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Local churches may restart in-person worship

A Word From Bishop Holston

Worship and other in-person gatherings are allowed to resume in the South Carolina Conference beginning June 14. The Cabinet has outlined the safety concerns and guidelines for resuming in-person worship in this resource. These guidelines are the product of prayer, research, data analysis and many conversations with public health officials, church leaders and state leaders. Clergy and church leaders are strongly encouraged to use this resource to navigate the transition to resuming in-person worship.

Resources highlighted in blue have been added after initial publication

Questions about restarting? Email

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About This Guidance

Plan now
Fit your context
Design team

Safety of God’s People

Golden Rule

Importance of Leadership

Own your emotions
Educate yourself
Communicate consistently

Pastor’s Role


Learning From Others

No more “normal”
Continuing restrictions

At-Risk Populations

Medical conditions

Reality | Opportunity

Online ministry
Recalibrate systems

Since all ministry is contextual, there is no one-size-fits-all formula to restart well. The health and safety of participants and leaders will be paramount, so we should strive to reduce risks wherever possible. Restarting church will take time, and some churches might be ready to resume services or other gatherings sooner than others. Restarting before church leaders are confident they have done all they can to create a safe environment could not only threaten the health of the congregation – it could keep them from showing up at all.

Preparing The Space

Cleaning & disinfecting
Personal protection
Continuing maintenance

Worship | Gatherings

Social distancing

Youth Ministry

Practical questions
Big-picture questions
Free coaching


Beyond traditional


Deeper stewardship
Giving apps

Vacation Bible School

Virtual VBS ideas
In-person ideas
Learning from others

Amid all of your preparations for the date you will return to in-person worship, make some time for discussion about long-term issues generated by the pandemic – how your ministry might change or need to change – to be more effective.

Conversation Tools for Moving Beyond COVID-19

A Place to Start

Small contextual groups
Planning discussions

Forward Focus Adaptation

Turn to your plan
Refocus your team
Adapted worksheet

Appreciative Inquiry

Focus on what’s working
Don’t look for problems
Foster trust

Emotional Equipping

Mental Health First Aid

Free program
Educate congregations
Prisma Health

COVID-19 Coaching Tool

Free resource
Emotional, mental effects
Honest conversations

Trauma 101

Free assessment
Crisis and trauma
Be your best self

Other guidance from trusted sources to use in a way that best fits your congregation and your context.

Restart Checklist

The basics of the restart process

RE-Launch: Embracing the Ministry Possibilities of 2020

UMC Discipleship Ministries

Finding masks, hand sanitizer

Compare prices
Pay attention to reviews
Partner with other churches
Buy in bulk to reduce costs
Check local, then online vendors

24 Questions Your Church Should Ask Before People Return

Ken Braddy Jr.

10 Considerations for Safely Reopening Church

Pinnacle Leadership Associates

Questions about restarting? Email

Download PDF of this guidance