Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Yesterday afternoon, Governor Roy Cooper announced that he is modifying North Carolina Phase 3 beginning this Friday, November 13. Specifically, he is reducing the capacity for all indoor mass gatherings from 25 people to 10 people only. This order is in effect until December 4, 2020.
As I am aware that the Governor's modification will only be in place for the next three weeks, I am not directing that churches in our diocese reduce capacity for in-person gatherings. I continue to trust clergy and parish leaders to discern what is best for their context. As I mentioned to each deanery clergy gathering earlier in October, there may come a time that I direct the reduction of in-person capacity. Please know that I will continue seeking the guidance from public health advisors and closely monitor the situation over the next three weeks.
Likewise, outdoor in-person worship or other church events will continue to be allowed with no more than 50 persons. Finally, face coverings must continue to be worn and everyone must continue to observe physical distancing at all church in-person gatherings and worship.
Please know I am grateful for each one of you and your ministry. You remain in my prayers.
The Rt. Rev. José A. McLoughlin
Bishop of the Diocese of Western North Carolina