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COVID-19: Reopening to Reimagining Task Force Letter
May 12, 2020
To the Clergy & Churches of the Greater Atlanta Presbytery:
As we faithfully approach Pentecost and navigate these COVID-19 waters together, we are reminded of the images of water and fire from Isaiah 43, 
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, 
they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you."
Now and always, we lean on our God to walk alongside us, knowing that we are not alone. In that same spirit, we seek to come together as a connectional church as we reorient our focus, shift our expectations, and reimagine what it looks like to return to the church building. 
This letter is intended to offer a framework for churches to explore as we begin to enter the Phases of Reopening America. Specifically, we hope to equip and support our clergy and staff as you make decisions in your context, knowing that you are assessing the needs of your particular congregation and discerning your own path forward. 
The three tables below place the Opening Up America Guidelines according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The White House next to the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta's specific recommendations as it relates to returning to our church buildings. We recommend that churches use the 14-day gating criteria to move between the phases. You can stay up-to-date and informed with current data via  Opening Up America Guidelines Georgia Department of Public Health , and  The COVID Exit Strategy .

As implementation of the official governmental phases begin, perspectives and opinions on what is appropriate during each phase will vary. Our hope is that these recommendations might assist you as you make decisions about next steps and help sessions and congregations discern the path for their community.  Please note that we have not yet met the gating criteria for Phase One according to the  Opening Up America guidelines   and that we will need to be nimble as we adapt to and between each phase.
There is no pressure or rush from this task force or from the staff of the Presbytery of Greater 
Atlanta to begin in-person worship prior to meeting the gating criteria of Phase Two. 
We encourage you to take this time to create a strategic plan for your context. 
We also strongly recommend that you speak directly with your insurance company as a first step as you prepare for these phases. 
The attached infographic titled  "COVID-19 Prevention Strategies" offers explicit strategies and tools to help you begin preparing your faith community and your building as we anticipate these phases. 
As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving daily, and we are called, as faith leaders, to evolve alongside it. As we stand together at the intersection of faith and health, we will stand unified by our commitment to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. 
Let us go forth in faith,
The COVID-19 Reopening to Reimagining Task Force
Rev. Aisha Brooks-Lytle, Executive Presbyter
Rev. Joy Fisher, Congregational Consultant
Elder Destiny Williams, McDonough Presbyterian Church, PGA Moderator
Rev. Hamilton Barnes, Piedmont Hospital Chaplain
Rev. James Goodlet, First Presbyterian Church - LaGrange
Rev. Bradley Kibler,  Master of Public Health (MPH) , Shallowford Presbyterian Church
Rev. Olive Mahabir, First Presbyterian Church - Jonesboro
Rev. Erin Morgan, First Presbyterian Church - Monroe
Rev. Francis Son, Korean Community Presbyterian Church
Rev. Dr. Tony Sundermeier, First Presbyterian Church - Atlanta
Rev. Hodari Williams, New Life Presbyterian Church
Reference Links


Find these and other resources on our website:  www.atlpcusa.org/covid19

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