New Guidelines for Congregations from the RRR Task Force

The COVID-19 Reentering, Reopening, Reimagining (RRR) Task Force called by Bishop Stokes has developed guidelines and advice as our church buildings move through the phases of re-opening. The Task Force issued its initial report on June 5, 2020. That report has now been replaced by a new one dated March 18, 2022. 

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34-35

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic,  the conditions affecting our worship and work as congregations and as disciples of Christ have changed many times since March 2020, and will continue to change. What does not change, and cannot change, is our primary commitment to love one another as Jesus has loved us. That commitment must be an active one on the part of congregations and individuals, and must adapt to the unique situation of each congregation.

Congregations are encouraged to plan for the protective measures and the policies and freedoms that best suit the needs, risks, and unique situation of their specific community; with love for one another and our community at the center of that planning. No congregation is required to conform to the standards of a different congregation or congregations.

This set of guidance from the Reentering, Reopening, and Reimagining (RRR) Task Force is meant to help congregations, their leaders and members, care for one another and plan to gather and work together with appropriate care and freedom as the pandemic continues to evolve. In addition, the Task Force or the Bishop may issue specific directives or guidance that temporarily supersede the guidance and permissions in this document.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. […] The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’, nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ […] God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
—1 Corinthians 12:12, 21, 24b-27