Earlier today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new interim guidelines to communities of faith in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The guidance was offered by the CDC in an effort “to help communities of faith discern how best to practice their beliefs while keeping their staff and congregations safe.”
Overall, the CDC guidance is reasonable and helpful. The tone is, appropriately, not a directive to churches but counsel based on the medical data. Such counsel is hard to make specific since practices differ so much from congregation to congregation, even within the same religion or denomination.
Just as with shelter-in-place recommendations in March, most congregations are already on top of thinking through these issues. Church members want to be confident that when their church reopens every reasonable precaution is taken, and that’s exactly what pastors and church leaders are doing. The CDC guidance will come as a reassurance to many churches that their hard work in planning out the path back to worship is, in most cases, in line with the recommendations of health officials.
Your Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission will continue to advocate for religious freedom and ensure that churches are equipped to navigate these important issues. As always, we are praying for you and your church.
For the Kingdom,
Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission