Phased Re-Gathering Plan for Churches

The Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church is providing this phased re-gathering plan to guide churches during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bishop Ough issued plan, which are driven by our Three Simple Rules:

  • We are a people that do no harm. We practice physical distancing to minimize harm to others, especially the vulnerable. 

  • We are a people that do all the good we can. We care for the spiritual and physical needs of our neighbors, providing food, emotional support, and supporting our health care system.

  • We are a people that stay in love with God. When we love God through prayer, praise, and worship, we grow in love of our neighbor. Love of God and love of neighbor are inseparable.

Our United Methodist faith communities can and must be first responders in caring for the spiritual, physical and mental health of all of God’s people all across Minnesota by actualizing these Three Simple Rules. We have come to understand, like never before, that the church is not a building. It is the expression of God’s love made visible through the actions of devoted followers of Jesus. We offer this plan as a framework to help church leaders make healthy and pastoral decisions, not as a fixed set of guidelines that will account for every circumstance. Although each church will need to make some decisions specific to its context and discernment, it is our expectation that every congregation will operate within each designated phase at any given time. 

We are currently in the RED Phase.

People are advised not to gather with anyone outside of their household, and there are restrictions on many businesses. The number of cases is high and rising, and hospital capacity is a significant concern.

Church buildings are closed. Specifically, this means:

  • Churches should worship online only.

  • Pastoral care visits should be done by phone or online.

  • Staff, leadership team, ministry team, youth group, and other group meetings should be done virtually.

  • Weddings and funerals should be postponed if at all possible. Outdoor weddings and graveside services can be conducted provided no more than 10 people are gathered and those present follow social distancing guidelines and family units remain at least six feet apart from one another. These gatherings should be live streamed when possible to allow greater participation.

  • Under state order, there can be no wedding receptions or post-funeral gatherings through Dec. 18.

  • Church volunteers should cease activities that require them to leave their homes.

  • Having a few people record or live stream worship from your church sanctuary is permitted. If you do this, be sure everyone in the building follows social distancing guidelines and that the number of people does not exceed 10 in compliance with Minnesota Department of Health recommendations.

  • Clergy can leave their homes in order to do essential work that cannot be done remotely; they should remain at home and connect with people virtually whenever possible.

Faith * Hope * Love

Peace United Methodist Church is open to worshipers of all ages and backgrounds. We lead our congregation in worship, deepening the connection to God, understanding the teachings of Christ, and ultimately to a vibrant faith.

Phone: (507) 825-4348

500 7th St SE, Pipestone, MN 56164, USA

©2020 by Peace United Methodist Church.

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