Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As you may know, Governor Roy Cooper hosted a news conference yesterday evening where he provided the guidelines for the state's reopening and regathering under Phase 2 which is set to begin on May 22 at 5:00 pm. As I indicated during the deanery zoom sessions, the diocesan guidelines were in a draft format and would be subject to change due to any new directions from the State of North Carolina.
As a result, I am now in the process of modifying the regathering guidelines to align with the provisions and recommendations of the state public health and medical leaders. One thing it will be helpful to know going forward is that my guidelines will follow the new recommendations from the State of North Carolina and the following two directives will be included in the updated document:
1. No indoor, in-person worship will be allowed during Phase 2. Clergy may continue to offer virtual worship from the sanctuary of their church with the understanding that no more than 10 people may assist in the liturgy.
2. Outdoor in-person, worship or other church events will be allowed with no more than 25 persons present and where you can adequately space people or family groups 6 feet or more apart.
I will be meeting with the Standing Committee later this afternoon to discuss any modifications. The updated guidelines will include more details for your review and they will be send directly by email to you within the next forty-eight hours.
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