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How Churches Manage Church Gatherings

Since most churches have gone back into meeting in person for worship services, the implementation of guidelines for members to follow has been a challenge for church leaders and staff. People have not seen others in a very long time, so the sight of other people excites them. The chance of getting in contact with other people, the need to give and receive a hug—they would probably want to break the mandated social distancing rules.

With concern to the rules and your members’ individual preferences, how do churches manage these kinds of situations? What type of language should we use to communicate with them about the safety and comfort of everyone?

Protocol

“Out of our love for others we are following CDC guidelines including wearing a mask and social distancing. We’ve been meeting in person since June and relaxed some of our protocols since. Praise God the numbers have recently dropped significantly in our area.” Crissy Hatherly

“We have signs posted at every entrance, and in the parking lot, and looping on our TV’s in the lobby. Those signs say: Physical Distance. Wear A Mask. Stay Home If Sick. Our greeters, ministry leads, and stage hosts are in charge of creating and reminding people that, “We want to make sure that everyone feels safe and if that means not hugging or shaking hands that it’s worth it to be able to meet in person.” Mike Flannery

“Oddly enough, something super simple. As people come in, they are able to pick a red or green sticker. Then when they look around they will know who is ok with being hugged and who isn’t. It’s simple and fast and takes the guesswork out of it for your members.” Cory Brokaw

Language

“We’ve chosen to use language like “maintain 6ft between parties” or “physical distancing”. I’ve tried to avoid the phrase “social distancing” because people aren’t necessarily distanced socially (they aren’t alone or isolated, we are in this together), they are just physically distanced. Our choice of language was to emphasize that “social” and “connected” is bigger than just being near someone.” Amanda Dumas

“Initially we had signage asking people to ‘love each other from 6’ away’ but have removed those and now just remind everyone to respect those who want to keep their distance.” Kimberlee Hewitt Yount

“Our language has been simple. We literally repeat the state mandates as they are. Nothing more nothing less. And then when people ignore the mandates we assume that is their choice. We don’t consider it our place to police people in church. The signs are posted to wear a mask.” Steve Walters

Conclusion:

Physical distance does not stop us from getting connected spiritually. We have to respect each other’s preferences at this time and situation, but we also have to mind the safety of everyone.

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