Millions of Americans are among the faithful believing worship is a significant part of life. During this Advent season and the celebration of Jesus’ birth, even more churchgoers traditionally are present inside the church. Christmas is the second-most popular holiday for church attendance.
A little more than a year and a half into the coronavirus pandemic, Pew Research reports most churchgoers think it’s finally safe to be back in the pews. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers general considerations for help to communities of faith for keeping staff and congregations safe as gatherings present a risk of increasing the spread of the coronavirus.
It’s important for those who believe in-person worship to be an essential part of life to know what measures your church leadership is taking to make gatherings safe, to minimize the spread of the virus. Church leadership – be it priests, pastors, or a governing committee – need to be transparent in how they’re addressing the needs of everyone.
Calling your church office to know the operations is a quick way to find out what measures are being taken at your church and whether going back to church is the right choice for you. Employees should be kept abreast of decisions made by leaders and be able to communicate as such.
In April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started endorsing unmasked worship for those vaccinated. But once the Delta variant started spreading, CDC recommendations were revised – vaccinated people should wear masks in public indoor settings.
Churches should provide protections and options that limit risk for those at higher risk for severe illness – older adults and those with underlying medical conditions. Offer remote worship – on campus if there’s an overflow on the limit of people in a room – so members can keep the 6-feet social distancing guide — and live-stream your services for those who are sick or are at high risk for the illness. Increase sanitizing stations throughout your church campus and offer masks to be worn correctly and consistently.
I, for one, believe in over-communication so people can decide how to best protect themselves while continuing the essentials of life. Post your decisions on entrances, on your websites and social media, and in your bulletins and newsletters. Don’t leave your congregation confused about safety measures being taken during this pandemic. Congregations look to their leadership to have made educated decisions for their flocks. Stay informed and keep your flock safe.
Kimberly joined the ACST Marketing team in October 2021. Before joining ACST, she spent several years in communications and graphic design roles, including at a Florence church that uses ACST programs, including Realm. Before her communications roles, she managed the newsroom as a content editor. Kimberly is a cradle Catholic who’s active in church life, serving in volunteer roles and participating in Bible studies.