A Note from the LPC Door Opening Team
(Updated 29 August 2020, WEB)
In the spring of 2020, when the COVID pandemic came to Maryland and public schools were closed, the Laurel Presbyterian Church (LPC) Session voted to suspend corporate worship to protect the congregation. This was done prior to the order from Governor Hogan that suspended religious gatherings, as well as all non-essential business in Maryland. Soon after, LPC began offering weekly worship videos and Zoom prayer meetings in lieu of our traditional in-person Sunday worship, and continues to do so.
After the COVID and hospitalization rates began to drop and testing became more widely available, Maryland and Prince George’s County began to phase in commercial, recreational, and religious activity. During this time, the LPC session stood up a Door Opening Team (DOT) to develop recommendations for how LPC can operate safely during the current COVID pandemic, how LPC can eventually re-open its facility for face-to-face corporate worship, and how it can help the Laurel neighbors in these difficult times.
At the time of this writing (August 2020), the DOT has met almost every week to do its work. A short summary of this work includes:
- Monitoring Maryland and PG County COVID-related closure and opening announcements;
- Monitoring the COVID infection rates in the LPC region. (See attachment);
- Developing COVID safety recommendations for restricted use of the church building – that allows for maintenance and limited administrative activity;
- Developed a plan that would allow a County-licensed Day Care center operating at LPC to re-open. This is a badly-needed service that will help our neighbors returning to work. This plan protects the church by isolating all day care operations, including entrance/exit, to the first floor of the education wing. At this time, the day care facility has submitted its paper work to the County and is awaiting license approval.
Please keep the Day Care providers, Latrice and Shelby, in your prayers as they wait for County approval get back to work; they are facing severe financial difficulty.
- Developed an overarching framework for determining when and how LPC can consider reopening for indoor worship. This was approved by Session on 28 June (See attachment);
- Developed LPC Indoor Worship COVID Safety Guidelines, as required by the above-mentioned framework for re-opening. This was approved by LPC Session on 04 August (See attachment);
- Working with the LPC Property Committee to institute facility changes that will make LPC safer – including touchless bathroom fixtures, hand sanitizer dispensers;
- Coordinating with the LPC Worship and Music Committee, and members of the congregation, to offer small outdoor prayer and fellowship opportunities, like Wednesday morning prayers and the Martha and Mary gathering.
DOT Reference Documents:
To see Session-Approved Indoor Worship Safety Guidelines: click here --> LPC Safety Guide
Submitted by Walt Bowen
Chairman of the Door Opening Team
on behalf of your DOT: Andy Kirkham, Dot Brownlie, Monica Anthony, Kevin Winters, Amy Schacht