Re-entry Considerations and Guidelines

Re-entry Team

Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar
Beth DiCocco
Rev. Jill Colley Robinson
Rev. Taesung Kang
Rev. Karen Munson
Rev. Erica Robinson-Johnson
Norm Thombs

Submit a question to the team

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Additional Resources

CDC guidance for churches

State COVID-19 websites
  • Guidance specific to churches

Aug. 6, 2020


Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry During COVID-19

Bishop Devadhar has asked that we continue the suspension of in-person
worship through May 31, 2020 (Read more on this), in preparation for the time
that will follow, we have created these guidelines for our churches to follow. 
If you have not already, we encourage you to develop a working team of leaders
to guide your faith community through this re-opening and re-launching process. 
We will update the resources as more information becomes available.
See our guidelines for worship music by clicking the link below right.

Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry During COVID-19

Find the recording of our May 20, 2020 webinar

along with supplemental materials 

Find our Q&A

with additional re-entry questions  from the guidelines webinar

Additional resources

Aug. 6, 2020 — On the Go Masks is GCFA’s newest ministry partner; offering discount On the Go Masks (OTG) has been vetted and approved as a ministry partner of the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA). On the Go Masks is offering an exclusive program for the purchase of KN95 personal protection equipment (PPE) at a reduced rate. Learn more

July 11, 2020 — Source for gloves: Barbara Burnside, Conference Disaster Response & Mission Coordinator, shares this source for Nitrile Exam Gloves, Powder Free.

June 26, 2020 — Order re-opening supplies from Home Depot and benefit UMCOR

Any church/affiliate or leadership member that orders cleaning and other re-opening supplies from Home Depot Pro can get the supplies delivered to the church and make a donation to UMCOR at the same time. 

This an expansion of a program Home Depot has offered since 2018. Churches/leaders that register a credit card to purchase supplies for the church can designate UMCOR to receive a percentage of those purchases as a donation. 

Home Depot advises that churches can get a better price on some items when they are purchased in bulk (for example, Bioesque disinfectant solution). NOTE: Churches that want to go in together with other churches or UMC organizations on bulk purchases will have to register a single credit card and designate a single delivery location for those purchases. 

This program is not meant to replace any purchases from local vendors that churches wish to support in their communities. It is simply another resource for hard-to-get items.

Churches that purchase specified supplies for other church needs – such as repair or disaster response projects – also receive up to a 20% discount on supplies such as paints, stains and primer.

See a flyer from Home Depot about this program

June 18, 2020: The Ecumenical Consultation on Protocols for Worship, Fellowship, and Sacraments put together by the Candler School of Theology at Emory University offers some. Click the image for a PDF.

June 15, 2020: City of Boston’s operational recommendations for Places of Worship and Religious Services — There is some good information in here that we think may be helpful to you no matter where your church is located.
May 19, 2020: Read “Why Reopening a Church is Different” by Rev. Alex A. Shanks,
Assistant to Bishop Ken Carter of the Florida Annual Conference.​

Questions to consider as we contemplate returning to in-person worship


Reopening: Immunologist shares “The Risks — Know Them — Avoid Them” 

Erin Bromage, comparative immunologist and professor of biology (specializing in immunology) at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, shared a COVID-19 blog post titled “The Risks — Know Them — Avoid Them” that’s received attention across the nation. “So throughout most of the country we are going to add fuel to the viral fire by reopening. It's going to happen if I like it or not, so my goal here is to try to guide you away from situations of high risk,” Bromage writes. Read more


Video resources

Hear a message about reopening  from the NEAC Cabinet


In this video, Stephanie Bennett, pastor of the Barrackville (WVa) UMC,
demonstrates what physical  distancing and other re-entry practices really look at church.


In this video, Rev. Doug Robinson-Johnson offers a theological reflection on
why Christians should wear masks. Rev. Robinson-Johnson is  an elder in
the New England Conference serving as senior pastor of National UMC in Washington, DC


Click the link to watch a recording from a May 13, 2020 webinar “Road to Reopening The UMC” hosted by The Woodlands (TX) UMC. The hour-long panel discussion covered a wide variety of topics around re-starting in-person worship.