Updated Guidance as COVID-19 Cases Rise in Florida
Dear Florida Conference Churches and Clergy:
Last Thursday we wrote to encourage and inform you as you make decisions in the midst of this ever-changing reality. We know there is stress and anxiety in having to rethink decisions as the pandemic continues.
Today, we write to inform and encourage you so you have the information you need to make safe decisions. We are learning and adapting alongside of you. Bishop Carter stated on May 28th that our guidance around returning to in-person worship could change as the number of cases began to increase.
The latest information shows:
Based on this information we offer this updated guidance:
We continue to honor the sense that there is not a "one-size-fits-all" approach for every church around the conference. Contexts are different as cases rise at different rates in different counties and zip codes (click here for a county and zip code break down).
At the same time, your church is not the exception. We have had increased positive cases among clergy families, church staff, volunteers, preschool families, church members, and more. Some of these are connected to individuals who made exceptions to the protocols. Others are connected to the increased spread of the virus around us.
We encourage you to continue your discussions with your local church teams. In your discussion, you and your leaders might refer back to the article Why Reopening a Church is Different. Although it was written a few weeks ago, a key point remains the same: “Our reopening plans are not about what is best for the management of our church, but what is best for the common good and greater community. This is not a time to focus primarily on what we may be sacrificing by not gathering, but how we are serving and loving all our neighbors by not gathering too soon.”
If you have questions, please reach out to your District Superintendent or contact the Episcopal Office at email@example.com.
The Peace of the Lord,
Bishop Ken Carter and The Cabinet of the Florida Annual Conference
Dist: Everyone, DS and District AA
The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church
450 Martin L King Jr Ave, Lakeland, FL 33815