Resources for Meetings Approaching Reopening amid COVID-19

Preparing for Conversations about Reopening in Your Meeting

Although the time when we can safely gather for in-person worship may still be far off, many questions related to the reopening process may be on your mind.

Whenever the time comes for your meeting to make decisions about reopening, it will be a process that requires groundedness and awareness of the practical, emotional, and ethical complexities. 

In order to support you in preparing for conversations about the reopening process in your meeting, we offer this guided meditation. Our hope is to give you an opportunity to spiritually reflect on these important considerations. 

The text of this meditation can be found in the downloads section below.

Caring for Our Meetings as the World Contemplates Reopening: A Guided Meditation

Considerations and Resources for Meetings in the Reopening Process

Throughout the reopening process, meetings should regularly seek out and follow up-to-date public health guidance from trusted sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and your state health authorities.  Note: Meetings located near state borders, may need to seek out updated guidance from multiple states and will need to monitor guidelines for cross-state travel. Interim guidance from the CDC for faith-based organizations can be found here.  Standards for houses of worship from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and State of New Hampshire as well as recommended protocols from Church Mutual Insurance can be found in the downloads section below.

Your meeting or committee may find it helpful to approach reopening using the traditional Quaker format of advices and queries (direct guidance and reflective questions). See sample advices and queries on reopening here (from Wilmington Yearly Meeting).

Your Meeting may find this list of considerations to explore before reopening useful. Provided by Everence, the faith-based financial services organization with which we partner, this article is also available in Spanish.

As you make a reopening plan, remember that like any experiment reopening requires continual re-evaluation and modification. Your meeting may find using the traffic light exercise found here useful in assessing if your approach to reopening should continue as is or change.

Additional resources on church reopening can be found in the download section below as well as on Fresh Pond (MA) Friend Kathleen Wooten's blog here.

Wherever your Meeting or worship group is in the reopening process, we want to hear from you. Let us know what you are discovering and how we can support you, by emailing us.

File Downloads

Massachusetts Safety Standards for Houses of Worship

This list of safety regulations for houses of worship was released by the State of Massachusetts on May 18, 2020 and includes a checklist 

Church Mutual Insurance's Recommendations for Safe Return

This detailed checklist, created by Church Mutual Insurance, offers specific recommendations for maintain safety when returning to in-person worship

Sample: Notice of Continuing Virtual Worship

This letter, written by leaders from Fresh Pond (MA) Monthly Meeting, explains their decision to refrain from gathering in person to worship for the time being

At The Threshold: Recommendations for Maine's Churches

This thirteen-page guide to phased reopening comes from the Maine Council of Churches and is based on consultation with the CDC

Caring for Our Meetings: Guided Meditation Text

The text of a reflection tool for Friends to use to prepare for conversations and decisions related to the reopening process in their meeting

Massachusetts Council of Churches Statement on Massachusetts Reopening Plan

A press release made by the Massachusetts Council of Churches on May 18, 2020 in response to the plan for church re-entry. Their response urges congregations to consider the health and justice impacts of potential re-opening of their buildings

NH Guidance for Houses of Worship

Guidance for houses of worship in New Hampshire, released by the state on May 29, 2020

Preparing Your Church for Coronavirus

This 28-page guide by the Humanitarian Disaster Institute provides practical and spiritually grounded guidance to congregations as they regularly review risks, needs, and practices throughout the pandemic

Questions? Didn't find what you were looking for?

Contact Nia Thomas, Quaker Practice & Leadership Facilitator, to begin a conversation.