Updated Covid-19 Guidelines • 12/15/21
With COVID infections on the rise, increased hospitalizations over the past 4 weeks, and the highly contagious nature of both the Delta and Omicron variants, the Bishop and Cabinet of the Western North Carolina Conference are sending this reminder of best practices for ministry gatherings.
We do this, recognizing the importance of our gathering for worship in this season of Advent and Christmas, and in gratitude for many of you who have led faithfully in an extended and complicated period of almost two years of the pandemic.
We remain committed to our biblical mandate to “love our neighbors as ourselves” and our Wesleyan call to “do no harm.” We also know that there are many among our membership who have health challenges. Continuing to follow these recommended protocols is the best protection for the most vulnerable in your congregation(s).
- Wear a mask while indoors, even if you are fully vaccinated.
- Practice social distancing while indoors to avoid unmasked extended contact (spending longer than 15 minutes less than 3 feet from those outside your “pod”).
- Stay home if you do not feel well. Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms, or if you have had close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19.
- Singing in worship is acceptable but masks should be worn, especially if socially distancing during worship is difficult. Use of hymnals and bulletins is ok as well.
- Minimize the serving of food and beverages so as not to encourage removing masks to eat or drink unless socially distanced.
- Encourage getting the booster for those who can. (Persons 16 and older can receive it at this time. – CDC.gov)
- Continue to encourage the use of hand sanitizer and proper hand washing.
Being vigilant during this trend of increasing infections will help our churches minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure and continue to prioritize caring for the most vulnerable among us. We have witnessed our churches offering vital worship while using these protocols. We also give thanks for the gift of online worship. We thank you for your continued leadership as we take steps to move COVID-19 from a pandemic to endemic.