As we face another surge of COVID-19 infections, the New England Conference Re-Entry Team wants to reiterate that while many states have been hesitant to set limits on religious gatherings, even as they impose them on other establishments, that does not mean church gatherings are any safer. We continue to urge our congregations to err on the side of caution.
We encourage our churches to consider the spirit
of the laws and regulations around in-person gathering amid COVID-19 — in other words, the rationale behind them — rather than the letter of these laws when evaluating whether it is appropriate to resume or continue in-person worship.
Green Mountain District Superintendent Jill Colley Robinson, who is a member of this team, shared the following in a Nov. 14 message to the district; and we share this now to our entire Conference:
While faith communities are not specifically named in the list of activities that are now being limited, please consider how your congregation may share similarities with multiple household social gatherings, which are now suspended. If you are meeting in person and celebrating communion, please consider how this specific activity may share similarities with eating at restaurants (removing masks to participate), which are now seeing limits being set as well. If your congregation is gathering in person, please note the more extensive directions regarding contact tracing. If you live close to the border with another state, please consider how recent quarantine requirements will affect members of the congregation who travel …
We know these are difficult days, and you have been charged with making important decisions that none of us expected to have to make. We continue to be in prayer for you and are here to serve as a resource.
New England Re-Entry Team
In addition, we have added the following resources to our COVID-19 information page here
Reversing the decision to meet in person
Positive COVID-19 test protocol
Sample letter in case of possible exposure to COVID-19
There continues to be some confusion around the safety of singing when gathered in person. Our recommendation remains that congregations refrain from singing entirely
See our guidance here