News

Conference launches  ‘restart’ resource to help churches reopen

["By Dan O\u2019Mara\r\n\r\nThe South Carolina Conference has created a comprehensive resource to assist churches as they prepare for the resumption of in-person worship and other gatherings, following the lifting of restrictions scheduled for June 14.\r\n\r\n\u201cReset","Restart","Renew\u201d is designed to help churches navigate the return to onsite worship after three months of virtual ministry necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.\r\n\r\n\u201cEven when the church doors are once again open and we can safely gather, this does not mean a return to normal,\u201d said Bishop L. Jonathan Holston. \u201cIt is critical to recognize the importance of the safe and sanitary practices necessary once we return to church buildings.\r\n\r\nThe safety concerns and guidelines are the product of prayer, research, data analysis and many conversations with public health officials, church leaders and state leaders.\r\n\r\nHolston and the Cabinet strongly encourage pastors and church leaders to rely on this resource in whatever way best fits their ministry context.\r\n\r\n\u201cSome churches may opt to return in\u2010person at a later date beyond June 14, depending on their context,\u201d Holston said. \u201cWe support you in making the best decisions for your congregation as you care for one another.\u201d\r\n\r\nResources are organized into three broad categories:\r\n

  1. \r\n \t
  2. Reset: Guidance to give church leaders appropriate background and to help them put themselves and their congregations into a prayerful frame of mind and soul before they begin their planning process.<\/li>\r\n \t
  3. Restart: Practical recommendations about what churches should be doing between now and when worship restarts, and continuing after the resumption of in-person gathering.<\/li>\r\n \t
  4. Renew: Tools to facilitate continuing conversation about a church\u2019s future ministry beyond restarting, as well as resources for addressing long-term emotional and psychological effects church members might be experiencing after three months of separation.<\/li>\r\n<\/ol>\r\nAt the request of Holston and the Cabinet, a team of conference leaders compiled the resources from a variety of sources. Team members are the Rev. Jim Arant, interim director of connectional ministries; the Rev. James Friday, director of congregational development; and three congregational specialists \u2013 the Rev. Cathy Joens, Chris Lynch and the Rev. Millie Nelson Smith.\r\n\r\nA second team, led by the Rev. Tim Rogers, superintendent of the Marion District, is building on the work of the \u201cReset","Restart","Renew\u201d team. This group, largely pastors of local churches and church leaders, is assembling best practices to share with local churches.\r\n\r\nTo download the guide, visit www.umcsc.org\/restart<\/a>.\r\n\r\nAny questions about \u201cReset","Restart","Renew\u201d or suggestions for additions or best practices can be submitted to restart@umcsc.org<\/a>."]

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