Some countries have worked with synagogues by following guidelines to reopen carefully, but many will interpret your call as a signal that it is safe for churches across the country to reopen.
Friday’s press conference can mention: a burden the priest because parishioners might pressure them to make hasty decisions. And it threatens to divide the church who have different opinions about when and how to reopen.
Earlier this year, many pastors received inadequate information about when to close their doors, and some faced deadly consequences. Your announcement makes the decision more difficult for church leaders by complicating the clear public health message that caution during reopening is the key.
Of course we want to go back to church. Some pastors who have begun opening in several states have been preparing for several weeks for how to open safely and in consultation with local public health officials. But an announcement on Friday did not give the pastor enough time to take the preemptive steps needed to open on Sunday.
And pastors, just because the president said on Friday that the church is “important” and must be reopened doesn’t mean you have to turn on the lights again this Sunday.
Public health experts urge that they continue mass meetings in person. Earlier this week, director of the National Institutes of Health Francis Collins openly the word“I think as Christians we must have number one priority that we will care for the sick and the vulnerable. Therefore, I cannot see that it is justified to unite many people even in the name of worship, because of the risk it poses. “
Before any church opens its doors, leaders must take time to prepare policies and guidelines which protects those who will be present using the best science and guidance available.
As leaders who have navigated pastors through natural disasters in the past, we provide a checklist for reopening the church. For example, we suggest that churches reach out to their insurance companies to ensure they do not put their congregation at financial risk. Churches must also be able to secure a proper supply of sanitation that will help prevent the possible spread of Covid-19. Leaders need to recruit and train volunteers to guide the reopening process, such as helping with social distance measures. Leaders especially need to communicate with participants about possible policy or procedural changes, such as how Communion might look different.
Unfortunately, public health guidance from the federal government is confusing. The initial draft guideline for houses of worship that offers direct and concrete guidance is finally suspended after much debate in the White House and replaced with a set of less concrete guidelines on Friday. For example, the new guidelines do not make recommendations about important questions that must be navigated by pastors such as whether singing is safe or logistical about how people should gather in the building.
Friday’s announcement made it difficult for leaders to look to federal agencies as a trusted resource based on how Trump had used his executive authority. He has minimized voices that have different views (such as suppressing previous CDC guidelines for the religious community), he opposes current medical knowledge by saying he will take malaria drugs that have been warned by scientists not to be used to treat viruses, and he continues to wear clothes public in public. face mask.
Trump’s statement undermines our country’s ability to respond to this pandemic fairly by placing politics above public health. The aim seems to be to reach out to evangelicals and Catholics, who will be valuable voters in the upcoming elections.
Some of the religious leaders we spoke with said the people in their congregation, who were already below emotional tension, express various opinions about the desire to return to the church building. Some will stay away until there is a vaccine, and some want (or have) returned as soon as possible.
If we get together and cause a community outbreak, as happened in a large church in South Korea, and this week here in the United States in Georgia, Texas and Arkansas, it’s risking people’s lives. We must pay attention to others in the way we reopen.
In some places in this country, starting to gather privately can be done carefully, wisely and with joy. We who live in areas where caution remains high can continue to be creative in worship, in mutual support, and in serving our community. If we choose to emphasize the impact on our rights to the public health impact of our meetings, we reduce our love for our neighbors.
As the Apostle Paul once wrote, “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say – but not everything is useful. ‘I have the right to do anything’ – but not everything is constructive. “
During the state lockdown, many Christians expressed frustration at seeing liquor stores remain open and categorized as “important” while houses of worship had to close their doors. Of course houses of worship are still important for the lives of many people and provide key resources for their communities. The church is very important, but gather privately yet.
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