What Covid Precautions Is Your Church Following?

I’m curious what precautions your church is following. Some, such as the area Catholic churches, seem very good at following mask and social distancing rules. Others run the gamut, from a compromise, halfway mark, to separate meetings for those who want masks and social distancing, and those who don’t use them (mine is one of them). How do you interact with those with whom you disagree? Do you not attend their services if they’re high risk? How do you speak truth without alienation? I realize that no matter what we say, some will be alienated. However, how do we maximize influence by clear, gracious communication?

Thanks.

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Our church has yet to meet in person for a service since we stopped that way back in March. We’ve been meeting on Zoom every Sunday morning, and with no immediate end to that in sight, though some are starting to make noises about wanting to ease back into a ‘hybrid’ plan of a few coming in with many still participating from a distance. But so far we haven’t even done that. While we long for the face-to-face meeting again, we also value the ‘virtual’ meeting of each other as a whole lot better than nothing at all - and better than meeting while there is risk of contributing toward ‘super-spreading’ events.

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Thanks. It has been a real struggle for me, as my kids and family are under a lot of pressure not to wear masks, even when singing. I have had to insist, which is not easy at all. I have wanted to move to another service, but my wife is involved in the production of the children’s service where the pressure is.

One person told me that everyone comes to her church, because they don’t follow any Covid guidance at all. Is it mainly Baptists who resist masks? I’m going to have to become Mennonite or Catholic, at least for the time being!

Our (Baptist) church initially did some rearranging of pews to make distancing easier and had two services to not exceed gathering limits (though they’ve gone back to one now), and had a plexiglass screen in front of the pulpit, but I think that’s gone now. We livestreamed services for quite a while, and didn’t go back in person until they opened up a separate “health-conscious” room where masks are required (I only saw maybe a couple worn in the main sanctuary). I struggle with it because there is no Sunday school or staffed nursery, and so my husband and I trade off supervising our 2-year-old in a back Sunday school room while the rest of us watch church on a far-away TV monitor, and last week the service was almost 2 hours, and while I feel bad for it I will often think, “Wouldn’t it be easier to just livestream this at home so we could all watch it together?” It is nice to be able to take communion, at least, and see at least a few people – there are maybe 4 other families out there on most weeks.

Fortunately we had outdoor services over the summer with a small congregation my husband preaches for every other week. That has also been difficult since they’ve gone back into their building and my husband has been conflicted about where he should draw the line about preaching at churches that don’t mask up. Fortunately, he’s also been asked to preach at one that is very mask-conscious (Baptist, but more liberal) so we’ll be comfortable bringing the family there.

It can be very hard to balance managing risk with giving to our community. There are so many who have risked so much to teach and disciple, so there is a point at which refusing a preaching request due to non-masking seems wrong or even selfish, but it’s also not just about us – the nature of this is very communal and so it seems to me that we do have to draw the line somewhere. But we’ve wrestled quite a bit with how/when to do that.

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I haven’t actually been in person (it’s a long drive) but I watch online and my parents and brother’s family attend. Masks are required for five and over in the first service. (It’s a Baptist church, @Randy, but in an urban area in a blue state, maybe that’s more the key factor.) About 200 people attend. There is a separate viewing room for essential workers who are regularly exposed to COVID and want to stay away from more vulnerable people. (Lots of health workers in our church.) There is a separate viewing room for higher risk people who are limiting their contact with others. Two weeks ago they started back with nursery service/childcare. They hired a safety consultant and have instituted new protocols for disinfecting (like someone is always in the bathroom sanitizing after every use, they have a whole team that cleans things while people are in the building) Also I believe you have to sign in on entering the building for contact tracing records. The pastor and the vocalists remove their masks on stage, and their are plexiglass barriers around the microphones, and I think separating the vocalists from the musicians, who wear masks.

Two weeks ago they added a second service for people who say they can’t wear masks for so long. You still have to wear them any time you aren’t in your seat and you have to sit 6 feet from non-family. Only 60 people came though, so it’s unclear if they will continue to offer this concession to the mask-averse. It’s been a contentious issue, but the leadership has taken the position that wearing a mask is a service to others, and for those who don’t “believe in them” it’s a way of showing grace and not being a stumbling block, and that trumps “freedom” and personal comfort for Christians.

