Ministry Updates

The Next Normal Task Team plan will be a phased approach using these guiding principles:

    Governor Holcomb’s direction for Indiana and Mayor Hogsett’s for Indianapolis

    • The advice and direction from Bishop Trimble, the Indiana Conference UMC leader

    • Honoring St. Luke’s Mission to be fully open for all, which includes offering ministry for all ages and not having to discourage any part of our        population from attending.

Each stage outlined by the Governor is dependent on evidence that we have successfully blunted the spread of the virus and accomplished the goal of each of the 5 stages he outlined. This document shares Phase 1 and 2 of St. Luke’s plan with the hope of offering more phases as we consider the latest information and requests from officials related to reopening of churches.

St. Luke’s Phase 2: June 15 – July 31, 2020

During this phase, we will continue to follow CDC recommendations for appropriate workplace safety policies:

  • Social distancing and use of masks when moving about the building
  • Testing, isolating, and contact tracing; if a member of staff, or volunteers test positive for COVID-19
  • Sanitation and cleaning procedures
  • Disinfection of common and high-traffic areas

For Phase 2

    • All staff are now able to return to work in their offices. Masks will be worn as people enter and move about the building. Accommodations have         been made for those who share offices and plexiglass barriers have been put in place.

    • Door 6 will be unlocked for staff and public to enter

    • Internal groups of 25 or less may schedule meetings in building (this does not include outside groups/organizations)

    • The Developmental Pre-school resumes in E135

    • Funerals up to 100 in attendance

    • Parking lot can be used for large gatherings up to 200

    • Starting June 20th St. Luke’s has agreed to host a private COVID-19 Testing Lab on site. (Southwest corner front parking lot)

Considering the recent spike in cases nationally and caution from our public officials, St. Luke’s has delayed the date when we will resume in-person worship. We are currently surveying our families with children and youth and will survey our congregation a second time as we determine our best path forward. We expect to announce a date by the end of July.

Our goal is to live out our mission and we know that people are most open to a message of hope when they feel safe. 

In the meantime, we continue to hear positive feedback for our online worship and offerings. Know that we are also evaluating creative options for worship that are in-person but safe. Examples include drive up communion, which will happen again on Sunday, August 2, from 2-3PM and the possibility of outdoor worship at a site like Conner Prairie. 

  • The St. Luke’s Care Team will continue to be on-call and available over the phone for the needs of our congregation who call the Emotional and Spiritual Hotline at 317-846-3406 until we are physically back in the building or until hospitals and care facilities allow us to visit.
  • Prayer requests may be submitted, look for the “Prayer Requests” button in the footer of any page on our website. During this period:
  • The Care Team will follow the guidelines of hospitals and care facilities and resume visitation when allowed.
  • We are performing funerals of up to 100 people. That number will increase to 250 in August if we open back up. No visitation or food will be allowed at that time. Masks will be required.
  • We will resume performing weddings when the building is reopened.
  • Care groups will meet online. Select groups will convene if able to follow guidelines of social distancing, wear masks and no more than 25 people are gathered.
  • For death, imminent death or tragic events, call the pastor on call through the church’s phone number, 317-846-3404, following the prompts provided.

1. What are the greatest needs? 

  • Food insecurity
  • Unemployment
  • Access to technology and quality healthcare
  • Domestic Violence increasing
  • Housing instability

This is will continue for a while – it may take a year to play out. We will be mindful of those who are not tech-savvy and will continue to engage older individuals.

2. We are blessed with many assets that we can leverage to make a difference.

  • Benevolence Fund: over $120,000 raised
  • Partners: Outreach Inc., Family Promise, major event relationships
  • Crooked Creek Food Pantry
  • Tutors

3. What current programming do we need to change and how?

  • Large scale events, such as Back to School Extravaganza and I Love My City, that would typically occur in the coming months may need to be re-imagined or postponed. How could they change? Offered in stages? With chrome books? At each school with social distanced volunteers? A drive through model?

4. We have several new initiatives that have made A real impact during this period.

  • Signed Sealed & Delivered – 224 volunteers writing over 1,400 letters to the homebound
  • Homebound Helpers – 57 volunteers delivering groceries or necessities to 138 homes
  • Drive through food pantry - 178 families have received food boxes
  • Delivering Hope – 58 volunteers delivering food to Washington Township students and their families
  • Virtual Tutoring - 35 tutors working through Luke’s Leaders
  • Sew in Love - 1,000+ masks sewn and delivered to essential workers

5. How will we equip volunteers differently?

All St. Luke’s volunteers will be required to wear gloves and masks while serving on or off site as we keep the safety of everyone a top priority. Providing bandannas or masks may become a possibility. We will recruit younger volunteers to protect volunteers in an at-risk age group and we will use the guidance of the Governor and Mayor to inform our policies and activities.

6. What's next?

Our team members and volunteers will continue to reach out to assigned partners and organizations to assess their needs and our ability to respond. We will also be readjusting our priorities based on recommendations from the Worship and Facilities re-entry teams. For information on how you can be involved with any of these projects please visit our Luke’s Online page of the website. 

Adult Discipleship Ministry

  • We will be offering low-commitment, high-impact invitations so online viewers can connect with us through online opportunities such as Starting Point (offered more frequently).
  • We will also continue to create online sermon discussion groups and various check-in groups.
  • Fellowship groups such as volleyball or pickle ball will be paused for the fall and be reassessed for spring of 2021 depending on social distancing needs at the time.
  • Wednesday Night Live programming will be dependent on and follow the overall food and gathering guidelines of the building. 
  • Fall classes and small groups may look very different this fall with a hybrid format that includes virtual groups.  

Student (Middle School/High School) Ministry 

  • Transitions between grades in the fall are being re-evaluated and students may be kept in their current level to preserve existing relationships with peers and Small Group Leaders. 
  • Small groups may continue to meet over the summer while including social distancing if necessary.
  • A phased plan is being created to move towards meeting in person, based on the larger St. Luke’s plan and the guidelines of local government officials.
  • Confirmation plans are stilled being worked out for both the 2020 and 2021 class.
  • Retreats and large events will return in two phases: Phase One will occur online. Phase Two will occur online or in person in small groups (backyard BBQs, Huddles with Heather, etc.) as restrictions are lessened.
  • All programming will follow St. Luke’s building use policies for food and numbers of people allowed in restricted spaces. 

Children’s Ministry 

  • Many questions are being researched as the health and safety of our children and families remain our top priority. Consideration is being given to scheduling specific worship times for families with children, providing childcare during services with necessary precautions, children returning to the sanctuary and organizing small, in- home worship groups for families.
  • 3rd grade Bibles will be held on a Saturday this year and will not have an overnight component.
  • Policies and Procedures are being finalized per CDC Guidelines

Local school decisions will help inform this planning. While sanitizing policies were already in place, these efforts are being increased. Masks will be worn by volunteers and smaller class sizes may be implemented. Registrations and drop-offs may be altered and involve parents not entering the classroom and a well-child check. Our “if you are sick” policies will continue to be enforced. All CDC and local government guidelines will be followed.

Reopening Update

May 27, 2020

See the Results of the May 13 Congregational Reopening Survey