our process will be in place and explained during the service.
Practice 5 – Sanitizing food service and other high-touch areas
Our already excellent cleaning and sanitizing procedures have been expanded significantly and will be visible to you on Sunday mornings. Coffee, donuts, and cookies will be served by gloved team members rather than be self-served.
Practice 6 – Sanitizing Children’s Ministry areas
We will continue sanitizing the kid’s check-in area, large group room, and classrooms before Sunday morning and after each service. We have suspended the use of the iPad to sign in to Sunday School and Nursery and encourage parents to sign in their kids using the Kid-Min app. Children’s Ministry volunteers at the check-in desk will check in those who have not checked in through the Kid-Min app. Teachers are encouraged to monitor behavior that can spread germs.
Practice 7 – Meetings and other group gatherings
For now, we leave it up to each group, team, and committee to decide whether to meet. Older individuals and those with health issues are urged to take extra precautions. If your group chooses to meet, please note that sanitizing wipes, surface cleaner, blue disposable wipes, and Lysol spray are available in each room. It is the responsibility of all groups using a meeting space in the church building to wipe off all surfaces -- tables, non-fabric chairs, etc. -- with a sanitizing product after using the space.
Practice 8 – If you are sick or feeling unwell, please stay home.
If you, or any member of your household, is ill -- please stay home. We all must do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19 as well as any of the other illnesses that are in our community. In addition to sharing each week’s message on Facebook and on our website at https://faithwestwood.com/watch-read/messages, we are also taking steps to share worship services via Facebook Live.
We believe the above measures are proactive steps to support the health and safety of our congregation and the surrounding community. Thank you for your assistance in caring for one another during this time.
For the most accurate and current information about corona virus, please visit: www.coronavirus.gov.