Friends in Christ,
In recent weeks we have experienced a significant increase in COVID-19 positive test results, hospitalizations, and deaths. In response, our governor has issued an executive order limiting the size of indoor gatherings. While religious organizations are legally exempt from this order, I am strongly urging all our congregations to refrain from gathering indoors for worship and other activities until mid-November at the earliest.
A survey of synod congregations taken in early September revealed that 37% of our congregations were conducting indoor in person worship at that time. Even though I am confident that safety protocols have been in place, there is no way to completely eliminate the risk that gathering for indoor worship entails. I recognize that congregations may already have plans in place for this weekend that may not be possible to change, but I encourage you all to consider discontinuing indoor worship services as soon as you are able. We all need to do our part to help slow the spread of this disease.
Tonight from 6:30-8 pm, we will be offering the second of two zoom conversations for congregational leaders (pastors, deacons, council members, worship leaders, etc.) to discuss the challenges and decisions that congregations are facing regarding where and how to worship, connect, and serve in the coming months. Please contact your pastor if you wish to join.
Bishop Paul Erickson