Mid-August Pandemic Task Team Update



Grace and peace,

We want to thank you for all the ways in which you are faithfully following what has been released from the conference as it pertains to navigating a safe path for worship in our various congregational sizes and contexts. Although COVID-19 has been our reality for several months now, the context for Mississippians and the nation is constantly changing. Likewise, the team’s response may change often to keep up with the growing challenges related to this ever-evolving pandemic. In our continued commitment to offer recommendations and resources to help faith communities across our connection to do no harm during this coronavirus pandemic, the pandemic task team offers the following best practices from our recent gathering:

  • Congregations need to reserve in-person gathering to Sundays and Wednesdays only. Since some particles can remain airborne, no one should be allowed to enter that space—even to clean—at least an hour after the last in-person gathering. Therefore, if you are planning on having more than one service in the same space, please take that into consideration in your scheduling.
  • Children will remain with their parents/guardians for the duration of the service.
  • Meeting outside is better than meeting inside. However, even if you gather outside, limit your groups to 25 people or less in addition to practicing social distancing. Whether you gather outside or inside, you need to wear a mask. This does not pertain to drive-in services as long as people remain in their vehicles.
  • Those churches that have day cares, mothers’ day out programs and the like need to adhere to state health regulations and guidelines
  • Pastors and church staff are encouraged to prioritize self-care and stay in healthy relationships with others. Give yourselves permission to take a mental health break. Clergy in the Mississippi Conference can take advantage of EAP mental health resources.

Due to the uncertainty around COVID-19 and positivity rates as students return to school, the best practice for children and youth is to wait until students return and are settled into school before progressing with church in-person gathering and activities.

For those congregations who have prayerfully discerned the need to—at this time—continue not gathering in-person, we see your abundance of care and love for your neighbors and yourself and celebrate your good works in persisting in creative ways to keep your folks in community with each other while social distancing.

Praying that your soul prospers as your health prospers,

The Mississippi Conference Pandemic Task Team:
                Dr. Marcus Gaut                             Dr. Bob Ford
                Dr. Steve Shirley                            Dr. Thais Walden
                Mrs. Lynette Harris                        Mrs. Sarah King
                Rev. Haywood Hannah                  Rev. Trey Skaggs
                Rev. Dr. Joe Ranager      
Ex-officio members:
                Bishop James E. Swanson Sr.      Rev. Vickie White
                Rev. Dayna Goff                            Rev. Fred Britton

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