July 04, 2020

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COVID 19 UPDATES FROM THE SESSION

 

Strategies for Re-opening Church

(adopted by Session on June 17, 2020)


The Session of Outer Banks Presbyterian Church has approved closing the church facility to
meetings of church and tenant groups, allowing staff to work from home, electronic
communications with members and friends of the church, and live-streaming and recording
Sunday Worship Services, including permission for providing the Sacrament of Holy
Communion virtually. This Session directive is open-ended and is effective until further notice.
Governor Cooper’s last executive order regarding religious gatherings for worship allowed for
worship services to be conducted inside church buildings if 10 people or less are present, or
unlimited gatherings for worship or wedding services held outside. The Governor’s office
clarified if it is not possible for a place of worship to hold their services outside or through other
accommodations such as online, the 10-person limit does not apply and places of worship can
hold services inside with more than 10 people if they take steps to minimize exposure to the
coronavirus. Since Outer Banks Presbyterian Church has the ability to provide online live-
streaming of its services, this stipulation does not apply. Later, a Federal Court Judge reversed
Governor Cooper’s Phase I opening directives for churches. The US Centers for Disease Control
(CDC), which had published very specific guidelines for churches, and recommended social
distancing of at least six feet for individuals, while persons living in the same household could sit
together, provided they are six feet from the next individual or family unit, as well as the wearing
of facial masks at worship services, had dropped any mention of places of worship from their
publicly available documents. On May 25, 2020, the CDC reinstituted some guidelines and re-
established “recommendations” for social distancing and wearing masks. Although the CDC has
lessened its published guidelines for church gatherings, Dare County and the State of North
Carolina have embraced the CDC’s initial recommendations. Governor Cooper announced
Phase II reopening standards, but due to the Federal Judge’s reversal of his church reopening
standards in Phase I, the Governor chose not to appeal the Federal ruling and did not include
specific guidance for churches in his Phase II standards, which are effective through June 26,
2020. The Governor verbally encouraged churches, if opening, to allow a maximum of 10
people inside and maximum of 25 people at outside gatherings, and the wearing of facial masks.
The church’s Covid-19 Task Force has also consulted directives for reopening from the
Presbyterian Church USA and New Hope’s Executive Presbyter.

Considering all of the directives above the Task Force has developed strategies for reopening the
church for Worship Services at such future time as the Session determines that it is safe to
reopen the Church and gives at least ten days of advance notice. The Session will consider the
latest information based on science and data from the State of North Carolina, the CDC, and
Dare County. The Task Force believes that some Congregants will be hesitant to return for
worship if strict standards are not adopted and honored due to the vulnerability (age and
underlying medical conditions) of most church members to the Covid-19 virus. The task force
encourages all members who do attend in-person worship services to be aware of other people’s
personal desires regarding Covid-19 and beliefs about the virus. The Task Force believes many
members have taken personal steps to protect themselves, have followed all the rules and
recommendations, and may not want to return to church until there is a vaccination against the
virus, making it essential that the church continues to live stream and record services. Therefore,
the Task Force recommends the following action items to the Session for adoption for reopening
the church for worship services until further action is taken by the Session. When the Session
approved the recommendations below, the Session prayed for patience and respect for all
viewpoints about the best approaches to the coronavirus pandemic. The Session believes we
could all use a bit more humility, and the church should lead the way. “Walk in a manner
worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with
patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of
peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Adopted Actions for Reopening the Church when Session Approves
1. There will be two (2) worship services of a maximum of 50 people total at each service
on Sunday mornings, one beginning at 9:00 a.m. and the second beginning at 11:00 a.m.
Sunday School classes of 10 people or less could be held at 10:00 a.m., provided social
distancing and wearing face coverings/masks are practiced, and Sunday School may be
live-streamed and recorded for those who feel uncomfortable attending in person at this
time. The 11:00 a.m. service will be live-streamed and recorded. Children’s Church
will be held during the 9:00 am Worship Service, provided that no more than 10 children
attend. The Children’s Church will be held outside, weather permitting. A canopy will
be purchased for these outside meetings and for other church functions, as appropriate.
The Nursery will be opened for the 9:00 am service only, provided at least two persons
are staffing the Nursery at all times. Children’s Church and Nursery will be publicized
on the church website, electronic newsletters, and printed newsletters.
2. No more than 50 people total will be allowed inside the church for worship at either the
9:00 a.m. or the 11:00 a.m. services. Forty-five of these seating places will be allocated
to the Pastor, Music performers, and camera technicians, as well as to members of the
church. Five of these seating spaces will be allocated to visitors or “walk-ins.” The
Session has asked the Covid-19 Task Force to evaluate the use of the Fellowship Hall for
overflow attendance, if needed. Persons wanting to worship at the church must sign up
online or contact his/her Elder-Care Session Member to reserve a seat. The church will

