COVID Update from WNCC Bishop & Cabinet
posted on May 20
I want to reach out and share a few updates:
- Our Governor is releasing next steps for "reopening" our economy. Please be aware that this does NOT mean that the Western North Carolina Conference (WNCC) recommends that you move quickly to reopen your churches for worship.
- You will continue to receive regular updates from the WNCC. As you may be aware, North Carolina has a lot of hotspots, and some are IN and adjacent to our own Northern Piedmont District. Please care for the well-being of your flock and family, and for all your hardworking leaders and their families.
- I covenant to give you PLENTY of notice about when we recommend that you consider indoor worship. In the meantime, please continue to organize your teams, order supplies, consider your building, make safety videos, etc. It's going to take more people than usual to hold Sunday worship services, so begin to consider who will be on these many teams when the time does come.
I personally feel that we are reaching a very critical time in this pandemic, and as more people begin to circulate, many more will be exposed. I urge you to stay the course and continue to perfect your online worship and discipleship. This statement from our Cabinet is very helpful:
The Bishop and Cabinet continue to recommend strongly that you follow the Conference, CDC, and state guidelines for the slow re-opening of churches. Jesus calls us to protect the most vulnerable among us. Our continuation with virtual, drive-in, or outdoor worship at least through June 30 is a way to love one another by not putting others at risk. Please remember that persons can transmit this virus without showing signs of being infected.
During this time, we encourage you to form a team to review the Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry, 24 Questions to Consider Before Re-Opening, Risk Assessment for Churches from our Conference Chancellor, Greg Huffman, and this article by Alex Shanks. Doing so will help your local church approach re-opening in faithful ways. Health officials continue to remind us that permission to do something may not be the wisest course of action. We are counting on clergy and laity leaders to resist rushing back into in-person worship and putting their congregations and communities at risk. Please take the time needed to discern what’s safest for your local church and community.
My Blessings to you all, and my thanks to you for your faithfulness,
Rev. Beverly B. Coppley
District Superintendent & Chief Missional Strategist
Northern Piedmont District
Western North Carolina Conference
United Methodist Church