Ohio Department of Health:
Responsible Restart Ohio
Religious Services Recommended Best Practices
May 27, 2021: COVID-19 Guidance from Bishop Malone and the Cabinet
We celebrate the power of the creative God, the redeeming Christ and the animating Spirit evidenced through the creativity, adaptation and energy of the clergy and laity of the East Ohio Conference. Throughout this global crisis of the COVID-19 virus, you have lived by the Word of God, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39) You have embodied the love of Christ as you have: cared for neighbors and strangers alike in contributing to the healing of body and soul; increased your technological knowledge and capacity for the proclamation of the Gospel; and been the church without walls. We can hear God’s voice and echo it, “Well done, good and faithful servants.” (Matthew 25:23)
The following guidelines are based upon the most current best practices as communicated by the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Ohio Department of Health. Please employ them in conversation with your local church “pandemic protocol” team so that they are most applicable to your context and are communicated to your congregations and communities completely, clearly, and consistently. We are each invited to take personal responsibility for the wellbeing of us all. These guidelines are provided so that the covenant community of United Methodists in East Ohio may continue to minimize risk, stamp out disease, and step into God’s new thing – a truly post-COVID-19 pandemic world – with confidence and hope.
Attendance at Worship, Study and Fellowship
Persons who are not feeling well or are exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus should remain at home.
Congregations are encouraged to continue to offer alternate options for engagement – ie. livestreaming, Zoom access, video recordings, all-call phone access, etc.
Signs should be posted on entrances to the church building encouraging all to adhere to the current protocols.
Face masks are no longer required for those persons who have been fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated = two weeks past the date of a person’s final COVID-19 vaccine shot.
The wearing of face masks is encouraged for those who are not fully vaccinated and/or have health vulnerabilities.
In the same way that the safety of our elders has been honored throughout this global crisis let us demonstrate the same concern for our children who have yet to be vaccinated as well as persons who are immunocompromised.
Please honor the safety and preference of those persons who, for personal reasons, choose to continue to wear face masks.
We recognize the need for honoring personal space in all times and spaces.
Appropriate social distancing is encouraged.
Greet one another in the joy of Christ and with mutual agreement as to the method.
We celebrate the returning of God’s gifts to God’s work as an act of worship.
Continue to explore and employ “touchless” methods of sharing tithes and offerings.
To keep the Lord’s Table safe and accessible to all persons, continue to employ the use of single serving (pre-packaged) elements.
John Wesley encouraged believers, “Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing God more than yourself…” (John Wesley’s Select Hymns, 1761)
In all our worship let us aim to “please God more than ourselves.” Employ the best scholarship, proven practices, and prayerful conversation as you discern how best to worship God through song.
As we step into this new territory, we invite you to do so as those who have been shepherded by God through a wilderness. In the desert land we have received the gifts of sustenance, presence, and hope at the hand of our guiding God. Let us now, in grateful response, allow God’s gifts to flow through us. Let us engage our own weary spirits and one another – clergy, church members, and community partners – with patience, kindness, and understanding. Let us continue to pray for the complete eradication of this deadly virus and for those who have suffered the loss of loved ones. Let us give thanks for the ways in which the healing of the nations is at hand and for the privilege to partner with Jesus the Christ in that transforming work.
In the great name of Jesus,
Bishop Tracy S. Malone and the EOC Cabinet
East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church update
July 24: Churches and the New Statewide Mask Mandate
Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ,
I continue to be grateful for the creative ways that you are sharing the love and grace of Christ, and I rejoice at the testimonies that tell how your ministries are touching lives in many ways. In the midst of these challenging and exhausting times, clergy and laity have been working together finding new, innovative, and transforming ways of engaging in ministries in your communities and beyond to reach new people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Recent data shows that the COVID-19 pandemic is still widespread. Here in the East Ohio Conference alone several counties have shown an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. We, the Body of Christ, can play a vital role in helping to slow the spread of this disease and save lives. We are each called to do our part.
Within the past 24 hours a new statewide mask mandate went into effect in Ohio. The mandate from Governor Mike DeWine is for all people ages 10 and over to “wear facial coverings in public at all times when at an indoor location that is not a residence.” Since the church building is an indoor, non-residence venue, the governor’s mask order is in effect for indoor worship services, bible studies, small group gatherings, etc. Therefore, the Church is not exempt from this mandate.
The Guidelines for the Phased-in Reopening of EOC Church Buildings have consistently encouraged churches to “… follow the guidance of your local health department, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), government officials, hospitals, care facilities, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and pray for them.”
Friends, the governor’s order does not infringe on our right to worship as we are still allowed to meet in our buildings (but while wearing masks). The governor’s order allows those officiating worship to remove their mask (with social distancing still in effect) to lead worship.
Remember, by wearing a mask we are practicing Jesus’ commandment to love others as we love ourselves. We are doing our part to care for our neighbors. (Mark 12:31)
I hold each of you in my prayers. I encourage you to remain strong and steadfast in the Lord. By the grace of God, we will stay the course together focused on our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Grace and peace,
Bishop Tracy S. Malone
New leaf is excited to begin in-person worship July 12th, we are focused to provide a safe worship experience for everyone. For those not comfortable with attending Live Streaming on YouTube and Facebook will continue as before with 9:00 and 11:00 worship.
Greeters will be wearing masks and gloves for your protection, hand sanitizer will be available as you enter.
Social distancing will be observed with our new seating arrangement to accommodate family groups and individuals. All touched surfaces will be cleaned and sanitized between services.
Masks are strongly encouraged for the protection of your fellow worshipers.
Offering – you are encouraged to use our online and text giving, offering baskets will be available at the entry/exit doors or you may mail in your giving.