send an automatic reply to confirm attendance. The electronic sign-up form,
recommended by Hollie Writtenberry, was approved by Session, provided the form also
allow persons to indicate whether or not they would have children to stay in the nursery
and how many.
3. Two ushers, one at the front door and one at the south door, would greet people and make
sure they remain at least six feet apart as they enter the Gathering Space. The ushers
would also social distance themselves.
4. A table will be placed in the Gathering Space near the double doors to the Sanctuary.
Bulletins, collection plates, and disposable facial masks will be placed on this table. An
usher will retrieve the contents of the collection plates at the beginning and ending of
each worship service and place in a secure location in the church office for a church
receiving treasurer.
5. Wearing facial masks is highly recommended when a person enters the church and during
the entire time a person is inside the Sanctuary and/or other church spaces. The church
will provide disposable masks for those arriving without a mask.
6. Four Elders will serve at the two worship services, two Elders serving at the 9:00 a.m.
service and two Elders serving at the 11:00 a.m. service. The Elders will greet
worshipers as they enter the Gathering Space and assist them in finding social distanced
seats in the Sanctuary. The Elders will open the two designated doors at 8:15 a.m. and
close the church after the 11:00 a.m. church. A fifth Elder will be assigned to serve as
alternate, if needed, while this style of worship lasts. Following a worship service, the
Elders in charge will assist in emptying the Sanctuary by leading the back rows out first,
and proceeding to the front rows, keeping those exiting at least six feet apart until they
are out of the church. Persons should not congregate in the Gathering Space, Fellowship
Hall, hallways, or Sunday School rooms in the church, and should exit the church
promptly. Persons are urged not to congregate in the parking lot unless they remain at
least six feet apart. Direct touching, hugging, or other body contact is strongly
discouraged. The Pastor and the Clerk of Session will develop tentative, temporary Elder
assignments for the affected Worship Services. Elders will not serve as ushers during
this time.
7. The Sanctuary will be organized to accomplish social distancing of six feet apart. There
will be appropriate seating for individuals and persons living in the same household.
Rows of seats will be color coded, one color for the 9:00 a.m. service and another color
for the 11:00 a.m. worship service, in order to avoid any person sitting in a previously
occupied seat. Nonie Booth will supervise this configuration of the Sanctuary to
accomplish social distancing.

8. Rev. Dr. Jody Moore will enter the Sanctuary wearing a facial mask. He would remove
his mask when he speaks during the Worship Service. Should persons wish to consult
with Dr. Moore, they would remain in their seats following the Worship Service, and he
would come to them, practicing social distancing. The 11:00 a.m. service will be live
streamed and recorded.
9. Music during worship services would be instrumental, with one or two musicians and
with one or two soloists or accompanists at the maximum, provided musicians and soloist
or accompanists social distance and consider wearing face masks when not performing or
singing. A liturgist may be incorporated in the worship service. Musicians and soloists
will transition to perform only when the choir anthem would usually be performed during
in-person worship and for a musical interlude (musical meditation). Since there will not
be Choir or Congregational singing when the church re-opens, some of the
Congregational singing responses now being live streamed will be phased out to match
the format that will be used when the church re-opens. Since there will be no Choir or
Congregational singing, the Order of Worship will transition to the following format:
The Prelude
The Welcome and Announcements
The Opening Prayer (by a Liturgist)
The Hymn of Praise (to be phased out after three more Sundays)
The Silent Prayer of Confession
The Assurance of God’s Forgiveness
The Gloria (to be phased out immediately)
The First Scripture Lesson (by the Liturgist)
Special Music (can be the soloist(s))
The Second Scripture Lesson
The Sermon
The Meditation (now to be called Musical Interlude and can include other musicians)
The Pastoral Prayer & the Lord’s Prayer
The Hymn of Sending (to be phased out after three more Sundays)
The Charge & Benediction
The Closing Response (to be phased out immediately)
The Postlude
10. “Friendship pads” will be removed from the Sanctuary. “Passing of the Peace” will be
done in-place by touching one’s heart and smiling. Dr. Moore will demonstrate this
practice, so all will know how it is done. Direct touching, hugging, or other body contact
is strongly discouraged as a courtesy to and in honor of all persons in the Sanctuary.
11. Holy Communion would be done virtually until further notice. The Session will consider
at a later date when to have in person communion. The new process for in-person
Communion would be one set of Elders plus the Pastor and one Elder (total of four)
stationed at the front of the Sanctuary. The Elder of the Month would assist in directing

