Suspension of in-person worship services and gatherings extended through April 30, 2020


Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett and the North Alabama Cabinet have extended the date for the suspension of in-person worship services and gatherings through April 30, 2020, to be in compliance with Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s Stay at Home order issued on the afternoon of April 3 and current federal guidelines.

“I am proud of how our congregations have adapted their ministries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their creativity, innovation and commitment inspire me,” Bishop Wallace-Padgett says. “I encourage all our North Alabama congregations to continue as they have been over the last few weeks and put the safety of people first, especially those in high-risk categories. Though we miss gathering together, especially at the time of Holy Week and Easter, we continue to be a witness to our world through this sacrificial care for others.”

The Stay at Home order does allow some specific exceptions for religious services, such as weddings and funerals. The Order states that any religious event must involve “fewer than 10 people and the people maintain a consistent six-foot distance from one another.”

There is also an exception for “drive-in” worship services. They must adhere to the following rules:

  1. All participants shall remain in their vehicles for the entirety of the service;
  2. The participants in each vehicle all share the same place of residence; and
  3. Participants do not come within six feet of participants in other vehicles.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that all Americans wear face coverings in public settings. These can be non-medical grade masks, scarfs or bandannas. Churches are encouraged to ask participants at any worship gathering to follow this recommendation in addition to ensuring that gatherings are limited to 10 or fewer, and practicing social distancing.

The Bishop and Cabinet continue to monitor the situation and encourage all congregations to follow the restrictions and recommendations laid out by their local public health officials, the State of Alabama and the CDC.

If you have any questions, please contact your District Superintendent.

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