The Alabama-West Florida United Methodist Church has sent out guidelines for in-person worship to all of their churches. We’ve heard of setting up COVID19 Task Force in government, but our first time reading it about a church. Read below to see some of the plans and steps they are taking to reopen their Houses Of Worship.
I wanted to share with you where we currently stand in regards to in-person worship gatherings.
We are currently operating under two recommendations from Bishop Graves and our Annual Conference leadership.
First, we will continue with online worship only through at least June 1. This date will very likely be extended.
Second, at the Bishop’s recommendation we have established a COVID-19 Task Force to help form plans on how to best gather in person again. This task force will work with our staff, leadership, and church council to form the best path forward.
We are ordering supplies in bulk to be sure we have everything available to us to keep our facilities as clean as possible. We are in the process of making all of our bathrooms touch-less.
Guidelines for Returning to In-person Worship
Drafted by the Alabama-West Florida Conference COVID-19 Task Force in conjunction with the AWF cabinet.
Our lives have been forever changed by COVID-19, and we recognize this as a time for us to continue to adapt and develop new ways of being the church.
Now is the time for our witness to shine. We can witness to the love of Jesus Christ by following his example in acts of service and sacrificial love.
Therefore, our return to in-person worship is not, and should not, be based on our own comfort or desires alone.
We, as the church, must use precautions in order to care for all people – those who come into our buildings and those who worship from home.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), those who are most vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 are those over the age of 65 and/or those with preexisting health conditions.
People who fall into these categories are encouraged by the CDC to avoid crowds and stay at home whenever possible. For these and others, online worship continues to be a vital and necessary part of our ministry even
as we reopen our buildings.
We recommend using extreme caution when deciding when to return to in-person worship. We also recommend that churches avoid using phrases like “we clean between services, so it is safe for you to attend.” While churches may effectively follow all of the necessary guidelines put out by health officials, following those guidelines only reduces the risk of infection, it does not mean that an environment is considered “safe.” We know that we cannot completely eliminate the risks in coming together for worship and acknowledge that on some level, there have always been
After clear evidence of a downward trajectory (trend) of new documented COVID-19 cases within a 14-day period in your county and you believe it is time to begin in-person worship, please:
• Consult your state and local health officials;
• Contact your insurance carrier to make sure that your church and church leaders have adequate liability coverage in the event that you find your church and church leaders sued for exposing someone to COVID-19;
• Work through the following minimum guidelines with a team at your church;
• Communicate your plan carefully in writing to your congregation.