persons to the front to receive Communion. Those taking Communion would walk to the
front of the Sanctuary to receive the Sacrament, practicing social distancing. They would
immediately return to their seats via the side aisles after taking the Elements. The
Worship Committee will purchase five stackable communion trays and five bread plates,
made of silver tone, polished aluminum and those items would be used hereafter, in a
manner determined by the Session. The cost is $303.01. Session authorized the funds to
come from the undesignated Memorial Fund. (An individual’s generous donation paid for
these new communion trays and plates)
12. There will be no coffee hours or food served during this time following the Worship
Services or at other times by church groups using the church. Tenant groups would not
be allowed use of the church until the Session makes a determination that they would be
allowed to return, which could be when the State of North Carolina enters Phase 3
initiatives. AA, when returning, would be allowed to prepare and serve coffee only,
provided they clean and sanitize with sanitizing wipes or sprays any areas they have used.
13. Bible studies of 10 or fewer people will be allowed in the church building when the
Governor places North Carolina into Phase 3 reopening, provided social distancing and
wearing facial masks are practiced.
14. The church library will be closed during Worship Services and no library books will be
displayed outside the library until the Session allows.
15. The Patriotic Concert for 2020 is cancelled.
16. Children’s Church will be held during the 9:00 am Worship Service, provided that no
more than 10 children attend. The children’s Church will be held outside, weather
permitting. A canopy shall be purchased at a cost of $149.99 for these outside meetings
and for other church functions, as appropriate. Session authorized funds for the canopy
to come from the undesignated Memorial Fund. The Nursery will be opened for the 9:00
am service only. These plans shall be publicized on the church website and electronic
newsletters. The Nursery will be thoroughly sanitized after each use.
17. Church tenant groups, such as AA, OBX Stamp Club, CoDA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts,
will be allowed to return when the Governor places North Carolina into Phase 3 re-
opening strategies, provided each group honors maximum assembly requirements the
Centers for Disease Control, the State of North Carolina and Governor Cooper’s Phase 3
initiatives, Dare County, and/or their respective parent organizations establishes. The
Session has now allowed the Scouts to meet outside on the church grounds provided they
adhere to the Governor’s recommendations on limits of numbers of people gathering.
The church encourages social distancing, wearing facial masks, and requires wiping
down all surfaces used and touched with disinfectant wipes or sprays before leaving the
building. Since initially no activities will be allowed at the church on Saturdays to ensure

that the church is properly sanitized and cleaned for Sunday worship services, AA will be
offered the opportunity when Phase 3 begins to schedule an additional evening meeting
on Mondays through Thursdays that does not conflict with other church events or
activities.
18. The church sexton will clean and sanitize the church on Mondays and Fridays each week
once in-person worship begins.
19. Vacation Bible School for 2020 will be known as Staycation Bible School using a
curriculum developed by the Presbyterian Church USA. Staycation Bible School is a
five-day curriculum that will be held virtually during the entire Month of July, and
coordinated and conducted by the Director of Youth and Young Families Ministries and
the Christian Education Committee. The Youth Group will be permitted to travel to
Montreat, NC for a “back home retreat” the week of July 18-25, 2020, provided the state
of North Carolina has moved into Phase 3 by that time. The youth will participate in an
on-line curriculum provided by Massanetta Springs and Montreat. Parents will sign a
liability waiver giving permission for their youth to participate.
20. The Session may make changes as circumstances warrant or that the Session deems
necessary and appropriate, based on observed behaviors and experiences and more data
and information that will become available. These guidelines for reopening the church
will be publicized on the church website, in the church newsletter, the mid-week E-news
of announcements and devotionals, and in the local news media. Elders will contact
persons on their Elder-care lists who may not have access to the Internet. Moderators
will be asked to let their committee members know about the guidelines.


May 26, 2020 Update:


The Session of Outer Banks Presbyterian Church has approved closing the church facility to meetings of church and tenant groups, allowing staff to work from home, electronic communications with members and friends of the church, and live-streaming and recording Sunday Worship Services, including permission for providing the Sacrament of Holy Communion virtually.  This Session directive is effective through June 7, 2020.


Governor Cooper’s last executive order regarding religious gatherings for worship allowed for worship services to be conducted inside church buildings if 10 people or less are present, or unlimited gatherings for worship or wedding services held outside.  The Governor’s office clarified if it is not possible for a place of worship to hold their services outside or through other accommodations such as online, the 10-person limit does not apply and places of worship can hold services inside with more than 10 people if they take steps to minimize exposure to the coronavirus.  Since Outer Banks Presbyterian Church has the ability to provide online live-streaming of its services, this stipulation does not apply.    Later, a Federal Court Judge reversed Governor Cooper’s Phase I opening directives for churches.  The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which had published very specific guidelines for churches, and recommended social distancing of at least six feet for individuals, while persons living in same household could sit together, provided they are six feet from the next individual or family unit, as well as the wearing of facial masks at worship services, had dropped any mention of places of worship from their publicly available documents. On May 25, 2020, the CDC reinstituted some guidelines and re-established “recommendations” for social distancing and wearing masks. Although the CDC has lessened its published guidelines for church gatherings, Dare County and the State of North Carolina have embraced the CDC’s initial recommendations.  Governor Cooper announced Phase II reopening standards, but due to the Federal Judge’s reversal of his church reopening standards in Phase I, the Governor chose not to appeal the Federal ruling and did not include specific guidance for churches in his Phase II standards, which are effective through June 26, 2020.  The Governor verbally encouraged churches, if opening, to allow a maximum of 10 people inside and maximum of 25 people at outside gatherings, and the wearing of facial masks.   The church’s Covid-19 Task Force has also consulted directives for reopening from the Presbyterian Church USA and New Hope’s Executive Presbyter.


