COVID News

and Aid Requests

November Update

November 13, 2020 

Re-Opening Plan Update 

This year of all years we hear the words “adjust,” “new,” and “different” as part of our everyday vocabulary. All the change is exhausting. And we just want something to go back to normal. We’re desperate for it. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is not over, and we’re all feeling very COVID fatigued! However, now is not the time to let our guard down especially considering the recent uptick of positivity rate in our area. For that reason, the COVID Advisory Team has made the following plans. 

Effective Sunday, November 15th, we are reverting to Stage 1 of our COVID Re-Opening Plan (including following the most recent updates to Dr. Page’s “safer at home” order). 

What does this entail? 

  • The building is locked except for essential staff, essential volunteers and building contractors. Much of staff will work from home. 

  • Worship continues to be online with recordings done in home and in the sanctuary as scheduled. 

  • No small groups are allowed in the building. 

  • Masks are to be worn as well as social distancing while indoors. 

  • Everyone entering building must sign in at the main office entrance for contact tracing. 

  • All St. Louis County guidelines must be followed. 

When the positivity rate has decreased and the COVID Advisory Team takes all factors into consideration, we will move again to Stage 2*.  

This means we will not be able to do in-person worship for Christmas Eve, which honestly breaks my heart. I know many of you will be severely disappointed as well as frustrated with this. And I don’t blame you. But when someone recently said to me, “We have to stop being afraid,” I responded, “We have to stop confusing fear with taking responsibility.” As your lead pastor, I feel greatly responsible for this flock, the staff, and the ministries that we do for the community. I do not take that responsibility lightly; for the most part it is a great privilege! I take it very seriously as does the Church Leadership Council and the COVID Advisory Team. We believe we have thoroughly thought this through and made this decision for our context, and I continue to ask for your patience, understanding, grace and prayers.  

Blessings, 

Pastor Mary 

*What is included in Stage 2? 

  • The building will still be in use for essential workers and volunteers. Everyone is required to mask, social distance and sign in at the main office entrance for contact tracing. 

  • Worship is all online with recordings done at homes and in the sanctuary as scheduled. 

  • Short Prayer Services will be scheduled in the sanctuary, abiding by county guidelines of masks, social distancing and no more than 50 people gathered. 

  • Any group can meet outdoors on the grounds and are asked to contact the main office to schedule their time. Everyone is to abide by current county guidelines. 

  • Staff-led/approved groups will be allowed to meet in the building on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, in rooms 102, Fellowship Hall, Trinity Hall and Sanctuary. A staff person must be present and are responsible for the group to follow all guidelines, as well as scheduling with the main office. No two groups can overlap in the use of a room or a time frame.  

  • Custodial services will be in the building Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to thoroughly clean including a special antimicrobial treatment to the above rooms. 

Updated on 11/22/2020

November 1, 2020 

Autumn is upon us and with it comes all sorts of changes. It is beautiful to see all the different colors popping out on the trees and I am thoroughly enjoying the seasonal decorations being put out, especially all the pumpkins. At the same time, haven’t we seen enough change this year? The year of all years where the words “adjust,” “new,” and “different” are a part of our everyday vocabulary. All the change is exhausting at times. And we just want something to go back to normal. We’re desperate for it. Including coming back to in-person worship. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is not over, but we’re all feeling very COVID fatigued! However, now is not the time to let our guard down. 

We are currently in Stage 2 of our COVID Re-opening Plan. What does this mean? 

  • The building is in use for essential workers and volunteers. Everyone is required to mask, social distance and sign in at the main office entrance for contact tracing. 

  • Sunday morning worship is all online with recordings done at homes and in the sanctuary as scheduled. 

  • Staff is working on setting up a short weekly Prayer Service in the sanctuary, abiding by county guidelines of masks, social distancing and no more than 50 people gathered (stay tuned for when this begins!).  

  • Any group can meet outdoors on the grounds and are asked to contact the main office to schedule their time. Everyone is to abide by current county guidelines. 

  • Staff-led groups are allowed to meet in the building on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, in rooms 102, Fellowship Hall, Trinity Hall and Sanctuary. A staff person must be present and are responsible for the group to follow all guidelines, as well as scheduling with the main office. No two groups can overlap in the use of a room or a time frame.  

  • Custodial services will be in the building Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to thoroughly clean including a special antimicrobial treatment to the above rooms.  

We will move to Stage 3, which includes having one in-person worship service at 9am along with live-streaming on Sunday mornings, on Sunday, January 31, 2021. This decision has been made with keeping the following in mind: 

  • Continuing to track the positivity rate of COVID in St. Louis County as well as Jefferson County.  

