Suggested Guidelines for Holding In-person Church Services
After three months of stay-at-home orders from the government, most states are now gradually reopening businesses and allowing religious gatherings to take place. As such, the USGA encourages local churches to start to consider reestablishing in-person services; through this in-person fellowship and interactions, we can better understand and care for the spiritual well-being of our members during these difficult times. As you plan for reopening, please keep in mind the prevalence of COVID-19 cases in your respective areas as well as any mandatory orders issued by your local, state, or federal governments. We recommend the reopening of churches in stages with well-implemented preventative measures so that we can maintain safe environments for members to peacefully worship God. Please work with your Regional Coordinator to coordinate your starting date of holding in-person church services.
The following are some suggested guidelines to take into account as your local church transitions back to in-person church services:
- Intensify the cleaning and disinfection of your church building, especially high touch areas.
- All members must wear masks at all times other than to eat or drink and try their best to maintain a social distance of 6 feet from people not of their own household. An exception to masking would be for young children under age 2, who cannot tolerate masking.
- Promote healthy hygiene practices to members.
- Unless your local, state, or federal government expressly forbids the singing of hymns or prayer in tongues, the singing of hymns and prayer in tongues should be encouraged and practiced with masks on and with social distancing during in-person church worship services.
- When observing Holy Communion, ministers and council members to sanitize their hands, wear masks, and use disposable gloves when handling the bread and cup. The bread and the cup should be handed to members instead of having each member reach into a communal tray to retrieve the bread or cup.
Let us persevere and continue to reach out to members who are struggling in their faith during this time. We must be especially vigilant, that we do not lose any of God’s precious sheep through these trials. May God give us the wisdom to know His will during these unprecedented times and may He guide us to make sound decisions for our local churches in the upcoming months.