Safely Reopening Churches


Safely Reopening Churches

Please understand that for at least the next year, we expect that our lives will be impacted by the timeline of COVID-19. We have gathered information and resources that your church and session can prayerfully look over and come up with a safe plan for reopening when it’s safe to do so. It will require some planning, coordination, creativity and teamwork. As Christ’s body, we care about the vulnerable among us so we  want to take steps to protect everyone because we are all God’s children.

Tentative Reopening Date:
Not Prior to June 30, 2021

Presbytery Leaders currently recommend delaying opening churches until after June 30, 2021 as of March 5, 2021.

Read Letter

Reopening during Covid-19 and after Michigan’s Governor allows it

Things to consider

  1. You may still want to continue live stream your services even if your church is open.
    There will be members of your congregations who are high-risk and may not yet be comfortable going to church yet. Include them by live streaming services and hosting virtual events. If your church is doing coffee hour, you could include them by projecting a ZOOM meeting onto a screen or a TV.
  2. Session will need to decide what the phases are and how to implement them. Start by having a conversation within session and members of your church. Listen to everyone’s concerns, gather evidence based information and recommendations and then discern together what the next steps should be.
  3. Creating a “COVID-19 Task Force” Team. This team will develop guidelines, plans, policies and oversee the implementation of those policies as long as COVID-19 is a threat. They will need to develop phases of re-entry for your faith community. It will need to describe in detail what each phases entail. Be prepare that each phases might last a few weeks or months at a time before moving to the next phase or back to the previous one. The phases will have to explain what the parameters will be and be depending on the health of your local community and county. Then they present their findings and make recommendations to session.
  4. Have a plan and volunteers to help prepare the building for worship gatherings – such as disinfectant supplies, marking 6 ft distance in high traffic areas, signage, spacing the worship space for each co-sheltering household, etc… (See “Prepping church building for reopening” below).
  5. Have a communication plan ready for how the session will communicate to the congregation on what the safety measures will be. This will help prepare the congregation and set expectations of what to expect when worship gathering resume. You want to start communicating this up to one month before the reopening date.
  6. Make a plan for how to worship in the sanctuary, do small or large gatherings or meetings safely.

Resources to help you plan

Things to Consider before Reopening

Comprehensive Guide prepared by church leaders and public health experts

Prepping Church Building for Reopening

  • CDC has provided signage and templates to create your own – Webpage
    • Print them applicable ones and hang them up throughout your church building.
  • CDC Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces – Webpage
  • Resuming Care-filled Worship and Sacramental Life during a Pandemic – See “get building ready” checklist on page 12 & 13  – PDF
    • Disinfecting all high-touch surfaces
    • Get and stock up on disinfectant supplies
    • Adjust spaces for church employees and volunteers to do their work while sufficiently physically distanced from the congregation and each other
    • Identify where seats are available. Ensure that all seating for all members have at least 6 feet in all direction between each co-sheltering household.
    • Post signs to inform or direct members and guests to
      1. maintain physical distancing
      2. wear masks
      3. entrances and exists
      4. about COVID-19 sympthoms
      5. how to wash and disinfect hands
      6. maintain physical/social distancing in restrooms
    • Place markers on the ground indoor and outdoor traffic areas at 6 ft intervals to ensure distancing is maintained between individuals and co-sheltering households
    • Consider using a separate entrance and exit to avoid people entering and existing at the same time
    • Provide wipes and sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol content along with trash cans at ALL points of entry, restrooms, at all exists and within reach of seating areas.
    • And more!

Music, Worship & Prayers




Sample Guidelines or Documents

What to do if member(s) aren't following CDC's Recommendations

Other Helpful Links

To read more about resources available for clergy and churches from PC(USA) and other sources visit the Helpful Links page.

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Next Stated Meetings

The next regular Stated Meeting will be at 9:30 a.m. Saturday 14, 2024, and will be hosted by First Presbyterian Church of Paw Paw

Visit the Presbytery Meetings page of this website and watch the eDIGEST for updated information about how to register for the meeting and where to find the Presbytery packet.

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