  • The flu season will be at its peak in the colder months of winter and there is uncertainty the effect this will have on COVID infections. 

  • The schools in the area will all be at least partially open for on-campus schooling by the end of October and there is uncertainty the effect this will have on COVID infections. 

  • The United Methodist churches closest to us in size and proximity are not opening up until 2021. 

  • Many in our congregation are vulnerable and at risk for COVID infection. 

  • There is a lack of ventilation in the sanctuary, Trinity Hall and Fellowship Hall. Opening windows and doors to aid ventilation during winter months will significantly decrease comfort.  

  • The installment of a new sound system in the sanctuary will be completed by the end of December. (Please see page     to check out how you can be a part of the fundraising for this wonderful project!)  

  • Staff will need to practice in the sanctuary with live streaming and the newly installed sound system. 

  • Volunteers will need to be trained for all audio/visual (AV) needs as well as volunteers for Ambassadors need to be trained. 

This means we will not be able to do in-person worship for Christmas Eve, which honestly breaks my heart. I know many of you will be severely disappointed as well as frustrated with this. And I don’t blame you. But when someone recently said to me, “We have to stop being afraid,” I responded, “We have to stop confusing fear with taking responsibility.” As your lead pastor, I feel greatly responsible for this flock, the staff, and the ministries that we do for the community. I do not take that responsibility lightly; for the most part it is a great privilege! I take it very seriously as does the Church Leadership Council and the COVID Advisory Team. We believe we have thoroughly thought this through and made this decision for our context, and I ask for your patience, understanding, grace and prayers.  

Blessings, 

Pastor Mary 

October Update

October 1, 2020 

Our COVID Advisory Team that consists of myself and Pastor Laura, along with five team members from the Church Leadership Council (CLC), is continually working to discuss all of our options about reopening. Although many of us would prefer to set an exact date to reopen, due to the continual and rapid changes in infections and what we know about the COVID-19 virus, setting a specific timeline is just not possible. Instead, following St. Louis County Public Health guidelines and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), we will not open the building for worship until the county infection rate either plateaus or decreases for two complete weeks. This may seem drastic, however, due to the size of our congregation, its location in South County, and the need to protect those on staff and in our congregation, who are at a higher risk of infection, the COVID Advisory Team feels this is the best decision for Concord Trinity UMC. We know it is difficult to see and hear about other churches that have opened, but most of them are smaller in number. Also, I like to believe they came to that decision after careful consideration just like how we are making decisions too.  

I am confident in saying that the CLC and the COVID Advisory Team are not taking this decision lightly and so we have put together a table for our Re-opening Plan to help guide us through the next few weeks and months.  

  • We are currently in Stage 1, the red zone.  

  • You’ll see that in order to get to Stage 2, the yellow zone, we need a new contract with our custodial services that begins October 1. Before we even consider moving to Stage 3, the orange zone, we need a 2-week trend of a decrease or plateau in new infections in the county.  

  • During Stage 3 when we have one service in the building, the worship service will be at 9am to coincide with our current and continued online presence.  

  • It will be determined at a later time by the COVID Advisory Team on when and how to move to Stage 4.  

  • At all stages, when considering moving to the next stage, the COVID Advisory Team will take into account St. Louis County data, including specific zip codes, along with the St. Louis County and CDC guidelines as well.  

  • This Re-opening Plan is subject to change and during any stage, a significant increase in cases may result in moving back to a more restrictive stage. 

We thank you for your patience and understanding during this weird time that we are in. We will continue to keep you updated on the status of our process through the stages via our website and the monthly newsletter, as well as occasional weekly emails. If you have any questions about the COVID Advisory Team or the Re-opening Plan, please email Gale Preston, Church Leadership Council Chair, or Pastor Mary. 

Blessings, 

Pastor Mary 

September Update

September 1, 2020 

Hello Concord Trinity Friends! Being in the middle of a pandemic for my new appointment as your lead pastor has been a challenge but I have had countless blessings as well. Thank you again for your gracious welcome, beautiful cards, and generous outpourings of gift cards. I cannot wait to meet you all in person! 