Considering all of the directives above the Task Force has developed strategies for reopening the church for Worship Services after June 26, 2020, although this is a target date and is subject to change depending upon the Governor’s and/or Dare County’s future orders.  The Task Force believes that some Congregants will be hesitant to return for worship if strict standards are not adopted and honored due to the vulnerability (age and underlying medical conditions) of most church members to the Covid-19 virus.  The task force encourages all members who do attend in-person worship services to be aware of other people’s personal desires regarding Covid-19 and beliefs about the virus.  The Task Force believes many members have taken personal steps to protect themselves, have followed all the rules and recommendations, and may not want to return to church until there is a vaccination against the virus, making it essential that the church continues to live stream and record services.  Therefore, the Task Force recommends the following action items to the Session for adoption for reopening the church for worship services after June 26, 2020 or until further action is taken by the Session.  When the Session approved the recommendations below, the Session prayed for patience and respect for all viewpoints about the best approaches to the coronavirus pandemic. The Session believes we could all use a bit more humility, and the church should lead the way.  “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  (Ephesians 4:1-3)


Adopted Actions


  1. There will be two (2) worship services of a maximum of 50 people total at each service on Sunday mornings, one beginning at 9:00 a.m. and the second beginning at 11:00 a.m.  Sunday School classes of 10 people or less could be held at 10:00 a.m., provided social distancing and wearing face coverings/masks are practiced, and Sunday School may be live-streamed and recorded for those who feel uncomfortable attending in person at this time.  The 11:00 a.m. service will be live-streamed and recorded.   Children’s Church will be held during the 9:00 am Worship Service, provided that no more than 10 children attend.  The Children’s Church will be held outside, weather permitting.  A canopy will be purchased for these outside meetings and for other church functions, as appropriate.  The Nursery will be opened for the 9:00 am service only, provided at least two persons are staffing the Nursery at all times.  Children’s Church and Nursery will be publicized on the church website, electronic newsletters, and printed newsletters.


  1. No more than 50 people total will be allowed inside the church for worship at either the 9:00 a.m. or the 11:00 a.m. services.  Persons wanting to worship at the church must sign up online or contact his/her Elder-Care Session Member to reserve a seat.  The church will reply to confirm attendance.


  1. Two ushers, one at the front door and one at the south door, would greet people and make sure they remain at least six feet apart as they enter the Gathering Space.  The ushers would also social distance themselves.


  1. A table will be placed in the Gathering Space near the double doors to the Sanctuary.  Bulletins, collection plates, and disposable facial masks will be placed on this table.  An usher will retrieve the contents of the collection plates at the beginning and ending of each worship service and place in a secure location in the church office for a church receiving treasurer.


  1. Wearing facial masks is highly recommended when a person enters the church and during the entire time a person is inside the Sanctuary and/or other church spaces.  The church will provide disposable masks for those arriving without a mask.


  1. Four Elders will serve at the two worship services, two Elders serving at the 9:00 a.m. service and two Elders serving at the 11:00 a.m. service.  The Elders will greet worshipers as they enter the Gathering Space and assist them in finding social distanced seats in the Sanctuary.  The Elders will open the two designated doors at 8:15 a.m. and close the church after the 11:00 a.m. church.  A fifth Elder will be assigned to serve as alternate, if needed, while this style of worship lasts.  Following a worship service, the Elders in charge will assist in emptying the Sanctuary by leading the back rows out first, and proceeding to the front rows, keeping those exiting at least six feet apart until they are out of the church.   Persons should not congregate in the Gathering Space, Fellowship Hall, hallways, or Sunday School rooms in the church, and should exit the church promptly. Persons are urged not to congregate in the parking lot unless they remain at least six feet apart.  Direct touching, hugging, or other body contact is strongly discouraged.  The Pastor and the Clerk of Session will develop tentative, temporary Elder assignments for the affected Worship Services.  Elders will not serve as ushers during this time.


  1. The Sanctuary will be organized to accomplish social distancing of six feet apart.  There will be appropriate seating for individuals and persons living in the same household.  Seats will be color coded, one color for the 9:00 a.m. service and another color for the 11:00 a.m. worship service, in order to avoid any person sitting in a previously occupied seat.  Nonie Booth will supervise this configuration of the Sanctuary to accomplish social distancing.


  1. Rev. Dr. Jody Moore will enter the Sanctuary wearing a facial mask.  He would remove his mask when he speaks during the Worship Service.  Should persons wish to consult with Dr. Moore, they would remain in their seats following the Worship Service, and he would come to them, practicing social distancing.  The 11:00 a.m. service will be live streamed and recorded.  


