BRD Monthly - March 2021
Updated Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry During Covid-19
February 24, Governor Cooper issued an easing of Covid-19 restrictions. The Bishop and Cabinet remain committed to our biblical mandate to “love our neighbors as ourselves” and our Wesleyan call to “Do no harm.” We celebrate that percentages of positive test results and hospitalizations continue to show improvement while vaccine distribution increases. However, we are also aware that people across our conference are losing loved ones each day.
Thus, we continue to recommend that all local churches and other ministries follow the guidance of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (CDC Guidance Here) as they make decisions about indoor worship, small groups, and other gatherings.
Using Governor Cooper’s Executive Order No. 195 as a guide, the Bishop and Cabinet make these specific recommendations:
- For those churches whose counties are not in the “red,” indoor worship may be considered using a limit of 30% capacity or 250 persons, whichever is less. When determining the number who can safely gather in the sanctuary or worship space, social distancing should be maintained, and masks must be worn. The recommendation for no full-choir or congregational singing remains in effect.
- A 25-person limit should be maintained for all other gathering inside the church building. Please continue to socially distance and wear masks at these events as well.
As we continue to journey through the season of Lent, may we be mindful of the over 500,000 persons in the United States who have lost their lives during this pandemic and may we keep all of those who mourn their loss in prayer.
Council on Finance & Administration to offer grants for churches serving as COVID-19 community stations
The WNCC Council on Finance & Administration is setting up a fund for churches to make application for COVID 19 strategies, principally testing and vaccine administration.
We know our congregations are being called upon to assist as stations for COVID 19 needs. There is a cost to such in both set up as well as cleaning afterwards.
Therefore, the CFA has set aside $250,000 for this effort, with $125,000 specifically set aside to assist our churches of color.
Conference Worship Service Gift for Sunday, April 11
The Conference will gift another virtual service as a respite for our pastors the Sunday following Easter. We will send links to the service to pastors when available as well as post access to the service on our website and Facebook.
Resources for Holy Week
- Holy Week Worship Kit Idea from La Trinidad UMC in San Antonio, TX
- Post from Resource UMC for Palm Sunday - March 28, 2021
- Planning for Holy Week Recorded Webinar: Planing for Holy Week - Keeping Rituals and Connecting Community
- Holy Week Year B Planning Series from Discipleship Ministries
- Planning for a Service of Worship for Passion/Palm Sunday from Discipleship Ministries
- Invite Your Church to Be a Part of the United Methodist Church Easter Virtual Choir
Resources for UMCOR Sunday
- UMCOR Sunday Details and Resources from the United Methodist Church
- Order Pew Cards and Digital Downloads from UMC Giving
Live with Chris Singleton, May 2
Following the loss of his mother to Dylan Roof in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church tragedy, 24 year old Chris Singleton travels the country sharing the importance of true forgiveness. Action vs reaction, love over hate, Singleton's message is centered on God’s word and wisdom gained through his life’s journey.
Blue Ridge District will host Chris Singleton live on May 2, with an interactive Q&A session towards the end. More information and registration will be announced in the coming months.
Virtual Leadership Lunch with Mark Ralls
District Superintendent Mark Ralls invites the clergy of the Blue Ridge District to gather via ZOOM for lunch and conversation to enhance relationships and learn from each other. The topics of discussion for the next few months are as follow:
January 19 - March 16: Putting New Habits into Practice
- March 2: Managing Polarities
- March 16: Setting Boundaries and Establishing Attractors
- March 2: Virtual Leadership Lunch with Mark - Managing Polarities ZOOM Link Here
- March 14: Both/And Worship: Maximizing Hybrid Worship Experiences for Online and In-Person Audiences
- March 16: Virtual Leadership Lunch with Mark - Setting Boundaries and Establishing Attractors ZOOM Link Here