COVID Update As a New Year Dawns

posted on December 31

Dear Northern Piedmont United Methodists,

As a new year dawns, we continue to be grateful that we “are in this together” as we navigate COVID-19. In light of the very contagious Omicron variant that is making its way through our nation, we suggest you review our December 15 guidelines and perhaps consider a few recommendations for January planning.

You have our complete support as you make faithful decisions that are right for you in your context. Please be gracious to one another as we enter the third calendar year of balancing public health with advancing the mission of the Gospel. Physical and emotional exhaustion are real among our pastors and other leaders. They are doing their best each day and each week, with you in mind.

At this time, we make the following recommendations:

  • We feel it is best to recommend masks and distancing inside buildings as we weather this dramatic surge in cases over the next several weeks.
  • We hope that you will continue offering virtual worship opportunities, which can be accessed by those who may have been exposed to the variant, are ill and need encouragement, or are afraid to venture out in public at this time. We believe that virtual worship services are here to stay, and we encourage your investment in their excellence. Our District has resources to help you continue to improve these services; please let us know if you would like to learn more.
  • We know you are eager to return to programming, planning, and all the gatherings that bring joyful community to church life. Sadly, we suggest that when possible, you move to a Zoom (or similar) platform for meetings and studies during the month of January. If you cannot do that, please consider large meeting rooms for all events. Minimize the serving of food and beverages so as not to encourage removing masks to eat or drink unless socially distanced.

As always, these are only recommendations. Let us continue to do no harm, do all the good we can, and stay in love with God, even in changing circumstances and especially in a brand new year. God’s love for us never wavers, and this is a great time to renew our own covenants with bold faithfulness. With God’s help, together, and day by day, we will meet the challenges at hand.

Peace and Health in this New Year,

Rev. Bev Coppley
District Superintendent

COVID Update As a New Year Dawns