11 a.m. Weekly Services Safely Return, June 13, 2021

Masks and social distancing are recommended but no longer required at outdoor St. Stephen’s services and events.

With concerns over the increase in cases locally, the Church Council decided to make no policy changes for indoor services and gatherings. Church Council will meet are next week to review and discuss adjustments. The Council also approved a recommendation to discontinue health acknowledgement forms and entryway health check-ins. Signage will be used instead. For your convenience, you may still use the reservation system for our 11 a.m. indoor service or walk-ins are welcome.

St. Stephen’s has resumed holding indoor worship services

St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church in Burke, Va., successfully resumed  indoor, in-person worship in its sanctuary, Sunday, June 13, 2021.

Starting with the Sunday, July 18th, 11 a.m. indoor, in-person service, seat reservations will be recommended, not required and walk-ins will be welcome on a first-come, first-serve basis. Those seats not reserved will be available to walk ins when our doors open at 10:45 a.m., Sunday.

St. Stephen’s has implemented an online seat reservation system for its  11 a.m. indoor services, designed to ensure a safe and healthy experience for all. Below you can view step by step directions on how to reserve your seats or you can click the link below to go directly to the reservation site. You an also read more about the health guidelines that all attendees will need to follow at the indoor services.

Until further notice, all attendees of our indoor service must wear masks at all time, even when singing. Thank you for your cooperation. 

The reservation window for our Sunday indoor services  begins at 12:01 a.m. on Monday and closes at 11:59 p.m., on Saturday. 

For those not ready to return indoors, we will continue to livestream our 11 a.m. service on YouTube and hold outdoor 9 a.m. services.  We can’t wait to worship with you.

Updated Health Acknowledgement Form, April 14, 2021

Masks and social distancing are recommended but no longer required at outdoor St. Stephen’s services and events.

With concerns over the increase in cases locally, the Church Council decided to make no policy changes for indoor services and gatherings. Church Council will meet are next week to review and discuss adjustments. The Council also approved a recommendation to discontinue health acknowledgement forms and entryway health check-ins. Signage will be used instead. For your convenience, you may still use the reservation system for our 11 a.m. indoor service or walk-ins are welcome.

New HAF form, April 14, 2021

St. Stephen’s Church is happy to announce that it is now using a new in-house and online HAF (Health Acknowledgement Form)  system, approved by the Healthy Church Team and the Church Council at St. Stephen’s.

The new system, for St. Stephen’s only, will make it easier for everyone to enter and access and manage the information.  The new form looks similar to the Virginia Conference Health Acknowledgement Form that you have been using and asks the same questions as the Virginia Conference system, plus one question, “event or activity you will be visiting church for.”  This additional information should prove most helpful in following up with people who complete the new online HAF and help us and leaders for various events manage who will potentially be participating at events.

The new system is online now at www.ststephensfairfax.org/haf.  You should no longer use the Virginia Conference system for completing online HAFs.

We hope you fill find this new form to be straightforward and easy to use.

Two points to remember :

  1. If you cannot answer “Yes” to the health questions, you will not be able to submit the form.
  2. When you click the submit button and have successfully processed your form, you should see the following message appear at the top of the form web page : ” Thank you for filling out a Health Acknowledgement Form. Your response has been recorded. We appreciate your cooperation. For  more information on upcoming events, please visit our Get Involved page. “

If you have any questions or comments about this new process, please use the Connect Card to contact the church office.   Thank you for your  faithful participation in the life and ministry of St. Stephen’s.

Healthy Church Update

Mask Policy Relaxed for Outdoor Worship Service

Beginning Sunday, June 6,2021,  requirements for wearing masks at our weekly outdoor in-person services will be relaxed somewhat for attendees who have been “fully vaccinated” against the COVID-19 virus. Attendees who are “fully vaccinated” will be allowed to take off masks after they are social-distanced at their seats, but they must put on their masks whenever they move from their seats for any reason. “Fully vaccinated” attendees will be able to sing unmasked during congregational singing. Attendees will not be asked to provide proof of being vaccinated, everything will be on the honor system. Six-foot social distancing and other current practices not denoted here will continue to be followed for outdoor worship.  In the event an outdoor service cannot be held due to weather, an announcement will be made at www.facebook.com/ststephensfairfax.

Important Reminder from the Healthy Church Team: Anyone planning to attend a church event  or has plans  to visit the church campus must submit an online Health Acknowledgement Form, at least two business days before the event or  visit.  The only time you are not required to fill out an  online Health Acknowledgement Form  is the when the event has been advertised as having an entryway  health acknowledgment  and screening area. If you are not sure, please call our church office before the event.  

Frequently Asked Healthy Church Questions

Question :  If I am just dropping something inside the building, do I need to fill out a Health Acknowledgement Form?

Answer : Yes.  Anytime you are visiting the church, for any reason, unless it is an event advertised ahead of time as having an Entryway Health Acknowledgement, you must fill out a Health Acknowledgement Form at least two full business days (Monday-Friday, excluding holidays) prior to the visit. If you are visiting the church on your own and not there for a prescheduled event, you must make an appointment with the church office by dialing 703-978-8724, in addition to filling out a Health Acknowledgement Form

Question : If I am not sure how to fill out a Health Acknowledgement Form, can I get help?

Answer :  You can always call the church office at 703-978-8724.

Question : How many days is a Health Acknowledgement Form good for?

Answer : Seven days.

