COVID-19 Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry - Issued 7.28.21; UPDATED 8.9.21
Our vital churches are blessed with the presence of multiple generations, and regard for the vulnerable is crucial. Please bring your children’s ministry team into your decision-making processes and protocols, in addition to your Trustees.
- The Bishop and Cabinet remain committed to our biblical mandate to “love our neighbors as ourselves” and our Wesleyan call to “do no harm.” Ministry encompasses not only worship but also fellowship events, mission activities, study groups, and age-level gatherings. The well-being of our children, youth, and vulnerable populations still needs to be considered with love and care in all areas of congregational life. Please take into consideration those who cannot be vaccinated because of age and/or pre-existing conditions when establishing safety guidelines for your local church.
- We encourage persons to be vaccinated and respect the fact that some cannot be vaccinated because they are immunocompromised.
- (UPDATED 8.9.21) Due to the increasing COVID-19 spread verified by the data revealed on the CDC's Community Transmission Map (see below), the Bishop and Cabinet are strongly recommending the wearing of masks at all indoor ministry activities, including worship. We also recommend that pastors and church leaders consider offering outdoor worship and alternative ministry activities to protect children and other vulnerable persons.
- To protect our children, we strongly recommend you consider the following in your ministries with children:
- Requiring all students, volunteers, staff, and visitors to wear a mask over their nose and mouth while on church property or engaged in off-site children’s ministry activities.
- Strongly recommend that volunteers be fully vaccinated and that churches implement symptom screening for each volunteer before the gathering.
- Try to use outdoor spaces a much as possible.
- Limit the consumption of snacks during an event and use individually packed items.
- One size does not fit all. Decisions appropriate for your church setting should be made by a team of shared leadership. We encourage your Transition Teams to collaborate and communicate well.
- Please continue to use the NC County Alert System and County Vaccination Percentage as a part of your decision-making data regarding masks, social distancing, and gathering limits for indoor worship and all ministries for adults and youth.
Download a copy of the guidelines issued on 7.28.21.
Download a copy of the guidelines with the August 9 update.
Find resources for online and in-person worship and ministry during COVID-19 here.
Resources for Vital Congregations
GBHEM Leadership Resources
A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist
RESOURCES TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.