Wisconsin Conference Covid Task Team Update - January 2022

On January 5, 2022, the Wisconsin Council of Churches urged churches in Wisconsin to return to “Physically Distanced” ministry. ( Press Release ) Online ministry is indeed the safest way to engage in ministry and can be an expression of love for God and one another.  Yet the COVID 19 Taskteam understands that is this not a workable solution in all churches.  In difficult decisions there is often a balancing of benefits and burdens and a contextual discernment in how God calls us to be the church. We urge each church to continue its ongoing and important discernment.

We remind our United Methodist Church members that the United Methodist Church is a co-led denomination- clergy and laity lead together. The decision does not belong to one or the other but is part of our continuing relational work.  Our Christian tradition calls us to our basic commandments, to love God and our neighbor.  Our Wesleyan tradition calls us:
                                               1. Do No Harm
                                               2. Do Good and
                                               3. Stay in Love with God

Our theological task is to discern how God is calling us to be faithful in our current contexts.
It is in this spirit that we offer some questions to support your discernment and a safety pyramid.


QUESTIONS FOR DISCERNMENT

  • What is the level of health risk in your church?  (Your pastor, staff, members)
  • What are the needs and risks in your community? What is the state of health care in your community? (Is there adequate access to doctors, hospitals, and tests in your community?)
  • What is your contingency plan in the event your pastor, musician or other worship leaders contract the COVID and cannot lead?

 

Tiered Approach to Safety

SAFEST
Worship virtually, limit all personal contact to masked, distanced, and boosted individuals; Record in areas with good ventilation (4 or more air exchanges per hour) Read More
Suspend all high touch ministries or move to no/low contact alternatives

CAUTIOUS OPEN APPROACH
Offer in person worship with protocols in place (Guidelines)
Masked (Masking Document)
Vaccinated/boosted for all who are eligible
Physically Distanced (Reservations if appropriate)
Ventilation/Air purification
Tracing protocol
 
No food services
Suspend all high touch ministries or move to no/low contact alternatives
 
OPEN APPROACH – NOT RECOMMNEDED
Precautions optional
Allow masks and follow social distancing guidelines