Planning Ahead To Reopen In-Person Worship
Reopening Procedures Forum
The Disaster Response Network hosted a Zoom forum on May 8, 2020, to discuss how congregations can plan ahead to safely reopen in response to COVID-19. Dr. Natalie Del Vecchio of the University of Iowa College of Public Health and Steve O’Neil, coordinator of Cerro Gordo County Emergency Management, were guests. The video of that forum can be viewed and downloaded below.
Considerations For Returning To In-Person Worship
The ELCA churchwide organization offers the Considerations for Returning to In-person Worship resource document to help congregations decide when and how they will be able to gather again for worship. This document offers general guidance for congregations to consider, such as hygiene and safety, physical distancing, worship practices, timelines for gathering sizes, and more.
Reopening Plan Example
Pastor Kyle Barton, facilitator of the Disaster Response Network, and the leadership of St. James in Allison have developed a reopening plan and have shared it below. Pastor Barton stresses that this plan is not perfect, but it is how St. James has discerned to move toward reopening in the safest manner. The leadership in each congregation must contextualize a plan that is appropriate to their setting.
The links below were useful for developing the St. James reopening directive:
The Disaster Response Network is available as a resource as congregations move forward through the various phases of reopening.
Pastor Kyle Barton
[insert email address here]
Dr. Natalie Del Vecchio
University of Iowa College of Public Health
Coordinator of Cerro Gordo County Emergency Management
Faith Leaders Respond To Reopening Churches
On April 27, 2020, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation allowing spiritual and religious gatherings in Iowa beginning May 1.
The Northeastern Iowa Synod Conference Deans and Chaplains and faith leaders from across Iowa encourage congregations to refrain from in-person gatherings at this time. Their statements of response are below: