COVID-19 / Reopening Plans

UPDATE: July 3, 2020


We're excited to announce the return of in-person worship to Avery UMC! Starting July 19, we will hold 10:30 am worship on the front lawn, with a drive-in option as well. We believe that this is the safest way to return to in-person worship at this time. Outdoor/drive-in worship will likely continue at least through Labor Day weekend. It is too early to plan anything beyond that date. 


Please carefully review all the details below before making a decision about whether to attend. It may be that the best option for you is to continue worshipping online throughout the summer, an option we will continue to provide. If you have a cough, fever, or feel sick in any way, please do not attend in-person worship. Staying home can be an act of care for your health and the health of others. 


Your church council has prayerfully developed these plans, determining that this is the safest and best way to provide in-person community right now. We ask you to be patient with us. Like many churches and businesses, we are still in an experimentation phase. We don’t yet know what will work, and what won’t, and we will be learning and improving as we go! Both council members and I are available to you for any additional questions or concerns you have. Hope to see you soon! 

These plans were developed by the Avery UMC Church Council, using guidelines and recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference Abundant Health Team and Resident Bishop, Cynthia Moore-Koikoi. 


Outdoor Worship: July 19 to September 6 (or later), 10:30 am 

Bring your own chair/blanket and sit on the lawn


Stay in your car 


You must wear a mask at all times you are outside of your car and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from anyone not in your family group. Please refrain from socializing before or after worship.  


Lawn instructions: 


1. Park in the lot as far away from Gabby Ave as possible. Leave empty spaces between parked cars. 


2. Exit your car, maintaining social distancing with other people and cars, and walk towards the lawn. Please fill up the lawn front (sanctuary wall) to back (main lot). 


3. Lawn seating will be on the honor system. Try to leave at least 6-10 feet in every direction between you and others. If others begin to set up closer to you than you are comfortable, kindly request that they leave a bit more space. 


4. At the conclusion of worship, allow those closest to the parking lot to leave first, going to the parking lot only 2-3 families at a time. 


5. Tents will be set up to provide shade. Please give first preference to those who are older, or those with young families. The portico on the side of the building is also available for shaded seating for 2-3 persons or families. 

Drive-in instructions: 

1. Park in the angled spaces along Gabby Ave., or on the street side of the main lot, as close to the front lawn as you can be. Leave empty spaces between parked cars. 


2. For optimal hearing, we’ll have an FM transmitter that will allow you to use your car radio to tune in to the audio feed on 102.1 FM. In hotter weather, you may also need to run your car’s air conditioning, from the battery or with the engine running. Know the health of your battery before choosing to run power from it. 

3. If your windows are rolled down, pay close attention to how you’re feeling. You may become nauseous, light-headed, or overheated due to hot weather or car exhaust. Roll your windows up and turn the A/C on as high as you can. Flash your lights so we are aware. If symptoms do not subside within a few minutes, flash your lights again, then leave and return home. If you don’t feel well enough to drive home, keep your lights on and someone will come and help you inside the building for medical attention. 

As of Monday, July 6, the following restrictions are still effective at Avery UMC:

  • All in-person meetings and events are postponed until further notice, and meetings are being conducted via video-conferencing.

  • The Church Office is open Tue, Wed, & Thu, 9 am to 1 pm. Masks must be worn to enter the building. Church email & voicemail is being checked daily Mon-Fri.

  • Pastor Erik is available by cell: 412-480-7938.

Outdoor/Drive-in Worship Details


Volunteers will be stationed at the entrance to the parking lot, and will be tracking who enters and exits the lot. If they do not know you, they might ask you to stop so they can get your name. This is for the purpose of contact tracing should someone test positive for COVID-19 within 2 weeks of attending worship.


Tables with offering plates will be at the exits from the parking lot. Drop off your offering from your car while entering or exiting the lot. Consider giving online to limit risk of infecting others.


At this time, singing in groups is not recommended, even from a safe distance. Music will still be included in worship, but for your listening enjoyment only.


Chairs will be available, but it will require wiping them down before and after worship, so please bring your own chair if you can, as it is the safest and easiest option.


Use of printed materials is not recommended right now. We will continue to send an electronic worship guide via email every Sunday morning.


Restrooms will be open if you need them. However, only one person will be allowed into the building at a time (or an adult accompanying a child under their care). Restrooms will be cleaned in between each use. Please only use the restroom if you absolutely must.

How You Can Help 


1. Help set up and clean up. This is relatively simple, and only requires a few people. 

2. Serve as a greeter. Your role will be to track attendances as people enter the parking lots, and help answer any questions. 

Frequently asked questions

Will you continue to offer online worship?

Yes. When we begin in-person worship, we will also begin live-streaming our services. While conducting outdoor worship, live-streaming will only be available on Facebook. After worship, the video will be available on Facebook, and will be uploaded to our website and YouTube channels ASAP.

Is anyone allowed to come?

Yes! As with any worship or public activity at Avery, we welcome anyone!

What if it rains?

Stay home. We will not host in-person worship in poor weather. We will make a final decision by 8:30 am on Sunday, and cancellations will be emailed and posted on Facebook. If we cancel in-person worship, we will still produce a live-stream from the sanctuary with only the pastor and a couple of volunteers.

Will we return to the sanctuary in October?

We hope so! Church Council is currently evaluating how to do this safely.

Will there be a nursery?

Unfortunately, no. Nursery care is still a high-risk activity and is not recommended at this time.