Reopening Update to Our Congregation and Friends
The First Lutheran Executive Committee has reviewed many documents in the last month as we begin to plan for reopening. We want to keep the congregation informed of how we are approaching these decisions. Here are some of the documents we have reviewed so you know the information and recommendations we are working with:
The Badger Bounce Back Plan https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p02653a.pdf
The Wisconsin Committee of Churches Guide for Returning to Church https://www.wichurches.org/2020/04/23/returning-to-church/
Bishop Erickson’s Pastoral Letter for Returning to Worship CLICK HERE TO READ IT
ELCA’s “Considerations for Returning to In-person Worship” CLICK HERE TO READ IT
We had a plan for phased reopening based on the Badger Bounce Back Plan ready to be sent to the congregation today, but now with the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision, that plan is no longer a statewide protocol. That means we will also be reviewing the new “COVID-19 Public Health Plan for Suburban Milwaukee” which was signed on to by our West Allis Health Commissioner last night along with other communities around the Metro. CLICK HERE TO READ IT
This order continues to follow CDC guides for social distancing, but opens up more businesses in limited ways. Gatherings are still limited to under 10 people and churches will remain closed, but the West Allis Health Department has informed us that there is additional language around phased reopening similar to the Badger Bounce Back and we will review that when it comes in. It’s important to note that this new order is enforceable by local law enforcement, the same way the statewide Safer at Home executive order was.
Bishop Erickson and the other four ELCA bishops in Wisconsin sent out a new letter responding to the Supreme Court decision and offering guidance on recommending phased reopening, based on previous recommendations of the health and science communities. CLICK HERE TO READ IT
Pastor Josh is consulting with the synod and congregations in the area about issues regarding reopening and best practices. The pastors and leaders of these congregations will be meeting with them on Sunday evening to review the new material.
We continue to review and assess information as it comes in and will work together to keep members and the community safe as we move toward a plan for reopening. Bishop Erickson, who our FLC Executive Committee met with yesterday via Zoom, has advised congregations to take our time and not rush into reopening. We continue to follow that guidance as we develop these plans with community safety in mind. We will continue to be transparent with the congregation through messages we send in daily emails, letters to members, and other communication. Feel free to reach out to us with your questions.
We are preparing a new version of a letter to the congregation about reopening and will share it with you as soon as possible.
Your FLC Executive Committee,
Heidi Leiser, President
Colleen Siarnicki, Vice President
Lori Marquez, Secretary
Dave Grulke, Treasurer