Covid Guidelines update – West Virginia Conference

By Sandra Steiner Ball

April 8, 2021

As the Church our first and foremost mandate is the love God and love neighbor.  Our mission is to reach those who are not yet connected with Christ or with our congregations so that we can fulfill our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ.  With this in mind, we must continue with the guidelines that keep the vaccinated as well as the unvaccinated in our community safe.  We may think that all members of our congregations are vaccinated.  That could be true; however, our mission is to reach those who are beyond the persons who currently are members of our congregations, to reach those we perhaps do not even know.

To this end:  Continue to work with your relaunch teams to make sure you are supplying safe space, procedures, process, and sanitation that works for the vaccinated as well as the unvaccinated. The CDC guidelines are changing constantly; keep up with them by using the CDC website. Constantly check with your County Health Officials.  

The infection rate is currently rising in West Virginia and beyond.  The infection rate is growing among our children and our young adults.  Most of our County Health officials and our state health officials have asked that congregations still refrain from congregational singing and that congregations use smaller groups of musicians with barriers between the musicians and those gathered or use taped musical offerings.

Remember, even though we may know that all the members of our congregations may be vaccinated, we always invite the community, the guest, the traveler to the worship and other activities of the Church.

Additionally, these guidelines continue to be in effect:

  • The use/wearing of masks from the time people exit their cars until they return to their cars.
  • Maintain 6 feet of space between family units who live together in one household.
  • Organized entry and exit of indoor spaces so that physical distance between persons/family groups is maintained.
  • Sanitize regularly. (The CDC guidelines for cleaning and sanitation have been updated – please check the CDC website)
  • The practice of taking temperatures as people enter indoor spaces for worship or meetings remains highly recommended. 
  • All ministry groups, especially those where high numbers of persons would be un-vaccinated – like children and youth ministry – should be strongly encouraged to adhere to the guidelines above.

Thank you for taking seriously the safety of all God’s people!  Thank you for continuing to provide online and radio access to your services for those with whom you have connected or re-connected as you move to again use church buildings for worship and other activities.  

Not all persons will feel comfortable returning to the sanctuary for a variety of reasons; and in addition, you have connected or reconnected with persons in your community who are physically or vocationally unable to get to your church building during your established worship hours. Please do not leave people behind or disconnect from them as you begin to use your buildings for worship and other activities.

Follow this link for the COVID toolkit for faith communities from the Centers for Disease Control.

Follow this link to download this message from Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball.