Update to COVID-19 Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry


Updated masking recommendation:
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. This update strengthens the guidelines issued on July 28, 2021. 

County Transmission Data & Map
Beginning Aug. 6, 2021, NCDHHS will transition to using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Community Transmission Map to monitor COVID-19 activity in North Carolina counties. This map is updated daily and uses a combination of total cases per 100,000 population and percent positivity in the last 7 days to measure the level of community transmission in counties. Key metrics from the CDC and North Carolina are showing increasing COVID-19 spread. Getting vaccinated as quickly as possible is critically important to slow the spread of the virus.
CDC guidance recommends that everyone wear a mask in all indoor public spaces if you live in areas of high or substantial levels of transmission as defined by the CDC Community Transmission Map until more people are vaccinated and viral transmission decreases. As of Aug. 4, that is 98 out of 100 counties.
The data in the CDC map should be used by individuals, businesses and community organizations, and public officials as a tool to understand how their county is faring and to make decisions about actions to take to slow the spread of the virus.
There are critical actions we can all take to slow the spread of COVID-19, regardless of the level of community transmission in your county. Individuals, businesses, community organizations, and public officials all have a responsibility to take these recommended actions, in addition to following the requirements in existing Executive Orders and NCDHHS guidance.
Counties in high and substantial areas of COVID transmission according the CDC need to do even more to slow the spread of COVID-19 in their communities; counties should encourage vaccination and follow all CDC and NCDHHS guidance for slowing the spread of COVID-19.

 Please also continue to be mindful of the current CDC recommendations for post-exposure protection.
Download a copy of the updated COVID-19 Guidelines for In-Person Worship and Ministry. 
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 hfleming@wnccumc.net.


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