Update: Following meetinghouse repairs completed in December (12th month) 2021, the meetinghouse was reopened for indoor worship beginning on 12/24, and remains open for weekly worship and fellowship.
Approved 25th Day, 7th Month, 2021
Much has changed since Alexandria Monthly Meeting approved a Minute on “Outdoor Meetings” for worship at the meetinghouse property a year ago. Outdoor in-person meetings have continued, weather permitting, and Zoom meetings continue to offer Friends opportunities for worship and fellowship remotely through the week in ways that were not possible before. Taken together, these gatherings, both remote and as way opened, in person have allowed us to maintain our community during a very difficult period. This Minute seeks to update guidance on in-person activities at AMM, given the changes in the world since the original Minute and the current construction status of the Meetinghouse Worship room.
Meeting for worship facilitated by Zoom will continue at the 11 o’clock hour on First Days, until further notice. Likewise, Adult Religious Education will gather at 10 o’clock each First Day from September through June using Zoom until further notice. In-Person worship will continue to be held at 11:30 each First Day on the grounds of the meetinghouse. Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business will continue to be via Zoom at 1pm on the First First Day of the month, or as way opens.
Because of the fragility of its foundation, which is pending County permit for repairs, the worship room is off limits until further notice. We know that Friends have deep feelings for this room, but please do NOT enter it until it is approved as safe for us to do so!
In-Person meeting for worship occurred all Fall of 2020 and began as soon as weather allowed in the spring of this year. In-person worshippers have moved forward together at the speed of communal trust and in line with CDC and Virginia state guidelines, evolving practices regarding masks, distancing, closing worship, and accessing the Buckman Room/Bathrooms as way opened.
In-person activities inside the meetinghouse this summer have been restricted to things like maintenance and repair, CRE space clean-up and organization, general cleaning and preparation work, reviewing mail, use of bathrooms, etc. Specifically, occasional committee meetings, small groups gathering to sort and organize Judy Riggin’s AMM files, and a large group gathering to help clean and organize the Buckman Room have occurred this summer, as CDC and state guidelines have allowed us to do this safely. Given these circumstances, it is now understood that worshipers attending in person meeting for worship outside the meetinghouse, may, following group discernment in any given situation, enter the Buckman Room if weather deteriorates during worship or there are other unforeseen circumstances where the outdoor worship is not appropriate.
All individuals entering the indoor spaces at any time, for any reason, need to follow ongoing CDC and Virginia state guidelines for indoor spaces at a minimum. Unvaccinated individuals over the age of 2 are expected to wear masks when participating in any indoor in-person activity. All are asked to consider their own health and that of others when deciding if and when to attend in person activities whether indoors or outdoors.
As our understanding and awareness of these issues evolves, we rely on the group discernment of those Friends present at the AMM activity or gathering for guidance. We ask that groups meeting in person bring any significant changes in practice or procedures back to the broader Meeting. It is our fervent hope and prayer that these measures allow us to maintain and grow our beloved spiritual community.