December 18, 2020
|Dear Pastors and Sessions,|
Grace and peace to you in this season of joy and hope!
As we all know, while the COVID-19 vaccine holds great promise to allow us to return to a sense of normalcy, it will be some time before the vaccine is available to all of us. Until that happens, we will have to continue to deal with high rates of infection and death. Therefore, after thoughtful consideration, the Presbytery Vision team has adopted the following recommendation and guidance on in-person congregational gatherings as the COVID-19 pandemic continues:
|Due to recent reports of several pastors and congregation members experiencing severe illness and even death due to COVID – 19, the Vision team recommends that in-person worship and gatherings continue to be suspended in churches until the threat of infection is minimized in your county. We recommend that you utilize the COVID Act Now website at https://www.covidactnow.org. It allows you to daily track the risk level by county. The Vision team advises congregations to refrain from in-person gatherings for the safety of your pastor and members, until the color indicator in your county is yellow or green. Please remember that the safety and welfare of congregations, including the pastor or pulpit supply preacher, is the responsibility of each Session.|
However, if a Session has previously determined (as is their right per W-2.0303) that in-person church gatherings could commence, masks, physical distancing, and other hygiene protocols should be maintained until the vaccine has been widely distributed and the threat of the virus has become minimal. We also encourage congregations that have re-opened to continually review COVID levels in your area to determine if a temporary closure is needed in response to an increased level of infections.
We encourage all congregations to consult with local public health officials in making their decisions.
|The Presbytery website continues to maintain an information page regarding the pandemic and links to online worship services: https://glpby.org/. Please do not hesitate to contact the Presbytery office if we can be of assistance.|
Blessings in Christ,
The Giddings Lovejoy Presbytery Vision Team
Barbara Bowyer, moderator; Craig Howard, Joy Myers, Karl Houser, Chris James, Damayanthi Niles, Ruben Rosario-Rodriquez, Kathy Sherrick, Mark Thomas, Joyce Wilks-Love, Ed Zumwinkel