When Bishop Sharma D. Lewis announced the cessation of in-person worship in the Virginia Conference due to COVID-19 in March of 2020, she did so only after significant prayer and thoughtful consultation with experts in the religious, legal, and scientific communities. Her closure of our churches was done with the singular goal of saving lives and keeping individuals and their communities healthy, as we did our part as United Methodists to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Likewise, when Bishop Lewis formed a workgroup in late April to develop plans and procedures for resuming in-person worship in our churches, she did so with the same goal of keeping individuals and their communities healthy and safe. Following Bishop Lewis’ example, the workgroup also consulted professionals and resources from a variety of disciplines in order to develop the resources you will find on this web page.
It is the vision of the work group that what you find here will be dynamic documents that will updated with information gleaned from churches around the Conference as we walk together and learn from one other in these difficult and uncertain times. Contact your district superintendent if you have questions about these documents.
Be Advised: The regions of Northern Virginia, Accomack County and the City of Richmond are jurisdictions not moving on at this time to Phase 1 according to the Office of the Governor. Learn more…
News about re-opening churches on May 24; list of Pioneer and Drive-in churches (PDF) (Updated 05/23/2020)
The Graphical Presentation is a helpful resource for all members of congregations. It provides information found in the Plan Summary in a handy, checklist format while also offering succinct summaries of the different stages of reopening.
Plan Summary (pdf) (Updated 5/22/20)
The Plan Summary condenses the full Handbook for Local Churches. This document is a helpful resource for both congregational Healthy Church Teams as well as the broader leadership of the church, as it offers a snapshot of the tasks before us, including necessary things churches can begin doing immediately.
A Handbook for Local Churches (pdf) (You will find updates for the Local Church Handbook on Page 50, Attachment E: Tracking Edits to the Handbook) (Updated 5/22/20)
The Handbook for Local Churches is the master document. It provides detailed lists of steps congregations must take in order to gradually return to in-person worship in the Virginia Conference. The Handbook includes, in granular detail, what requirements are necessary while providing specific actions to meet these requirements. This document was originally posted May 14, 2020. Any revisions made to this document by the workgroup are noted in the PDF link above with the date they were made.
Childcare and Preschool Requirements and Guidelines (pdf) (Updated 5/21/20)
“I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous;
do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”