  1. Music during worship services would be instrumental only, with one soloist or accompanist at the maximum.  Musicians and/or soloists are recommended to wear facial masks, except when singing or playing.  There would be no Choir or Congregational singing.  The members of the COVID-19 task force and the church’s music director are encouraged to continue conversations about church music as more studies and information becomes available. Those who prefer to worship at home may do so via the recorded services.   


  1. “Friendship pads” will be removed from the Sanctuary.  “Passing of the Peace” will be done in-place by touching one’s heart and smiling.  Dr. Moore will demonstrate this practice, so all will know how it is done.  Direct touching, hugging, or other body contact is strongly discouraged as a courtesy to and in honor of all persons in the Sanctuary.


  1. Holy Communion would be done virtually for June 2020. The July 2020 Sacrament of Holy Communion would be cancelled.  The Session will consider at a later date whether to have in person communion as early as August 2020.  The new process for in-person Communion would be one set of Elders plus the Pastor and one Elder (total of four) stationed at the front of the Sanctuary.    The Elder of the Month would assist in directing persons to the front to receive Communion. Those taking Communion would walk to the front of the Sanctuary to receive the Sacrament, practicing social distancing.  They would immediately return to their seats via the side aisles after taking the Elements.  The Worship Committee will purchase five stackable communion trays and five bread plates, made of silver tone, polished aluminum and those items would be used hereafter, in a manner determined by the Session.  The cost is $303.01. Session authorized the funds to come from the undesignated Memorial Fund. 


  1. There will be no coffee hours or food served during this time following the Worship Services or at other times by church groups using the church.  Tenant groups would not be allowed to use the kitchen to prepare coffee or food.  No outside food of any type will be served in the church during this time unless or until the State of North Carolina or Dare County allow.  AA would be allowed to prepare and serve coffee only, provided they clean and sanitize with sanitizing wipes or sprays any areas they have used.


  1. Bible studies of 10 or fewer people will be allowed in the church building after June 26, 2020, provided social distancing and wearing facial masks is practiced.


  1. The church library will be closed during Worship Services and no library books will be displayed outside the library.


  1. The Patriotic Concert for 2020 is cancelled.  


  1.   Children’s Church will be held during the 9:00 am Worship Service, provided that no more than 10 children attend.  The children’s Church will be held outside, weather permitting.  A canopy shall be purchased at a cost of $149.99 for these outside meetings and for other church functions, as appropriate.  Session authorized funds for the canopy to come from the undesignated Memorial Fund.  The Nursery will be opened for the 9:00 am service only, provided at least two persons are staffing the Nursery at all times. These plans shall be publicized on the church website and electronic newsletters.  The Nursery will be thoroughly sanitized after each use.


  1. Church tenant groups, such as AA, OBX Stamp Club, CoDA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, will be allowed to return when the church reopens after June 26, 2020, provided each group honors maximum assembly requirements the Centers for Disease Control, the State of North Carolina and Governor Cooper’s Phase III initiatives, Dare County, and/or their respective parent organizations establishes.  The church encourages social distancing, wearing facial masks, and requires wiping down all surfaces used and touched with disinfectant wipes or sprays before leaving the building.  Since no activities will be allowed at the church on Saturdays in order to protect worshipers on Sundays, AA will be offered the opportunity to schedule an additional evening meeting on Mondays through Thursdays that does not conflict with other church events or activities. 


  1. The church sexton will clean and sanitize the church on Mondays and Fridays each week.


  1. Vacation Bible School for 2020 is cancelled for outside community people.  The Director of Youth and Young Families Ministries is attempting to develop alternative plans, which may include a virtual VBS or the possibility for a shorter VBS at the church limited to under 10 people from our own church family. All plans will be made in conjunction with the Christian Education Committee. Session will be advised of these plans and will approve those plans in advance.


  1. The Session may make changes as circumstances warrant or that the Session deems necessary and appropriate, based on observed behaviors and experiences at previous church services and more data and information that will become available.  These guidelines for reopening the church will be publicized on the church website, in the church newsletter, the mid-week E-news of announcements and devotionals, and in the local news media.  Elders will contact persons on their Elder-care lists who may not have access to the Internet.  Moderators will be asked to let their committee members know about the guidelines.



April 29 Update:

The Session of Outer Banks Presbyterian Church has previously adopted directives for facility use and worship services on March 13, March 20, and March 31, in response to the Covid-19 virus and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, the State of North Carolina, and Dare County.


