Reopening Guidance by Bishop James Hazelwood, New England Synod

Bishop James Hazelwood of the New England Synod
Tuesday, May 19, 2020

“I believe there is wisdom in proceeding slowly, watching and learning from others as they manage their own re-opening,” Bishop Hazelwood advised congregations of the New England Synod, the day after Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced houses of worship may reopen and resume worship services. “I strongly recommend that all of our congregations not hold any form of in-person indoor worship until at least July 1st.”

The bishop advised congregations to focus on five questions during May and June in consideration of whether or not to resume in-person worship after July 1st:

  1. How to maintain and enforce six feet physical distancing guidelines at all times – from worshipers entering and leaving the building to sitting in pews.  Who enforces this separation?
  2. The impact of no singing upon the worship gathering and the possibilities for transmitting the disease through the public speaking of leaders.
  3. The impact of no personal greetings, no handshakes or hugs, no sharing the peace.
  4. The impact of no coffee hour, no food, and no fellowship time before or after a service.
  5. Who will come?  By opening do we create an incentive for our most at-risk parishioners to engage in an activity that may put them to the virus?

Watch the video by clicking the link above. The text of Bishop Hazelwood’s letter to pastors and congregations of the New England Synod is available at this LINK