Dear Friends in Christ,
We write to you aware that the journey in this long season of COVID 19 has had many twists and turns requiring continual pivots of ministry practice. Often this has been due to the varying surges of infection throughout the geography of the Heartland Conference. Now it seems another pivot is upon us as vaccinations begin to be more widely delivered. A sense of hope is being cautiously engaged as the possibility of life opening up seems closer.
However, because the dissemination of vaccines is happening in ways that are not uniform across the whole population, important considerations remain regarding in-person engagement for worship and other church gatherings. At this stage vaccination alone is not the only practice of public health which must be considered. Other practices such as physical distancing, mask-wearing and well-developed cleaning protocols remain vitally important among other things outlined in the pages that follow.
With this in mind, in response to requests for guidance regarding worship re-engagement at this point in the COVID journey, we offer you the accompanying recommendations. You will note that there are numerous links to CDC and health department sites which will be helpful to you in your discernment about how best to keep your communities safe even as the desire to be together grows stronger over time. No two situations will be exactly alike. However, every situation must be governed by the love of Christ whose first priority was always tending the needs of those most vulnerable and at risk.
Please know that we pray God’s guiding spirit and strong blessing upon you as you discern when and how best to faithfully engage your life together. Even as we all hope for a quick end to this long season, may a patient spirit prevail so that the number of deaths can be as few as possible. This is our great hope and our high calling.
Blessings on you!
The Heartland Conference Leadership Roundtable Members:
David Long-Higgins (Transitional Conference Minister), Daniel Busch (Northwest Association Minister), Patricia Battle (Central Southeast Association Minister), Nayiri Karjian (Living Water One General Minister), and Carl Robinson (Southwest Ohio Northern Kentucky Association Designated Minister).