People from around the Presbytery have begun to ask me when it might be safe to once again have face-to-face worship and open up their church buildings for congregational activities. My response is….
- I strongly suggest that you pay closed attention to the recommendations of Governor Wolf and the CDC, and
- the decision is ultimately up to your Sessions.
That said, I encourage Sessions to carefully think through all the implications of inviting their congregations back into their buildings. There is much more to consider than you might imagine!
To help your church leaders make healthy, pastoral decisions, below are links to two documents. One is an extensive set of questions developed by colleagues from presbyteries around the country–important questions pertaining to Worship, Christian Education, Fellowship & Pastoral Care, and Property & Administration.
The second document is a model for returning to church in three phases, developed by the Wisconsin Council of Churches. Each phase is based on the WI governor’s plan to gradually open up the state based on key benchmarks related to COVID-19 case counts, testing availability, etc. While the criteria in Pennsylvania will, of course, be somewhat different, this is another good resource for Sessions to use as a decision-making guide.
Finally, please feel free to contact me if you have questions or concerns about going back to your buildings. I would be happy to be part of one of your upcoming Session meetings via Zoom or phone. Meanwhile, I am grateful for all the ways you are worshiping virtually and serving your communities, and I am praying that you and your church families stay safe and well.
Transitional Presbytery Leader