Due to the continued increase in the 14 day rolling average of new COVID cases in Sedgwick County and the fact that the hospital status assessment continues to be “cautious,” the Safe Reopening Task Force has decided to return to Phase 3 of our plan for reopening the building effective today, August 18. Phase 3 allows for outdoor and online worship and indoor gatherings for small groups of all ages.
Not only do we meet the criteria that we define to reverse movement in our phases, but we are seeing exponential community spread and feel that our call to love our neighbor demands for us to respond.
Unvaccinated persons, especially our children and youth under 12 years of age, are incredibly vulnerable right now. Our hospital system is at capacity and healthcare professionals and support staff are weary and traumatized. We must each do our part individually and collectively to diminish the spread of COVID in our community. We are making this decision from a deep desire to contribute to the common good and the health of our community at large.
We want to acknowledge that this news is probably received by you with many feelings in your heart. Relief. Disappointment. Frustration. Anger. Shock. Confusion. Gratitude. We also have a mixture of feelings in our hearts and we lament that this is the decision that needs to be made at this moment.
The last year and a half has been a long, hard journey of ups and downs, most of which are out of our control. We are walking this unwanted path--a journey that we didn’t want to take. Yet, here we are, walking this path and the good news is that we do not walk alone. We walk with each other and we walk with God.
You can read our full reopening plan on our website at
Below you will find details for Phase 3 that will give you useful information for preparing for Sunday worship, Sunday School, and other
activities at CHUM this coming week.
Phase 3 effective 08.18.2021
Can we attend worship in-person?
Starting this Sunday 8/22/2021, in-person worship will be offered outside in the north parking lot. At 9:00 am, the traditional service will take place in the parking lot. Our choir will be present and there will be opportunities for congregational singing and responsive liturgy.
At 10:15 am, the contemporary service will take place in the parking lot. The band will play, we’ll share in the 4 Directions Blessing, and ring the singing bowl.
What happens in the case of rain or other inclement weather?
If inclement weather is predicted, we will decide on Saturday night whether or not we will have outdoor worship the following morning. We will post any cancellation on our Facebook page and church website no later than 8 pm on Saturday or you can call the office (316-683-4643) Sunday morning after 8 am to find out whether services will be offered outdoors that day. In the case of cancellation of the outdoor service, you are invited to worship with us online.
Will worship be available online?
Yes! Every Sunday our outdoor services will be streamed to Facebook Live at 9:00 am and 10:15 am. We will not be able to livestream to our website in real-time, but the outdoor services will be available on the website worship recording archive by Monday at 5 pm.
In addition, to make worship accessible for those who do not use Facebook, we will publish a pre-recorded service at 9:00 am on Sundays to the livestream on the CHUM website.
What’s the set-up in the north parking lot?
Bring your lawn chair or blanket if you’d like to sit outside in the parking lot. We’ll mark social distancing circles to help you space out. Or, you may park by the playground or community garden and listen from your car.
Does it matter where I park?
It’s helpful if most cars are parked in the west parking lot to keep the north parking lot available for outdoor worship!
Do I need to wear a mask?
We ask that you either wear a mask or social distance while you are outside. During worship when we are spread out, feel free to remove your mask. Whenever you are mingling before or after worship, please wear a mask when you move closer to someone to talk with them.
Do I need to make a reservation for outdoor worship?
There is no limit on the number who can attend outdoor worship and we will not do contact tracing for outdoor events. Therefore, there’s no need to make a reservation. Just show up if you feel moved on a Sunday morning!
What happens with Sunday School for children, youth, and adults?
Sunday School classes for all ages continue in the building, with masks and social distancing. Children’s Sunday School takes place in the Children’s Ministry Center downstairs and Youth Sunday School takes place in the Youth Ministry Center upstairs. Some adult Sunday school classes have chosen to meet on Zoom, so check with the leader of your group to find out how your class is meeting.
As has been our most recent policy, masks and social distancing are required while in the building and no food is to be served indoors.
What door do I use to access the building for Sunday School?
Everyone attending Sunday School (or dropping off children to attend Sunday School) needs to enter and exit the building through the west door (near the fellowship hall) door. There will be a quick health screening at the door before you head to your room. Attendance will be taken in the classrooms by the leader, so there is no need to fill out the check-in log.
Will there be children and youth programming?
The nursery will not be open on Sunday mornings. However, Sunday School for children (4 years-4th grade) and youth (5th-12th grade) will be offered at 10:15 am on Sunday mornings. They will meet indoors in the Children Ministry Center and the Youth ministry center, respectively. We will offer occasional fellowship opportunities for children, youth, and their families to gather outside.
Can other small groups meet in the building?
Yes! Small groups of 20 or fewer people can gather in the building with masks and social distancing. Contact Debbie Snell in the church office to reserve your space.
Can we do weddings and funerals?
We continue to provide pastoral care for people at significant life events. Indoor weddings and funerals are limited to 45 in attendance. Those who would like a larger service should visit with the pastor about outdoor or online options.
Will the office be open?
Our office is staffed Monday-Friday 8 am-5 pm. Staff and congregation members serving in areas of ministry may enter the building to do their work or get supplies.
Friends, the ministry that we do together matters. Our unique mission and call from God matters. We are going to keep on loving people and accepting all with God’s extravagant grace. We are going to keep on being a place of healing. We are going to keep on being creative in how we do ministry. We are going to keep on being graceful with each other. The Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the church in Philippi, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phillippians 4:13) Let us find the Divine strength within our hearts and bodies to do all the hard things.
Pastor Jill and Chris Atchison
Rev. Jill Sander-Chali Senior Pastor
Chairperson, Safe Reopening Task Force
College Hill UMC 2930 E. 1ˢᵗ St. N.
Wichita, KS 67214
Not your ordinary church.