When the COVID-19 lockdowns began to lessen in North America, whether religious services were “essential” became a heated debate amongst Americans, especially amongst churchgoers and the clergy.
According to an article published in The New York Times, over 650 cases of COVID-19 were linked to 40 churches and religious events that took place in the United States as some Americans resumed their “pre-pandemic activities”.
It seems that churches would be wise to air on the side of caution when it comes to reopening. Check out these 5 things you should know when considering opening your church during the pandemic:
1. Making live streaming the core service is the first step.
According to the Pew Research Center, 79 percent of adults living in the United States think that churches should be held to the same rules regarding social distancing and large gathering as other places. So, taking advantage of live stream production services is key to keeping in touch with your congregation. The COLDEA Productions production team’s extensive experience with video production is here to help you every step of the way to provide video services for sermons and more. Live streaming makes it possible for anyone with an internet connection and a platform that supports live streaming to virtually enjoy live events and video services.
Whether or not you’re at the phase for outdoor services, hiring a video production company is a great idea to give your congregation options if they’re in the “at-risk” group. With social media integration, you can connect your webcasts to your whole church through social media platforms such as Facebook live, Zoom, Twitch, and YouTube. Whether you’re in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, or Orlando; you can use a production company that uses the latest technology to assist you with all your live streaming needs with qualify comparable to network television.
Let’s be honest—not everyone has the camera talent and computer skills required to know how to properly utilize a live stream. That’s why hiring a production company for your video services is a good idea. This way, you have someone with the skill to provide consistently high-quality video, live shots, and flawless production with every sermon and with every video posted. Plus, if you’re not social media savvy, the COLDEA Productions production team can also help you out with your social media presence.
2. You’re still expected to look good during live events.
With the countless online articles about how to “look your best for virtual meetings”, it can be assumed that most of us are still expecting the same level of formality of dress as we were before the pandemic—even for online events. For high-quality clerical shirts check out Cokesbury where you’ll find the best clerical shirts and accessories. With many long-sleeved shirts and short sleeve options, you’re sure to find the right look for any climate and a wide selection of options for collar buttons (gold plated and chrome collar buttons), tab collars, collarettes, Roman collar, white collars, black shirt for the clergy, French cuffs, with or without a breast pocket, and an option for a deacon cross sewn right into the breast pocket.
Cokesbury not only has a wide selection of clerical shirts, but they also have everything else you’re looking for when it comes to proper attire for the clergy such as robes, stoles, vestments, clerical shirts that come with French cuffs (cuff links included), tab collars, and collarettes for multiple church settings. These garments also come in a variety of fabrics (cotton and polyester being the most common). If you’re looking for new clergy shirts for your next sermon, check out Cokesbury.
3. You must make safe practices and personal hygiene a priority.
Before you can even consider opening the doors to your church, it’s vital to make sure you’re doing so as safely as possible. For example, following the guidelines recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will help you be ready for the new way the workflow in the church will have to take place. Make sure that all staff is well-practiced with these measures before even considering opening the doors for even little events like a confession or food donation.
4. You should reopen slowly.
The New York Times notes how a lot of COVID-19 spread has been traced back to churches reopening too soon causing some churches to have to close again due to illness and/or death. Carlos del Rio, an infectious-disease expert at Emory University was cited in the article for saying that churches are, “an ideal setting for transmission,” due to the singing and close contact.
Take advantage of live streaming services to announce to the congregation the safety measures you are taking to make them feel informed but not neglected. For example, the CDC recommends limiting sharing, which is normally valued in religious gatherings (communal Bibles, hymnals, bulletins, sharing food, greeters, etc.) none of which are recommended during the outbreak.
5. You must be prepared.
Before opening the actual building to the congregation, be sure to take every precaution you can as outlined by the CDC. The aforementioned New York Times article noted how most cases traced back to churches were in churches where the proper protocol was not followed.
Bonus tip: Cokesbury has many items to help set up your church for the proper safety precautions throughout the duration of this threat such as pre-filled communion cups, a plethora of faith-based and fun masks (for children and adults), sanitation products, and signs to make the transition to in-person services easier.