New Guidance to Churches During the Pandemic

On March 13, Conference Minister Shari Prestemon recommended that churches suspend in-person worship and other activities through the end of March. Nearly all congregations had done so as of March 22.
Today, Prestemon shares new and sobering guidance in light of the lengthening pandemic and advice from public health officials:
  • Churches should continue to suspend all in-person activities, including worship, until at least mid-May, assuming an even longer suspension may be necessary.
  • Churches should prepare now for the very real possibility that a “shelter-in-place” order may be issued by the governor that would expand restrictive measures in the state. Such an order could have additional implications for how pastors are currently providing worship and other ministry.
Rev. Prestemon also announced that the Conference office will remain closed until at least mid-May with staff continuing to work remotely from their homes during that time. The Annual Meeting of the Conference has also been cancelled (see article below); a virtual meeting to vote on essential business will take place June 13.
“I am heartened by the efforts I see all our Conference congregations taking to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 while remaining faithful and finding new ways to nurture communities where they are,” Prestemon says. “Our inability to worship together in person during Holy Week and Easter feels particularly devastating for all of us. But we know that the Resurrection story is not dependent on whether we gather face-to-face on one particular Sunday; God’s promise of new life despite all the odds is reflected now in our persevering hope and our deep trust that new life will also emerge from this terrible and challenging time.”