COVID-19 AND RE-OPENING news

SPECIAL NOTE: As an act of love and care for our community, the church office will be closed until further notice in observance of the State of North Carolina Stay-At-Home order. Staff members will be monitoring incoming mail, emails, and voicemail regularly. You can mail your giving to Benson Memorial UMC, 4706 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh, NC 27612, or visit bensonmemorial.org/give/ to give online. You can reach the pastor on call at (919) 342-8849. 


June 29, 2020

Grace and peace to each of you,
Our life together as we have known it as a church family has changed so much since March! We miss gathering together. We miss sharing the peace of Christ with a hug or handshake. We miss singing the songs of our faith alongside the voices of others. We miss sharing in holy  communion. We miss the joy of our children in the hallways and sanctuary. We miss the voices of our choir, the chimes, and instruments. Even though we are doing our best to be patient and make necessary adjustments in these days of crisis, our hearts still long to be near one another and worship side-by-side.
Even so, we give thanks to God for all the new and creative ways we’ve been able to continue our kingdom building work of witnessing to God’s presence and power in our lives individually and as a community of faith. We give thanks for those who lead our weekly worship services virtually, for your continued participation in worship, for fellowship and formational opportunities online like Bible Studies, Coffee Time, Story Time, UMYF, and VBS @ Home. We give thanks for the provision of the Amplify Media service which is enabling our Sunday School classes and small groups access to a variety of video curriculum for all ages! We also give thanks to God for the ways you have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to continue your generosity in financial giving to the church. In doing so, you have sustained our ministries and our life together as a family of faith.
Our Do No Harm Wellness Design/Planning Team has been preparing for and implementing necessary safety precautions for our campus, actively monitoring the realities of COVID-19 in our area, and discerning how best to live into John Wesley’s rule to “do no harm” as we seek to tend to our community of faith and protect those most vulnerable among us. We are being guided by and following the recommendations of the North Carolina Conference’s Model for Renewing Face-to-Face Community and Worship .
As North Carolina remains in Safer-at-Home Phase 2, we continue to observe the following:
  • All are encouraged to stay home and stay healthy.
  • Sunday morning worship services are online at 11:00 a.m. and produced by a small group of worship leaders.
  • Sunday School classes and small groups meet virtually.
  • The church office remains closed with staff working primarily from home.
  • Benson Memorial Preschool Summer Camp is closed.
  • Masks are required to be worn properly at all times (except for children under 11).
When we move into North Carolina’s Phase 3 by executive order from the Governor (no sooner than July 17) we will observe the following:
  • Church staff will continue to work primarily from home through at least Labor Day.
  • Preschool will remain closed through August.
  • We will not be gathering in any capacity for in-person Sunday morning services prior to Labor Day.
  • We will be looking for an extended steady decline in the number of lab confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the percentage of positive tests and hospitalizations in Wake County. We will be seeking advice from medical professionals and experts to help identify when it might be safe to gather indoors again in limited capacity.
  • Sunday morning 11:00 a.m. services will continue to be live-streamed with a small group of worship leaders.
  • Those most vulnerable to the virus will be encouraged to stay safe at home.
  • Sunday School classes will continue to meet virtually for the foreseeable future.
  • Small OUTDOOR gatherings may be scheduled on the church calendar for locations such as the courtyard, front lawn, amphitheater, parking lot, Scout hut area, and upper playground with these requirements:
  • Executive order limit for outdoor gatherings is 25 persons.
  • Must schedule gathering and specific outdoor location on the church calendar.
  • In addition to scheduling on the church calendar, a guest list must be provided to the church office within 24 hours of the event for contact tracing.
  • Park in designated parking spaces to give adequate space for social distancing.
  • No access to buildings/bathrooms.
  • No touching of others except immediate family members.
  • Must maintain social distance of 6 feet.
  • All those over the age of 11 must continually wear masks properly. If you don’t have a mask, one will be provided for you to keep.
  • Bring your own chair.
  • The sacrament of holy communion may be offered in small-group outdoor gatherings (10 to 12 persons) with a sign-up procedure. We will follow all precautions stated above and use individual single-serve, prepackaged communion sets with juice cups and wafers for each participant.  
Additional worship details for both NC Phase 2 and 3:
  • Funeral services are limited to a small number, following all safety precautions, with the possibility of a larger gathering at a later time.
  • 25 persons at graveside or columbarium and 10 persons inside, unless safe gathering number is raised by executive order.
  • Weddings are limited to the same numbers as above, following all safety precautions.
  • The sacrament of baptism may be scheduled with the pastors to take place as part of our live online Sunday morning services or wait until a time when we are able to gather safely.
May we boldly pray for one another’s health as we take action to prioritize the safety of one another, especially those most vulnerable among us.
With love and care for all,
Your Pastors and our Do No Harm Team:
Megan Alvord, Cortney Babajtis, Jeff Babajtis, Susan Brooks, April Cervi, Ann Collins, Jerry Crenshaw, Mary Elizabeth Hearn, PD Hill, Charlie Hobgood, Kate Johnson, Martha Johnston, Mike Jones, George Lee, Kelly Lyn Logue, Shannon Luxford, Carol Moore, Warren Reynolds, Kim Sylvester, Allen Till, Ginny Wise, Carol Wright