The church facility has been closed to all tenant groups, as well as church-related groups since the Session’s initial action.  Our church staff has been able to enter the church, provided they practiced social distancing recommended by the CDC.  Staff has been encouraged to work from home as much as possible.  Since closure, Rev. Dr. Jody Moore has provided mid-week devotionals and announcements through an emailed newsletter to all members with email addresses. Dr. Moore has further recorded and live-streamed his weekly sermons, including Sundays prior to Holy Week, Maundy Thursday (which included Communion), Easter Sunday, and all Sundays thereafter.  On April 6, 2020, the Finance Committee submitted a Paycheck Protection Program application to the US Small Business Administration through Towne Bank, receiving $36,900, which is enabling the church to keep all personnel on payroll and not interrupt their employment.


The Covid-19 Task Force, appointed by Dr. Moore, composed of Nonie Booth, Judy Whittle, Jody Moore, and Gary McGee met electronically on April 25, 2020 and considered the following current information:

* North Carolina’s “Stay at Home” order by Governor Cooper has been extended to May 8, although     citizens can go to grocery stores, pharmacies, and the like for essential services.  NC public schools are closed for the rest of the school year.

* Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited by both North Carolina and Dare County.

*Dare County “Stay at Home, Stay Healthy” order has been extended to May 22.

*Dare County now requires face masks or coverings to be worn in all public places.

*The Governor’s order of April 23, 2020 states that places of worship may begin to re-open two to three weeks after May 8, provided social distancing requirements are met and face masks or coverings are worn.  Therefore, it appears that May 22 could be the earliest date the church could re-open on a new normal basis.  Dr. Moore is researching how other churches are re-opening in stages and will present and discuss those recommendations with the Task Force and the Session.


Based on this information, the Covid-19 Task Force recommends that the Session extend its existing directives for church facility usage, office practices, electronic communications with the Congregation and live-streamed, recorded Worship Services through May 22, 2020.  Further, the Session authorizes Rev. Dr. Moore to provide virtual Holy Communion Services on first Sundays of each month as long as the restrictions regarding Covid-19 remain in place.

The Session also authorizes Elders on an individual optional basis to provide in-home Communion for members, who provide their own bread and wine/grape juice, and who have indicated a desire to receive Communion at their homes, provided the Elders honor social distancing and wear face coverings or masks while visiting.


The Session agreed for the family of Judy Dempsey to place her ashes in the Bible Garden at an arranged time when Covid-19 restrictions allow.  The family has asked to place Judy’s ashes during Memorial Day weekend or later.   Judy’s husband’s and daughter’s ashes are already in the Bible Garden.


The task force will continue to monitor orders by the Stat and Dare County and will recommend any appropriate modifications to the Session. 

 



March 31 Update:

The church’s COVID-19 Task Force met on March 30, 2020 outside the church in the vicinity of the playground on the east side of the church.  Task force members present were Elder Judy Whitte, Worship Moderator Nonie Booth, Administration Moderator and Clerk of Session Gary McGee, and Rev. Dr. Jody Moore.  The task force meets every two weeks and carefully monitors actions of the State of North Carolina and the Centers for Disease Control to develop recommendations for the Session.  Most recently, Governor Roy Cooper had issued Executive Order 121 on March 27, 2020, and the CDC had updated recommendations to continue to practice social distancing of at least 6 feet and no assemblies of people exceeding 10 people.  

The two Session actions dated March 13, 2020 and March 20, 2020 continue in force and are modified as follows:

  1. The timeframe covered by this third action by the Session includes April 5, 2020 through April 30, 2020, which is consistent with Governor Cooper’s Order and decrees by President Trump.

  2. Places of Worship are not closed per Governor Cooper’s order.  However, the task force recommends that the church remain closed to all church groups and tenant groups through the end of April.  Salaried employees, Jody Moore, Jason Evans, and Hollie Writtenberry, may enter the church as they wish, provided no more than 10 people are there at any one time and social distancing of at least 6 feet is honored, and they sanitize any surfaces they touch before leaving.  Church Office Manager Cathie Feild, an hourly employee, may also enter the church as she wishes, provided no more than 10 people are there at any one time and social distancing of at least 6 feet is honored, and she sanitizes any surfaces touched by her before she leaves. All salaried and hourly employees are encouraged to work from home, however, provided they can accomplish essential tasks they need to complete. The Church Sexton, Brenda Feury, a contract employee, will continue to clean on her regular schedule, and she will use this time also to sanitize all surfaces, door handles, as well as other deep cleaning and spring cleaning of all areas of the facility.

  3. Church Office Manager Cathie Feild should sign all birthday and anniversary cards and caring cards in behalf of the Session until a normal schedule is again realized.

  4. Dr. Moore will continue to live-stream worship services at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays through the end of April 2020.  He will live-stream messages on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday at 12:00 noon each day.  Palm Sunday and Easter services will be live-streamed at 10:00 a.m.  The Communion Service planned for Maundy Thursday will be done virtually, that is Dr. Moore will announce that those wanting to participate from home should have bread and wine or grape juice available as he leads the serving of the Sacraments. It was acknowledged that technical difficulties prevented live streaming this past Sunday, March 29, 2020, so the service went online via Facebook, and is also now available for viewing on the church website.  Dr. Moore thinks the technical difficulty on March 29 could have been a camera battery, which he will be pursue.  If the glitch is not battery-related, technical assistance will be sought from the vendor either in person or via telephone.  If the technical problems with live-steaming cannot be resolved by the time of the next service, Dr. Moore will record his messages at least 24 hours in advance and post same on the website for viewing at the worship times.