Question : If I  develop COVID-19 symptoms after attending a church event or visiting the church, what should I do?

Answer : Please contact a church pastor immediately.

Question : If I do not have access to the internet, how should I fill out  a Health Acknowledgement Form?

Answer : Please contact the church office and we will arrange for a pastor to interview you.

Question : Can I fill out  a Health Acknowledgement Form for someone else?

Answer : Each person has to fill out their own form, although parents and legal guardians may fill out forms for minors and special needs individuals.

What is the  Healthy Church Team ?

The Healthy Church Team (HCT) at St. Stephen’s consists of  clergy, staff and laity volunteers. Healthcare and legal professionals also are represented.

Using requirements and protocols established by the Virginia Conference, the HCT is to consult with the leadership teams at St. Stephen’s Church concerning in-person worship services and gatherings and the safe use and maintenance of the St. Stephen’s building and grounds until all restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted by the Virginia Conference.

Should you have any questions, please call the church office at (703) 978-8724.

All guests attending St. Stephen’s Church events, (unless they are attending a drive-in event and do not leave their cars) must have their temperature taken before entering the event.

Through the “Handbook for the Local Church” (released May 13) and now the Technical Assistance Manual, “TAM” (released June 15 and most recently revised September 10, 2020), the Virginia Conference is mandating a number of requirements and protocols for all local churches to follow as congregations safely return to in-person worship services and gatherings. The Healthy Church requirements prioritize loving our neighbors by first doing no harm.

What is the process for scheduling in-person, non-worship gatherings on church grounds?

All gatherings, whether they are in the building, outside or anywhere on church grounds or even offsite at a St. Stephen’s sponsored gathering, must follow the Stage II protocols and requirements listed below in the Stage II In Person Worship Services and Gatherings Requirements.

To schedule an in-person gathering at any of these locations, you will need to complete a Stage II Reservation Form (click here)  and submit other pertinent information via email to the Church Office, so your event can be properly reviewed by the Healthy Church Team. Once you have completed the form it will automatically be sent to the church office. 

The Healthy Church requirements prioritize loving our neighbors by first doing no harm.

Completing a Health Acknowledgement Form

First, everyone who would like to attend an in-person worship service or gathering must complete a Health Acknowledgement Form, “HAF”, at least two full business days (Monday-Friday, excluding holidays) prior to the gathering. The preferred means of completing a HAF is to complete the form online at: Health Acknowledgement Form

Anyone who is not able to complete the form online can call the church office at (703) 978-8724 and make an appointment to speak with a pastor to complete the form over the telephone.

Currently, the online HAF asks four questions, and you are required to answer, “Yes”, to all questions in order to submit a HAF and be eligible to attend an in-person service or gathering. A HAF is good for only seven days, beginning on the date that you submit your request. After seven days, you will need to complete another HAF to attend future in-person services or gatherings.

A HAF submitted online will be downloaded, printed, reviewed and acknowledged before the end of two full business days. HAF forms are securely filed and stored. You must receive an acknowledgement in order to attend an in-person gathering.

How far in advance do I need to submit an HAF?

Please follow the schedule below submitting an HAF for an in-person gathering:  (your form needs to be sent two full business days prior to a gathering; (add additional days in the event of a holiday.)

Other requirements when attending an in-person gathering include:

•  Every attendee should plan to bring and wear the required face covering at all in-person gatherings, beginning before you exit your vehicle,
•  Every attendee should bring hand sanitizer (if they feel they may need it),
•  Every attendee should plan to bring and wear protective gloves (if they feel they will need them).

•  Every attendee should plan to follow the required 6 feet social distancing before, during, and after the event, which includes no hugging, handshakes, or other personal contact,
• Every attendee should plan to bring their own chair for an outside event (if they feel they may need one, as proper socially distanced seating is not available outdoors at St. Stephen’s Church,
• Every attendee should bring their own face covering, water bottle, materials for taking notes, etc. as no hand-outs or sharing of materials or equipment is permitted.
• When leaving your vehicle upon arrival, make sure to wear your face covering and abide by physical social distancing (stay 6 feet or more from others),
• When arriving on the property, please park your vehicle leaving a full parking space on each side of your vehicle, to facilitate social distancing when arriving or leaving an in-person gathering,
• Other requirements are below.

On the day of an in-person gathering, please review and plan to comply with the following:

• Before leaving to attend the in-person gathering, each attendee must take his / her temperature. It must be less than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit in order to attend the gathering. If you are feeling ill, stay home;

Before leaving to attend the in-person gathering, each attendee must take his / her temperature. It must be less than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit in order to attend the gathering. If you are feeling ill, stay home.

• If you develop 2 or more of the following symptoms of COVID-19 after you submitted the Health Acknowledgement Form, you should not attend the gathering:
• Fever
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• Chills
• Persistent cough
• Flu-like symptoms
• Diarrhea or intestinal upset
• Fatigue
• Sore throat
• Headache
• Muscle pain
• Recent loss of taste or smell.

Helpful and Informative Links

The Virginia Conference website with materials related to returning to in-person services and gatherings, click here. 

Complete an online HAF form

Most current Technical Assistance Manual (pdf version)

Download a Stage II Reservation Form to request an in-person gathering, either in the building, outside on the grounds, or at a St. Stephen’s sponsored gathering offsite. Once you have completed the form it will automatically be sent to the church office. 

Should you have any questions, please call the church office at (703) 978-8724.

Click here to reach our YouTube  channel to view our newest online service.