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. 


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Benson Memorial Friends,
 
On the homestretch . . . that’s what the announcer calls it when the horses turn the last corner in a race, to the final straightaway that leads to the finish line. It seems like that’s where we are now in relation to this pandemic. After months and months of feeling like it would never end, we can now see the finish line as we prepare to gather again in our sanctuary for worship. The metrics we’ve been watching carefully (number of tests, hospitalizations and percentage of positive tests in Wake County) are headed in the right direction as well as the percentage of the population being vaccinated. Finally, we are getting there! Thanks be to God!
That said, this last bit, the homestretch, may be the hardest. 
 
We want to make it to the finish line strong and safely, caring for one another, especially those most vulnerable, by keeping our first general rule as United Methodists as our guide: Do No Harm.
Our Do No Harm Team has been working together to keep our community safe since last March and continues to monitor safety measures as we are looking for the goal of the percentage of positive tests in Wake County to reach 3% or lower for three consecutive weeks (Wake Co. is at 5% as of 3/24/21.). We are hopeful that the increase in travels and variants will not lead to another spike in cases. We will meet again after Easter to assess where we are, and, if the trends continue downward, we can anticipate gathering once again in our sanctuary for worship; possibly as soon as early summer. You can read all the details of our plan here.
Out of our love for one another, when we do gather again indoors for worship, it will be at limited capacity with strict safety measures. Also, out of our love for one another and our witness to the community, we will continue to offer worship online. 
We anticipate our first phase of restoring indoor worship to include the following:
 8:45 a.m. service, in-person
  • Preregistration required
  • Attendance cap at 45 (including all worship servants/leaders)
  • Waiting list
  • Only those preregistered will be allowed to attend
  • Park in designated parking spaces (without orange cones) to give adequate space for social distancing
  • Check in table opens at 8:15 a.m.
  • Masks (5 years old and older) and safe distance required for all attendees
  • Temperature checks
  • New protocols in place for ushers and greeters
  • Ushers will seat each household (from front to back) and also dismiss each row (from back to front)
  • Simplified worship order will be displayed on screen
  • No vocalists
  • No congregational singing (until 80% of population is vaccinated)
  • Instrumental music only
  • No passing of offering plates (offering plates stationed on stands in aisles)
  • No nursery/child care
  • Restrooms available in Fellowship Hall (enter from front/exit side or back); handicap/family restroom only in narthex
  • Families stay together
  • Will not be filmed
11:00 a.m. service, livestream, online only
  • No congregation in person
  • Only small group of worship leaders
  • Song leader(s) leading singing and special vocal music may be offered
  • Online Bulletin-Beacon
 
We continue to offer outdoor opportunities for worship and gathering on campus locations in our courtyard, front lawn, amphitheater, parking lot, scout hut area, and upper play ground with these requirements:
  • Outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 50 persons maintaining social distance of 6 feet
  • Must schedule gathering and specific outdoor location on the church calendar at https://www.bensonmemorial.org/home/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 (without orange cones) to give adequate space for social distancing
  • No access to buildings/bathrooms
  • No touching of others (except immediate family members)
  • All those over the age of 5 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 with a sign-up procedure, following all precautions stated above, using individual single-serve prepackaged communion sets with juice cup and wafer for each participant. 
 
As we make this turn towards the homestretch with gathering in our sanctuary again for worship in sight, we recognize this may be the hardest time of waiting in this long challenging season of being apart. So, we ask for your continued patience, understanding, and resilience as we have the finish line in sight. Thank you for your faithfulness and for staying connected as we try to finish this race strong and safely.
As the Apostle Paul encouraged the Corinthians: “Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corin. 15:58)
Pastor Kelly Lyn and our Do No Harm Team
Ann Collins, Jerry Crenshaw, PD Hill, Allen Till, Susan Brooks, Ginny Wise, April Cervi, Carol Moore, George Lee, Megan Alvord, Warren Reynolds, Charlie Hobgood, Kim Sylvester, Carol Wright, Shannon Luxford, Martha Johnston, Mary Elizabeth Hearn, Cortney Babajtis, Jeff Babajtis, Mike Jones
 
Pastor On Call
If you need to reach one of our pastors
when the church office is closed, please call this number:
(919) 342-8849
Visit us online at:
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Use #bensonmemorialumc and @bensonmemorialumc
to tag us on social media when sharing your experiences!
 

Our North Carolina Annual Conference Ministries of Disaster Response is serving at mass vaccination clinics. In fact, our North Carolina United Methodists have assisted more than 7000 persons in Cumberland County receive their vaccines. More volunteers are needed throughout the state. If you’d like to serve please contact Al Miller at al.miller@nccumc.org.

Sources for Covid-19 Vaccinations

Below is a summary of organizations used by Benson Memorial members to get Covid-19 vaccinations. If you need help registering online, please call Dee Springsteen, (989) 287-3430. If you know of  other vaccine providers, please call or email them to dee.springsteen@gmail.com so we can update the list.

 

UPDATE FROM WRAL NEWS

https://www.wral.com/where-can-I-get-the-covid-19-vaccine-in-my-county/19466004/

 

WAKE COUNTY

 

Duke Health (various locations)

https://www.dukehealth.org/covid-19-update/join-waiting-list

 

Neighborhood Health

The Summit Church – Blue Ridge Campus

3249 Blue Ridge Rd., Raleigh, NC 27612

https://neighborhealthcenter.org/vaccine-signup/

 

Wake County Public Health (various locations)

https://covid19.wakegov.com/vaccine/

Phone: (919) 250-1515

 

Wake Med (various locations)

https://mychart.wakemed.org/MyChart-PRD/Authentication/Login

 

Walgreens (various locations)

walgreens.com/schedulevaccine

 

CVS

https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing?icid=cvs-home-hero1-link1-coronavirus-testing

 

UNC Health (various locations)

https://www.unchealthcare.org/coronavirus/vaccines/phase-1b-covid-19-vaccine/?_ga=2.222318363.1087487408.1613482681-204403835.1613482681

Phone: (984) 215-5485 (Mon./Fri., 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

 

OUTSIDE WAKE COUNTY

 

Realo Discount Drugs

6030 U.S. Hwy 301 S, Four Oaks, NC 27524

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS879US879&sxsrf=ALeKk01MQTZJ7vdiixMaIXdMsq73NCSZVg:1613322936435&q=realo+discount+drugs+four+oaks+phone&ludocid=16436116190089870318&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjnl5Wk8OnuAhUBmuAKHTySBCoQ6BMwCXoECAgQAg

Phone: (919) 980-4031

 

TIPS FOR RECEIVING THE VACCINE:

  • Try calling the vaccine providers later in the afternoon or at dinner time.
    Many folks have had good luck making appointments then.
  • Stay well hydrated before and after getting the shot to avoid side effects.