Planning for What's Next
The following plans are shared by Southern Ohio Synod congregations and are intended to act as examples of what congregations of various sizes are doing in regarding to re-opening church buildings and coming back together for worship and other activities. These plans are not endorsed in any way by the Southern Ohio Synod. Plans are provided for your leadership team to determine the best plan for your context, in conjunction with the current guidance from the Federal Government's Coronavirus Task Force, CDC, Ohio Department of Health, and Ohio Governor. Please also see the 'considerations' documents from the ELCA and Southern Ohio Synod Bishop's Office for how these guidelines might play out in a church setting.
SOS/ELCA Best Practices
Youth & Family In-Person Gatherings during COVID-19
COVID-19 To Form or Not to Form? That is the question...
As we traverse the ever-changing world of in-person ministry to young people during a pandemic, I noticed school systems are requiring parents to sign disclosure forms related to COVID-19 and in-person school gatherings, specifically for extra-curricular activities.
I want to raise the question for you as to whether or not you should create such a form. Of course, the final authority on the topic is your insurance company.
If your insurance company suggests you do create such a form, I compiled a couple of documents that you can use as a starting point.
COVID-19 Forms for Youth & Family Ministry
Recent research regarding the spread of COVID-19
This video explains what micro droplets are, how they are spread and how to limit how long they stay in the immediate environment. Support for increased ventilation in enclosed spaces and why outdoor gatherings are safer than indoor gatherings.
Recording of Bishop's call with rostered ministers and worship directors regarding singing in church
This call focused on the safety of singing during worship services during the current pandemic. Our guest presenters were Dr. Curt Passafume and Mr. Josh Brodbeck.
Publications to consider as congregations make a plan to begin in-person worship
Being Church Together During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Updated 5.12.20
Being Church Together During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Updated 5.20.20
From Citizens for Community Values (Ohio specific)
Article by Ken Braddy, Jr. (Not Ohio specific)
Clergy Coaching blog (Not Ohio specific)
(Not Ohio specific)
From Church Mutual Insurance
“No notice to CM (Church Mutual) is necessary and there is no impact on coverage. Insureds do not have a duty to advise their carrier of their intentions. All Church Mutual can do as a carrier is ask that their insureds follow all CDC, state and municipal guidelines as possible and that they focus on doing it safely”.
Check with your insurance provider to see what they advise regarding returning to in-person worship and liability coverage.
The article is a high-level overview of safeguards for consideration by houses of worship as they think about re-opening for public services.
How will my insurance coverage respond to a coronavirus claim?
Industry Best Practices
MIT COVID-19 Indoor Safety Guideline
COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool
This site provides interactive context to assess the risk that one or more individuals infected with COVID-19 are present in an event of various sizes. The model is simple, intentionally so, and provided some context for the rationale to halt large gatherings in early-mid March and newly relevant context for considering when and how to re-open. Precisely because of under-testing and the risk of exposure and infection, these risk calculations provide further support for the ongoing need for social distancing and protective measures. Such precautions are still needed even in small events, given the large number of circulating cases.
Wisconsin Council of Churches
Ohio Department of Health
National Association of Teachers of Singing
YouTube Video Discussion, May 5 2020
Article by Zach Finkelstein
Stewardship Resources from Pr. Mike Ward, our THRIVE! Campaign consultant:
You may access the recording at: April 23rd Online Workshop: Keeping Stewardship Strong in Uncertain Times.
The password is: 3M*T$8@!
Please note: the first 6 minutes includes “gathering time,” so you may wish to “fast forward” to timestamp 6:05 where the workshop begins.
Preferred ELCA Online Giving Providers