Most of the congregation is still staying home watching the live stream.

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With no in-person, indoor services for the rest of the year, there are still lots of things going on.

In 9 days we have our 25th Birthday Celebration on the lawn, with circles drawn on the lawn for social distancing and reservations required. Masks are required when we are outside the circles.

Our small group is still meeting by Zoom.

And the online services are very good.

Small group leaders meet by Zoom from time to time.

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Mine has been meeting in person, distanced. Masks are encouraged but not required (and the state mask mandate exempts churches :roll_eyes: ). We’ve been singing outside only, so no talking or singing inside by the congregation. But we’re about to start doing kids and adult classes in person, and they’re adding singing inside with masks required. Some folks are antimask, so I’m not sure how that’s going to go. I’ll be staying home when they sing inside. I’m not going to participate in that. They’re still streaming the service, as some folks come and stay in their car in the parking lot, and a few stay home completely (those who are very high risk). We also have classrooms available during the service for vulnerable people.

People are getting pandemic fatigue and pushing to “go back to normal”. It’s causing a lot of strife.

Some local churches are meeting completely outside. Some have been meeting without any precautions, though I know a couple of those that had super spreader events.

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Great examples; thanks, @Boscopup, @Christy @Laura, @03Cobra and @Mervin_Bitikofer. I also feel that my church is like a family, and we not only miss them, but tend not to wear masks around close family. However, when we are singing, and our groups are large… I have to wear one when I am around them. I am not terribly afraid of getting sick, but I am afraid of becoming a vector for the elderly, and am afraid that my wearing a mask won’t be enough when I am around a bunch of singing, maskless people. Also, it’s hard on my kids to be the only ones wearing masks.

Our church is meeting, masks are encouraged but not required. About 250 attend the main service with every other row of seats removed. Most wear masks in the common entrance, but remove them in the sanctuary. We attended a couple of weeks but may not return as it was very uncomfortable having people come up and hug, and having everyone singing in fairly close quarters unmasked. There is a separate room provided for those who wish to not sing unmasked, but seems about like watching the service online. We have gone to Sunday School small group, with about half the class there and appropriate distancing and masking observed by most, so that is good.
It is interesting in talking with the pastor, as he agrees the church service is high risk, but feels the pressure to meet this way, as we are in a very red region politically.

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A friend of mine commented this week that she has never felt more peer pressure than she has with Covid. And she’s had to make very difficult decisions because she was pregnant and now has an 8 week old. A small number of people don’t respect the higher risk and would come up to her without wearing a mask and would get very close, so her family won’t come in the building and often doesn’t even drive in.

This situation has really shown me who truly loves their neighbor. I know people at my church who think the mask is ineffective and don’t normally wear one, but they wear one around folks at church to make them comfortable. THAT is having a Christian attitude. Others are complaining about their civil liberties, with no regard for their brethren.

I’m in a red state and a very conservative church. When my dad offered me a Biden Harris bumper sticker, I jokingly asked him if he wanted me to get beaten up in the church parking lot. :laughing: In reality, there would probably be someone that would pull me aside and be concerned for my soul. :roll_eyes:

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Thought provoking.
I am concerned my anti mask family members are selfish, but they truly believe there is a concerted plot by Fauci and Gates to steal our freedom.

My sister who works in an ICU with Covid suggested we just love and pray for our relatives, and avoid talking about it…they only get mad anyway.

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Not a reason for Americans to be proud of themselves.

  - NYT email

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Not only are the laws for our safety, but they are also good for the economy and our productivity, reducing the high costs of emergency services and medicine, not to mention legal and insurance expense and litigation.

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It IS a plot. Just like you said (and I apologize for the snarkiness…sort of).

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Sorry, I should have left out medicine. :grin:

What? No, I agree, medicine costs way too much. I just liked the way you put it. Well done. I meant it is a government plot for our health. :wink:

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(It is hard to be a productive member of society when you are in traction or on a ventilator!)

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Yes! Good plots.

British Anglican here. We have social distancing, masks and hand washing. Services are also live streamed online for those who do not feel safe to attend in person. There is no congregational singing but a mixture of virtual choir recordings and small socially distanced group of singers provide music for the service.

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…and then you can generously offer to make intercessory prayer for their souls! :pray: :angel:

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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