At this time Junior Church and the nursery will not be available due to New Leaf Child Care adherence to the Ohio Department of Health regulations and sanitation concerns. Children, as always, are welcome in our services and Lesson for the Lambs will be observed from your seats.
Small groups between services will still be suspended, it is necessary for everyone to exit the sanctuary when the service has ended for our team to clean and sanitize the building for the second service.
New Leaf will open their doors for Sunday morning services at 9:00 & 11:00 on (drum roll) JULY 12!
We will be following the guidelines put forth by our governor and the CDC. Our re-entry plan will be mailed to everyone we have an e-mail for in the coming weeks. Please send us your e-mail if we don’t have it. There will be further specific information coming to you in the next few weeks.
Our directors and staff met last night at the church – fully masked and observing social distancing. We are in Phase 2 of re-opening the church which means small groups are now allowed to meet practicing social distancing with no more than 9 present.
Also, we have a goal of re-opening the doors of the church for worship on July 5th.
This is Phase 3. There are many things that need to be in order before this happens, so be ready and willing for changes that will occur to stay in compliance with CDC guidelines.
We miss each and every one of you and want our return to be done with excellence!
Remember – God is good ALL the time. He is able to make this happen!
God bless you.
The church and the mission continue even during this pandemic. Please remember us in your prayers and your tithes. You can continue to give online, by text or by the United States Postal Service.
We love and miss you all and look forward to the day when we can once again worship as a family. Until then, we remain in His service – Scott & Jan Walsh <><
CONTACT THE CHURCH OFFICE AT 593-2525 WITH ANY QUESTIONS.
PLEASE NOTE: NO PUBLIC WORSHIP SERVICES UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. You can always use our live streaming service on Sundays or TV viewing later in the week.
(COVID-19 Update 3-19-2020)
New Leaf UMC Family,
I’m writing to you to make sure we are all on the same page regarding the cancellation of Sunday worship services. I have received numerous phone calls and texts from a lot of you, as well as other parishioners because of the confusion. Some of you have been asking, “are we shutting down on March 22nd only? What about the following Sunday? What about other activities such as meetings, ministries, studies, etc.?” To help clear up the confusion, here is what we will do:
We will cancel all worship services on March 22nd. Since it has been recommended by the CDC that no more than 10 people gather, we will send an email to all of you when we know more from the bishop and the president to decide further action. I also believe that it is important to be consistent, therefore I am recommending that all church meetings, ministries, gatherings, etc., be cancelled. I’m sure you will agree with me that we can’t cancel worship services but continue with other church activities. Cancellations do include our Hillside Women’s Retreat which was to take place March 29 – 31.
We regret that we have to take these measures, however, due to the due diligence of our technical team (Jim and his crew) we are able to live stream our service on Facebook and our YouTube channel this Sunday morning at 9:00 am only. We have been doing this for a while and will continue during this time. If you are not able to live stream, you can watch it on your TV at 5 pm on Wednesday or at 5 pm on the following Sunday. It is on channel 6 thru Conneaut Cable or you can watch it on channel 1024 thru Spectrum. Thank you to our praise team, our pastors and our tech crew for making this possible.
Please continue to keep in touch with each other through texts, emails, telephone, Facebook, and most important that we continue to financially support the church and its ministries. To Give Online: Go to New Leaf’s website, www.newleafumc.com, and click on one of the “Donate” buttons, there is one on the top right side of the screen, one in the middle of the page, and one at the bottom of the page. This will take you to Vanco Services website where you will need to fill in your information. It’s very important to create a profile AND password for future donations. If you have any questions, please contact Melinda in the church office, 593-2525.
To Give by Text: Send a text message to 833-361-3682 with the amount you would like to contribute (example: 25). You will then be given additional instructions on how to complete the donation.
Bill Pay Through Your Own Bank: Enter New Leaf UMC as the creditor (as you would for any other bill). Use your envelope number for the Account Number and fill in the church’s address, 110 Gateway Ave., Conneaut, OH 44030 and phone number, 440-593-2525. If you’d like to also make a donation to the Capital Campaign or Building Fund you will need to set up a separate creditor, again using the church’s information, and putting “Building Fund” in for the account number. That will keep your contributions separate and ensure they go to the correct fund.
And, of course, there is always snail mail!
Friends, a lot has happened in a short period of time. Things are changing by the minute. It is so important that we make sure we are all on the same page. Let’s work together to make unified decisions as a church body to minimize future confusion. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Pastor Scott , Pastor Jan or our office. Remember, we are all in this together as we tread these unknown waters. Keep your eyes on Jesus – for HE IS ABLE! Romans 8:28 is a good verse to lean on – always.
In His Love,
Pastors Scott & Jan
(COVID-19 Update 3-14-2020)
New Leaf Church family,
In an effort to help curb the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Bishop Malone has asked all East Ohio churches to cancel public worship services effective today through March 27th. Pastor Scott and Pastor Jan will honor Bishop Malone’s request. However, you can still worship by watching our 9:00 am Live Stream on Facebook or YouTube. You can do this by going to our Facebook page OR by going to the church’s website, www.newleafumc.com, and clicking on the Live Stream link for Facebook or YouTube. The pastors, the Praise Team, and some of our IT people will be at church on Sunday morning in order to make the worship service available by Live Stream. Please help to pass the word along as not everyone is included on our email lists. Three separate email groups are sent but it still doesn’t reach everyone. It’s better for people to be told numerous times than not at all.
As of right now, the church office will remain open Monday - Friday as usual.
Please keep the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in your prayers as well as all of those affected by it.
For more information from the East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church on the Caronavirus please visit: