I hope you are doing well and will have a blessed week! I am writing you in regard to the eventual reopening of the Presbyterian Church at Woodbury,
and how we will cautiously proceed when the state of New Jersey gives
permission for gatherings of more than ten people. Our first priority is to the health and welfare of our members and anyone who is associated with the Presbyterian Church at Woodbury.
It is our responsibility that when we resume in-person worship that our
facility meets health and sanitary standards so people will be comfortable in knowing we are providing a place of worship that is safe and will not
compromise anyone’s health. The staff of West Jersey Presbytery and clergy
have engaged in discussions around when to return and appropriate health
and sanitary guidelines that should be followed. Below are links to documents from the New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control, Presbyterian Church U.S.A, and emails from Rev. Dr. Deborah Brincivalli, Executive Presbyter of West Jersey Presbytery. These are the documents the Session will use as our guides in reopening –
- Guidance from the New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services –https://covid19.nj.gov/
- A documents from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) with guidance for faith organizations https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/faithbased.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fcommunity%2Forganizations%2Fguidance-communityfaith-organizations.html
- Recommended guidance from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). Please pay specific attention to the section “Provisional Timeline: Contingent on Local Conditions and Latest Developments” on page number 8 – https://www.pcusa.org/site_media/media/uploads/covid19/returning_to_public_worship_may_2020.pdf
- The Executive Presbyter of West Jersey Presbytery, Rev. Dr. Deborah Brincivalli continues to communicate with the teaching elders on a weekly basis and includes recommended guidance on church discussions on reopening.
Once again, our plan to return to the Presbyterian Church at Woodbury will be dependent upon the guidance of health directives and denomination guidance through the leading of the Holy Spirit. We are committed to making our church a safe and welcoming place for when it is time to return! The reality is that worship and all activities in the church will be very different in the future, please prepare yourself for this reality. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reply. Finally, I would ask for continued prayers for church staff, officers and those working to keep us safe!
Rev. Dr. Philip W. Oehler, Sr