  5. Dr. Moore is to have his weekly announcements and weekly devotional sent to all members and friends by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.  The church office manager will coordinate distribution.

  6. The task force recommends that the 2019 Easter Musical, “Alabaster Box,” be placed on the website as a single, separate item for viewing.

  7. The task force recommends that Music Director Jason Evans be allowed to secure and include one additional musician to participate in the services on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, in accordance with and approval of Dr. Moore.

  8. Nonie Booth informs Session that she has cancelled the Easter Lily order with Central Gardens, but cannot cancel the Eco-palm order because the palms have already been harvested.  Nonie will place two (2) arrangements of palms at the front doors of the church on Palm Sunday weekend, and she encourages all members and friends to drive by that weekend and take some of the palms home to celebrate Palm Sunday.  A palm arrangement will be visible at the Pulpit on Palm Sunday.  On Easter Sunday, the church’s wire cross will be at the entrance to the church during Easter weekend.  Members and friends of the church are encouraged to come by the church and place fresh flowers in the cross in celebration of the Resurrection and New Life. 

  9. The task force considered the death of Etta Parrott, and the need to schedule her funeral service.  The task force recommends that Dr. Moore contact her family and encourage the family to wait until after conditions allow for the larger gatherings at church.  While we remain under the present restrictions in the near future, if there are any families who want small private funerals for 10 people or less, the Session will consider if such a service may be permitted.  

  10.   The task force reviewed a report from Barbara Nock, who is coordinating services and requests by members and friends who need grocery shopping assistance or pharmacy pickup assistance, or assistance of any type.  Barbara reported that 22 members volunteered to help, and one (1) person has asked for assistance, which was accomplished.

 March 20 Update:

This document, which constitutes an action of the Session taken by electronic vote, does not replace but supplements prior electronic actions of the Session, dated March 13, 2020--that is, Worship Services are suspended for two weeks, through March 22, 2020, and guidelines approved for interactions of members and friends and use of church facilities.  At that time, Session guidelines did not prevent Alcoholics Anonymous, Co-dependence Anonymous, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or the church youth group from using church facilities. The Session suspended the weekly Lenten worship services and luncheons, which are planned by the North Dare Ministerial Association, through March 25. However:

  1.  Effective on the date of Session’s approval, and in accordance with recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), all activities and uses of the church facilities shall be suspended for 15 calendar days thereafter, until or about April 5, 2020.  During this 15-day period, known as “the President’s 15-day Guidance for Curtailing the Spread of the Covid-19 Virus” and published by the CDC, there shall be no assemblies of people of any type (AA, CoDA, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, or any other tenants or church groups) allowed in the facility.  Members shall not use the church building for any gatherings and may not enter for any purpose. On the last cleaning day prior to these mandates going into effect, the church Sexton will thoroughly clean and disinfect the counter tops, tables, chairs, and other common surfaces in the church building.  The Sexton will continue to clean and disinfect during her regular cleaning schedule. Staff is encouraged to work from home and if they come into the building at the same time, they must keep six to 10 feet away from one another. 

  2. An exception to entry during this time will be Rev. Dr. Jody Moore, as well as someone to operate the camera, and the church music director (a total of three people) for the purpose of streaming sermons and a simplified worship service on Sunday mornings at 10:00 am.  Session hereby approves Rev. Dr. Moore to perform this function at the church, provided all surfaces touched shall be disinfected prior to departure and provided all three individuals remain 6 to 10 feet apart at all times. Employees shall work from home if possible, and there will be no lapse in compensation for the Pastor, the Office Manager, Music Director, the Director of Youth, Children, and Young Families Ministry, or the Sexton.  During this 15 day period, the church office manager may enter the office area of the church for the purpose of going by the Post Office to check for mail or other correspondence, processing same, and preparing and distributing checks to pay bills as necessary. When the Office Manager departs the facilities, she should disinfect any surface with which she came in contact. 

  3. Easter musicals are hereby cancelled. 

  4. Before the conclusion of these 15 days, the Task Force will re-evaluate local, statewide, and national circumstances regarding the Covid-19 virus, and make further recommendations to the Session for the next eight to 20 weeks, which could likely include allowing tenants to re-enter the facilities in accordance with their state or national organizational guidelines.

  5. All remaining Lenten Worship Services will be cancelled.  

  6. The Session meeting on March 31st is cancelled as part of the 15-day period.  Session will consider any needed business during this time during email and/or phone consultations with the possibility of a conference call or video conferencing. 

