Sept. 9 Pandemic Task Team Update

9/9/2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 9, 2020

Brothers and sisters in Christ,

Last week we asked for your feedback on the guidance we have offered related to practices to decrease coronavirus exposure within your congregations and we want to thank you for responding! Thank you for sharing your successes and challenges. Thank you for bringing forth concerns on topics we have yet to release. We have heard your inquiries and we are going to address those in this announcement.
 
Q: Why are churches advised not to have choirs and congregational singing?
A: Aerosol emission during singing can project 20 to 25 feet--much farther than just speaking. This increases the risks of spreading COVID-19.  
 
Q: What are best practices for funerals?
A: The pandemic task team has developed a best practices document (black and white version here) based on guidelines from the CDC and the Mississippi State Department of Health. We encourage pastors to share this document through as many channels as possible with their congregations and those parishioners requesting use of church facilities or pastoral presiding.
 
We would like to remind you that the best way to reduce risks of transmission of COVID-19 is to use individual servings of Communion wafers and juice. Be diligent about checking the expiration dates on the boxes of these servings. We strongly advise against using the intinction method. Also remember to space out in-person gathering by at least three days as some particles can remain present on surfaces for days. Additionally, some particles can remain airborne and 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.
 
There has been ongoing conversation pertaining to guidance with children and youth ministry, as they each face their own unique challenges. Representatives from both ministries have been invited and added to the team and are eager to aid and bring awareness to challenges created by COVID-19. More resources related to ministering to young people during the pandemic will be released in the near future. What has not changed in ministry with minors is the need to comply with Safe Sanctuaries policies.
 
Finally, we want you to know that we celebrate your successes and appreciate all your efforts to do no harm and wear masks, as your hard work has helped state infection numbers and deaths decrease. Continue to wear masks, practice social distancing and sanitize your hands often.
 
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                     Mrs. Jamie Beatty
                Mr. Cameron Cloud
 
Ex-officio members:
                Bishop James E. Swanson Sr.      Rev. Vickie White
                Rev. Dayna Goff                            Rev. Fred Britton
                Miss Jasmine Haynes                   Mr. Mike Howington



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