COVID-19 has drastically affected our lives. During this time, people need a loving and supportive church community and the assurance of faith more than ever. Onalaska UMC continues to shine the light and hope and love of Christ into the world. We are worshiping together online, serving our people, and engaging in community outreach and mission even while we wait to re-open our building.

Our COVID-19 Team is responsible for planning our response: Dr. Mark Beahm (COVID-19 Team chair,, Megan Barbian (RN, Lay Leader), Rev. Park Hunter (pastor,, Wes Panzer (Church Council chair), Becky Barnes (Stephen Ministry), Jeff Moorhouse (Trustees chair), Jessica Gobel (Children’s Ministries), Paul Bratsch (Discipleship Ministries), Jerry Arndt (at large), Sandy Koster (at large).

Current Status  |  Congregational Letters  |  Policies and Plans

*NOTE: The Coulee COVID Collaborative has replaced the Compass.

Current Status: High Risk (Closed)

OUMC uses guidance provided by the Coulee COVID-19 Collaborative, a joint effort of the La Crosse County Health Department, Mayo, and Gundersen Health Systems. Their recommendations are based on local data and multi-day trends.

The La Crosse County Health Department’s website includes testing and vaccination information. The county published a new public health advisory January 29, 2021. The following is OUMC’s current guidance:

  • All aspects of OUMC’s Operational Safety Plan in place (health checks, masking, social distancing, thorough cleaning, record keeping, etc.).
  • Only essential business operations conducted by staff in the building, with the recommendation that they work from home whenever possible.
  • Worship, classes, meetings, choirs and gatherings are encouraged to meet online.
  • Limit indoors gatherings to 50% of room capacity.
  • Weekly worship by livestream (

Congregational Letters

  • 2021 Winter Update (PDF) – January 19, 2021 update from the COVID-19 team about the ongoing pandemic.
  • 2020 Fall Plans (PDF) – September 9, 2020 letter from the COVID-19 team with updates on safe practices and special events for the fall.
  • Re-Opening Plan (PDF) – June 11, 2020 letter from the COVID-19 team outlining our phased re-opening plan and summer events.
  • WI Court Response (PDF) – May 15, 2020 letter from the COVID-19 team responding to the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision with our ongoing plans to protect and serve our congregation and community.
  • Staying Connected (PDF) – March 20, 2020 pastor’s letter at the start of the pandemic listing ways we can stay connected.
  • Safer at Home – March 14, 2020 pastor’s letter describing how OUMC can continue to fulfill our mission and vision during the pandemic.

Policies and Plans

  • COVID-19 Response Plan (Google Doc) – Our COVID-19 Team’s process for determining the risk level and recommendations for re-opening the church in phases. May be updated periodically.
  • Operational Safety Plan (Google Doc) – Detailed list of requirements for using the building in Phases 1 and 2 based on best practices from the CDC and other authorities. May be updated periodically.