  7. Session hereby adopts a two-week “rolling” process of consideration and approval of further actions in regard to church facility usage and church activities. 

  8. As we seek to be of support to one another during this time of emergency, members may contact the church office or a coordinator if they are willing to bring food or supplies to the door of those members who cannot leave their homes. A coordinator will collect a list of those who are willing to help other church members who require assistance. Members who are in need of food or supplies should let us know of your need and we will try to find someone to help.  Elder Barbara Nock will serve as coordinator for this effort. Please email her at nocktwice@embarqmail.com" style="text-decoration-line: none;">nocktwice@embarqmail.com  or call her at 252-255-5979.  There is some limited financial support available for our church members during this time of crisis from the church’s Benevolence Fund—please contact  Rev. Dr. Moore directly if you need those funds. Members who pick up supplies for those in need may be reimbursed directly from the individual they are assisting or from the Church’s Benevolence Fund. 

  9. The church appreciates all those who continue to support the church with your prayers and with your contributions during this time.  If you want to give to the church, you may give on-line on the church’s website: www.outerbankspresbyterian.org (use the green “Give Now” button) or by mailing a check to the church at: Outer Banks Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 2199, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948. The One Great Hour of Sharing offering will be postponed until the church returns to a normal schedule.

  10. During Holy Week (April 5-12, 2020) as long as the CDC recommendations allow for the practice, the Sanctuary will be open for individual prayer.  When praying in the Sanctuary, please remember to stay 6 to 10 feet away from any other person. If any members would like to pray with Rev. Dr. Moore or need his assistance during this time, they should contact him atrevjody.moore@gmail.com" style="text-decoration-line: none;">revjody.moore@gmail.com   or 252-715-2223. 

  11. For the next few weeks, Dr. Moore will prepare devotionals that will include messages, Bible readings, and special thoughts that will be emailed to all members.  Dr. Moore or the church office will further send announcements of interest to the members and friends of the church at the time of those emails.

  12. The church sign in front of the church at Highway 158 shall indicate that church activities and services are suspended “until further notice.”


March 13 Update:

As a result of concerns voiced by several members of the Congregation and recommendations from the Presbytery of New Hope regarding the Coronavirus (Covid – 19 Virus) and the current flu season, Dr. Moore created a task force to develop preparedness steps our church could take. The task force, composed of Nonie Booth, Judy Whittle, Gary McGee, and Rev. Dr. Moore, met on March 10, 2020 and presents the following recommendations, which are consistent with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, the State of Emergency declared in North Carolina by Governor Roy Cooper, and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.


Here are some steps we can take immediately.  The task force will re-evaluate recommendations as conditions change.


  • Members and friends who are sick are encouraged to stay home and stay away from others, seeking medical care if needed.  Everyone is encouraged when they cough to cover coughs, use a disposable tissue or cough into elbows and not into hands. People are also encouraged not to touch face, eyes, mouth, or nose.  All of us are encouraged to wash hands often with soap and water, turn off the faucet with paper towels, and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers if hand washing is not available.

  • Members, friends, and others who are sick are encouraged to watch Worship Services online as our Services are now live-streamed

  • We are discouraging physical contact like handshakes or hugs at any time at church and are encouraging waves, peace signs, or hand over heart.  Dr. Moore will announce this from the Pulpit.

  • Friendship pads will be removed from the Sanctuary and replaced by friendship cards, which visitors will be asked to complete and place in collection plates.  Members and regular attendees will not need to complete cards.

  • Offering plates will be placed at Sanctuary exit doors for deposit of gifts and friendship cards.  The ushers will be asked to staff each collection plate. The Elder of the Month will extend the invitation to give, advise of this collection process, and give the Prayer of Dedication. Persons unable to attend Worship Services may make Pledge payments or make financial gifts online at the church’s website or mail checks to the church office.

  • The serving of Communion will be modified, but the task force will re-evaluate the circumstance after several weeks.  There will be no Communion Service on Palm Sunday and Communion will be served at the Maundy Thursday worship service.  Dr. Moore will be the only person to use a Chalice. Worshipers will in the meantime be served juice from small disposable cups.  Bread will be pre-cut and served on pewter plates to be purchased.

  • There will be coffee and lemonade only served after worship services.  No food will be served. It is requested that pre-made lemonade in containers be purchased at grocery stores.

  • Lenten lunches will proceed. After Lent, the church will discourage service of food at the church.

  • Dr. Moore will limit his visitations to rest homes, retirement centers, and the like.  He will not visit persons who are sick at home. Instead, he will make phone calls, and visit only in the direst of circumstances.  In-home Communion service will be suspended immediately.

  • As far as it is practical and possible, church committees and the Session will be encouraged to utilize electronic or telephonic meetings.

  • Hand sanitizer bottles will be placed throughout the church.  Use them.

  • The Sexton will be directed to use Clorox wipes or equivalent on surfaces and door handles at each cleaning.






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