COVID-19 Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry - UPDATED 4.29.21


Yesterday, Governor Cooper issued a further easing of COVID-19 restrictions.  The Bishop and Cabinet remain committed to our biblical mandate to “love our neighbors as ourselves” and our Wesleyan call to “do no harm.”  

We continue to recommend that all local churches and other ministries follow the guidance of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as they make decisions about indoor worship, small groups, and other gatherings.

Using Governor Cooper’s Executive Order No. 209 as a guide, the Bishop and Cabinet make these specific recommendations:

  • As long as your county is not in the “red,” indoor worship may be considered using a limit of 50% capacity as long as social distancing can be maintained. Masks must be worn throughout the service.  The recommendation for not having a full choir remains in effect.  Humming or quiet singing by the congregation with their masks on is acceptable.
  • A 100-person limit should be maintained for all other gatherings inside the church building.  Please continue to socially distance and wear masks at these events as well.
  • Due to the complex nature of food service that increases risk, we continue to discourage indoor congregational meals or refreshments.  Let us be patient in restarting fellowship gatherings with food in order to continue to keep people safe.

We give thanks for the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccinations and for the level trends of the virus in North Carolina over the past two weeks.  We continue to hold all those who have been impacted by Covid-19 in our prayers, and particularly those in India, where the virus is spreading rapidly.  As we give thanks for the positive data and trends in North Carolina, may we now work toward achieving the same results throughout the world.

FAQ for Executive Order 209


Download a copy of the updated guidelines.
Find resources for online and in-person worship and ministry during COVID-19 here.

Resources for Vital Congregations



Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources


Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians


Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations


Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology


Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging


Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children


The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment


The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at


  • Resources
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.