I think we are all anxious to get back to worshipping in person, and we are also anxious about what worshipping in person will look like. I want to share with you that we have put together a COVID Advisory Team that consists of myself and Pastor Laura, along with five team members from the Church Leadership Council (CLC). We have met several times and are working on finalizing a plan for reopening in light of the pandemic. Although many of us would prefer to set an exact date to reopen, due to the continual and rapid changes in infections and what we know about the COVID-19 virus, setting a specific timeline is just not possible. Instead, following St. Louis County Public Health guidelines and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), we will not open the building for worship until the county infection rate either plateaus or decreases for two complete weeks. This may seem drastic, however, due to the size of our congregation, it’s location in South County, and the need to protect those on staff and in our congregation who are at a higher risk of infection, the COVID Advisory Team feels this is the best decision for Concord Trinity UMC. We know it is difficult to see and hear about other churches that have opened, but most of them are smaller in number. Also, I like to believe they came to that decision after careful consideration just like we are making decisions too. I don’t know who, if anyone, is right or wrong, but I am confident in saying that the CLC and the COVID Advisory Team are not taking this decision lightly and have made the best decision for this community.  

I look forward to our meetings and discussions in the immediate future and for those in the coming years. I continue to pray for your health and safety. 

Blessings, 

Pastor Mary 

August Update

August 1, 2020 

So many adjustments have been made the last few months. In our personal lives we are wearing masks everywhere, we have limited our traveling, many of us are still working from home, and we are using technology in new ways so that we can keep in touch with family whom we can’t see. And church life is no different. We have had to make huge shifts in how we do worship and ministry. It has been a challenge but what an exciting endeavor it has been to think of new ways to bring God’s word to more people, and to do God’s work in a chaotic world.  

At the same time there is sadness and frustration involved in all the newness. Because when we say hello to something new and make room for change, it means that, in essence, we have to say goodbye to something else and move on from what “normal” used to be. But this is very difficult. Afterall, we like what “normal” used to be. We love it actually. It’s so comfy and safe and there is little fear involved because we know what to expect from what our “normal” had been. And we want to get back to “normal” desperately. We want to get back to how things used to be. With church, we want to get back to worshiping in person, seeing each other each week, having fellowship and small groups and Sunday School classes and doing youth and children’s ministries in person. We want to get back to when church was “normal.”  

I can tell you that no one, not one other person, wants to get back to in-person worship more than I do. Are you kidding? Not only was I starting at a new church as lead pastor, I had to do it in the middle of a pandemic? No Welcome Gatherings? No dinners and coffee meetings? No shaking hands and meeting new people every Sunday morning?? Part of my job as your pastor is knowing who you are and getting to know you. I desperately want to meet you all and know who you are. But that part of my job needs to take a backseat in order to concentrate instead on keeping everyone as safe and healthy as possible. There are other churches in our area, and other United Methodist Churches in our area as well, who have decided to open and do worship in person in some form. Each individual church has made this decision based on multiple factors, just like we are. The leadership and staff of CTUMC have considered the following factors for our community when it comes to reopening:  

  • the rates of infection in St. Louis County as they have been closely watched and monitored 

  • the actions and decisions local school districts are making for the start of school 

  • the safety of staff, volunteers, and at-risk congregants as a top priority  

  • acquiring the appropriate equipment in order to video stream from the sanctuary to both Trinity Hall and the Fellowship Hall (this equipment has been on back order and is set to arrive around August 20th) 

  • the training of staff and volunteers for the adaptations needed for in-person worship 

  • giving me time to get adjusted, moved and settled in 

  • the creation of a COVID Advisory Team from members of the Church Leadership Council (CLC). This COVID Advisory Team will assist the staff in deciding when and how to reopen and consist of members who have had experience in helping with this process with their own places of work.  

Unfortunately, we do not have an exact date as to when we will reopen but Pastor Laura and I, along with the CLC, want to keep you updated on our decisions going forward. Look for more information that will be coming in mid-August about what the COVID Advisory Team and staff have been working on towards reopening. I ask for your prayers and understanding as we go through this process and thank you greatly for your grace and patience thus far. You are all in my prayers as well.  

Blessings, 

Pastor Mary 

Concord Trinity United Methodist Church

5275 S. Lindbergh Blvd. - Saint Louis, MO 63126

(314) 842-2060 

VISIT

US

Tel. (314) 842-2060

5275 S. Lindbergh Blvd, 
Saint Louis, MO 63126

As of 3/22/2020

Our video worship service goes live at 9AM

You can find it here on concordtrinity.com

as well as our Youtube Channel and Facebook.

Thank you for watching!

UPCOMING

EVENTS

12/20-12/24

WEDS

SUN

Hope Lives! 

A Drive Thru Lighted Display

20th-23rd @ 5pm-7pm

24th @ 4:30-6:30pm (pick up a worship pack for the Christmas Eve service!)

Choir/Musicians/Bell Ringers ZOOM

7PM - email Lscott@concordtrinity.org

Kid Min Sunday school ZOOM

10AM - email kmertz@concordtrinity.org