What Covid Precautions Is Your Church Following?

In Finland, covid precautions in churches is a debated issue because the constitution gives very strong protection to freedom of religion. If needed, authorities can prevent public meetings and give strong recommendations about the upper limit of persons in private meetings but they do not give any orders or even recommendations for religious meetings - they simply do not have a right to that. Government is now planning to start discussion with churches to find out if these would voluntarily accept that church meetings would be added to a new law focusing on disease prevention. After that, authorities would have a right to limit the number of persons attending religious meetings.

Despite the freedom of churches, churches have largely adopted all general recommendations given by authorities and in many cases, have even been more cautious than the surrounding society. As far as I know, there has been only one case where a church happening spread covid to a number of people; in the meeting, less than 100 attended, 50 got covid. This was a very new church in Finland that attracted young adults to a happening in a limited space. It has been God’s grace that there has been no such cases in the other churches.

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Couldn’t agree more. Well said.

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Yes, it’s wasted breath in my experience. Still, do you not warn someone about the cliff in front of them even if you know they won’t listen?

I think that’s a common reaction among pastors in red, rural areas. Just reading the responses, I’m more than concerned about this winter. Too many churches are pushing to “get back to normal.” The private Christian schools in ABQ have been having school and sports as usual. One is already shutting down. Many school districts in red areas are meeting in person. Universities are hot spots. Whenever I watch a college football game in the Big 12 or SEC, by the second half the crowd has made its way to the good seats and no one is wearing mask. Then there’s the irresistible draw of Thanksgiving dinner. Lots of potential superspreader events piled on top of one another. We’re in trouble.

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I agree. Lots more disease, lots less concern is a bad combination.
I learned today that a college buddy who was a beloved pastor in Alabama died this week of Covid. Pastoring is a high risk job these days.

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A friend at church is a PT. There was a picture of her on Facebook today in full PPE. I suspect she has to manipulate the limbs of comatose patients on ventilators in ICU. They do that, right, to reduce atrophy and improve circulation? A priest in a neighboring town died of COVID last week (he was a friend of another family at church).

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As of now my church is still doing online services although from what I know they plan sometime next year I think they are planning of slowly re-opening to a limited number of people.

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Numbers are definitely increasing, though still relatively low here. Seems some flaunt taking off their masks once inside a church or grocery store.

Nebraska had its third highest new case count day today. The top ten have been during the last three weeks.

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Michigan reversed its motorcycle helmet law a few years ago, apparently letting folks drive without them to attract more money. My wife and I saw someone a month or so ago, riding his motorcycle with a mask but no helmet! Maybe it was just to prevent bug stains on his teeth (you know how to identify a happy motorcycle driver). :slight_smile:

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Our church, in north Texas, began very limited live service two weeks ago. We were able to attend for the first time yesterday. Required a reservation and assigned seat, mask required for duration of service, every other row of pews was blocked off. Controlled ingress and egress, no standing in service. Despite these requirements it was a great service. Our church has been live streaming and using Zoom for bible study and SS. The church staff has been absolutely fantastic during this time fully utilizing live streaming, zoom, Facebook to engage the congregation.

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Our church did have a 25th Birthday Party Sunday. It was outdoors on the lawn, with circles for groups painted on the ground.

Outside the circle, masks were required. Reservations were required.

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I know people even in Michigan who make your church their home church. Amazing times we live in. Looks like they were able to do the celebration well despite the times.

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It is paradoxical. We have more Covid in our community than ever, yet people are taking less precautions. We went to Sunday school this week and people tended to take appropriate precautions, but in worship most do not, so we are going home and watching online. Frustrating.

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Yes, right as the surge is starting here, my church starts in person classes and singing inside (masks strongly encouraged but not technically required - everyone was wearing a mask for singing this past Sunday though). The classes are social distanced, and I’m comfortable with that, but the singing inside… nope. I worshiped from home and plan to continue doing so on Sunday mornings. My husband took the kids so they could go to class. My husband isn’t as concerned about the singing as I am, but I have to draw the line somewhere. And I imagine people will at some point get lax and not wear masks during singing. There’s also the added time of the adults being in the auditorium… it used to be less than an hour, and now it will be about 2.5 hours for service plus adult class, and they’ve just sung 4 songs in the middle of it.

The major local hospital had a 25% increase in Covid patients this week from where we had plateued. They’ve handled twice this much during the last surge, so I think they’ll be ok IF people will follow basic recommendations. My fear is that people will still attend Halloween parties, large family gatherings, etc. I’m also seeing more people go without a mask in the stores, even though we have a mask mandate. Thankfully it’s still a small number. Without the mandate, a lot of people wouldn’t be wearing them.

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Our (large, suburban, Boston-area) church has been entirely online until the last couple of weeks, when they’ve been trying a experiment of letting a limited number of people watch the pre-recorded service while scattered around the sanctuary. I don’t know what they’re going to do after one more week of the experiment; with case counts rising steadily in the state, it doesn’t seem like a great time to be relaxing precautions.

And for everyone feeling peer pressure: being in a closed room with people singing (with or without masks) is utterly insane.

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That’s what I think, and yet most of the churches like mine in the area are doing it. :confused:

Every time that peer pressure starts to push on me, I look at the surge that’s starting and say, “Nope, I made the right decision.” Even if I’m the only one that seems to not be ok with it.

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My husband and I ended up deciding that singing is really the clincher for us too. So now if he gets asked to preach anywhere he will only agree to it if the church asks all attendees (they’re usually small churches) to either mask while singing or meditate silently instead, and also to mask while coming and going. I really don’t think that’s too much to ask, and yet in our home church’s main auditorium, it’s apparently still a free-for-all. I think being in a rural state makes it easier to shirk regulations without any immediate repercussions. But it only takes one person…

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Given the trend in rural states, I wouldn’t count on there being no repercussions.

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Yep, I wouldn’t either. Our state (Maine) just had its highest single-day spike in cases, which is still low compared to other states, but it’s not going to stop anytime soon. The state has already had at least two super-spreader events that started (or were aided by) churches, one of which spread to a nursing home where several people died. I’m glad to see many churches taking serious precautions (one we have visited requires masks for all, at all times), but many still don’t, and at this point it’s pretty unlikely that a “non-masking church” is going to reverse course.

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Great news! My church decided to mask for the 2 services (11 am and 5:30 pm) that they were not masking for before.

There is a lot of pressure not to use masks.

Tentatively, it’s only for 2 weeks–but I’m praying that’s only because people need to get used to the idea.

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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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