Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for faith communities

Shortly after news of the first person-to-person transmission of COVID-19 in the U.S. circulated, Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky sent a letter to local churches and ministries encouraging them to take reasonable precautions. Over the year that followed, Greater Northwest Churches and ministries inhabited warranted caution, actively adapting to do no harm as the U.S. awaited vaccinations and grieved the loss of nearly 600k citizens.

In a pastoral letter on April 22, Bishop Elaine Stanovsky wrote to United Methodists across in the Greater Northwest Area, sharing her posture of hopeful caution as progress was being seen in the fight against the coronavirus. As she asked churches to “remain vigilant in their planning and decision-making processes,” Bishop Stanovsky also promised an update to the area’s COVID-19 guidelines by today, May 5.

That new guidance for local churches and ministries, titled Stepping forward safely in love and trust, is now available and goes into effect on May 17, 2021. The new framework builds upon, but replaces Reimagining Life Together. It acknowledges the continuing risk of disease, advances in science, and the increasing capacity of our local church leaders to manage the risk in their contexts.

This resource page is designed to support leaders as they make critical decisions in a situation that is quickly changing. We believe it essential that such decisions are made with the latest, fact-based information available to us.

Other Key Resources

Good, science-based information is essential in responding to the coronavirus. 

Subscribe for updates from the GNW COVID-19 Response Team

The GNW COVID-19 Response Team is using this email list to regularly share updates and important COVID-19 related news and resources. 

Click the link below for others to subscribe. You will need to select “GNW COVID-19 Response Team Update” from the subscription list.

Protect Public Health • Slow the Spread

United Methodists in the Greater Northwest are adjusting their lives to protect the health of the people in and served by our churches. Trusting the science, we are committing to do all we can to slow the spread of the virus and keep it from overwhelming the health care systems.

Resources offered to assist faith communities in developing plans and procedures to adapt to this changing situation. 


Innovate in Worship

The COVID-19 pandemic is pushing us outside of our comfort zones in so many areas. Leaders are moving online when they can, embracing new tools to facilitate connection, nurture spiritual growth, and support the continuance of worship.


Reimagining Life Together

Guidelines for Reopening Buildings and Returning to In-Person Ministry

Linked below are resources for Reimagining Life Together. The materials, set to expire on May 17, 2021, provided guidance for local churches and ministry settings during the first year of the COVID-19 crisis.

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