A Note from Mitchel
We have been giving much thought and prayer to how to best meet the needs of students right now, and Zoom has been invaluable in this ministry for the last 9 months in meeting these needs as best we can. However, there are still many needs going unmet, especially around community and resting from technology. After much consideration and prayer, we are confident in our ability to provide a responsible, safe, low-risk way for our youth to gather at Hamblen Park Presbyterian Church. This decision has been a long process, in dialogue and prayer with the staff, the youth committee, our COVID Action Committee, and with parents, through conversations and our survey.
The primary focus of our Caravan and Oasis ministries will shift from weekly Zoom meetings to weekly in-person small groups. This will be our first attempt at in-person gatherings with the youth, and so we will approach it with flexibility and keep a watchful eye on COVID numbers and current restrictions. With all of that said, here is the plan:
Caravan (Middle School) Weekly Small Groups:
Girls: Sunday Evenings, 6:00pm-7:00pm
Boys: Monday Evenings, 6:00pm-7:00pm
Oasis (High School) Weekly Small Groups:
Girls: Sunday Evenings, 7:30pm-8:30pm
Boys: Monday Evenings, 7:30pm-8:30pm
We will begin by having one gendered small group for Caravan and Oasis each. Going off of our Zoom numbers, this seems like a good starting point, and if numbers do start to increase for a group (10+ students) we will work towards further dividing that group (e.g high school boys into upperclassmen and lowerclassmen).
These groups will meet, play games, check-in, and have some form of teaching or curriculum, depending on the needs and desires of the group. The focus of these groups will primarily be on providing face-to-face community in a low-risk environment, as such it will not be program-heavy or teaching-heavy, but focused on providing spaces for them to have fun and check-in about life.
Meeting exclusively in small groups
Meetings limited to one hour long
Surfaces wiped down between Caravan and Oasis
Masks required at all times
No food or drink will be provided so that masks will always be worn
6 foot social distancing enforced
Temperature and symptom check upon arrival
In addition to our weekly small groups, we will also be offering some informal outdoor hangouts. These will take place in the church parking lot, nearby parks, or other similar outdoor locations. We will meet and play low/moderate risk (as determined by the state) sports together such as ultimate frisbee, disc golf, volleyball, and basketball. These will not be on a strict weekly schedule, but will happen occasionally. We will make sure to get the word out ahead of time on these hangouts, communicating via email and our social media pages.
Limited to one hour long
Masks required at all times, except for quick breathing breaks when at least 10 feet from others
6 foot social distancing enforced
All of these are in line with current government safety guidelines under the religious services sections, where we are allotted 25% of our maximum capacity, which we will be steering well clear of, and a host of other guidelines which we will be following. To be prudent, while our outdoor gatherings will still be categorized as a religious service provided, we will be using the current guidelines for team sports as an additional reference for appropriate conduct and safety measures.
Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns at the phone number or email below. I would be happy to talk with you personally about all of this.
Grace and peace,
Director of Student Ministries | Hamblen Park Presbyterian Church
firstname.lastname@example.org | (206) 739-6126