Grace and peace to you,
Since our appointment, the Task Force on the Resumption of In-Person Worship has been reviewing a wide range of resources prepared by other synods, our ecumenical siblings, as well as Public Health advisories from across the territory of the Eastern Synod. There is deep wisdom, as well as great variance, in the differing approaches adopted by each jurisdiction. We affirm our belief that physical distancing, for the health and safety of our neighbour, is an act of love. Likewise, we continue to uphold the importance of a carefully paced approach to resuming in-person gatherings.
We know that many members of our Eastern Synod family deeply yearn for the opportunity to gather in-person. We also know that each congregation and community faces its own unique contextual concerns. There is no one-size-fits-all model, and yet we are united in our desire to act carefully out of love and in service to others.
To that end, we will be providing two documents to help congregational leaders begin the process of preparing their buildings for a potential re-opening in Fall 2020.
Resource 1 Staged Approach & Preliminary Considerations (Available Now)
Resource 2 Comprehensive Checklist (August 1, 2020)
In the pages which follow, you will find a series of preliminary questions for consideration. We encourage pastors and councils to engage deeply with these areas of concern as they relate to their own context. Consider consulting with the various leaders of your congregation, as well as the ministries that make regular use of your facilities. These considerations are meant to provoke a thoughtful conversation. In doing so, it is our hope that many of the practices and protocols needed for the resumption of in-person worship will begin to take shape over the summer months.
By August 1, a more comprehensive checklist based on the most current Public Health advisories will be provided to further equip congregations for a potential fall 2020 resumption of in-person worship. The August checklist will be used to gauge the readiness of a congregation to move from the RED stage to the AMBER stage. The final decision to resume in-person worship must be shared between the Congregational Council and Rostered Ministers serving under call.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to the chairperson of our Task Force, Laurie Knott (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Rev. Adam Snook (email@example.com), should you have any questions about the materials presented here.
May the Spirit guide us into the days ahead!