The Federal Centers for Disease Control CDC website CDC.gov
Johns Hopkins real time worldwide tracking of COVID-19 dashboard
Federal Response on COVID-19 Coronavirus.gov
Michigan Department of Heath & Human Services website
Need another resource? Looking for advice? Please contact Michigan Communications
A message from Bishop David Bard
From the earliest days of the Church, healing and caring for the sick and suffering have been an important dimension of the Christian way. “They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them” (Mark 6:13). “Are any among you suffering? They should pray…. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:13-14). The Christian Church often established institutions of health and healing as it also shared the good news of God’s love in Jesus Christ. Please use these resources to protect your community, your family, and yourself.
Pandemic Planning Resources
Nonprofit Organizations and Houses of Worship
COVID-19 - CORONAVIRUS
SITUATIONS ARE CHANGING REGULARLY. CHECK BACK OFTEN
LAST UPDATED: Monday, April 19, 2021 1:30 PM EDT
Michigan has been identified as one of the states in our nation with the fastest growing number of positive COVID-19 tests and increase in hospitalizations. Michigan also has with the greatest number of variants. Levels are now approaching the peak number of cases experienced since the start of the pandemic. The Michigan Department of Heath has urged that residents ramp up their efforts to mask, social distance, and seek vaccinations.
On April 12, Bishop Bard released a statement encouraging United Methodists to support these measures.
Also on April 12, Governor Whitmer and MDHHS again extended their “Emergency Order" until October 188, 2021.
Capacity limits for gatherings
- For indoor residential gatherings, up to 15 persons from 3 households are permitted
- For indoor nonresidential gatherings, up to 25 persons are permitted
- For outdoor residential gatherings, up to 50 persons are permitted
- For outdoor nonresidential gatherings, up to 300 persons are permitted
Capacity limits for venues/facilities
- Where applicable, venues must not exceed 50% of the capacity limits established by the Fire Marshal
- For indoor stadiums and arenas, up to 375 patrons are permitted at venues with capacity of under 10,000, and up to 750 patrons are permitted at venues with capacity of over 10,000
Note: Groups must remain at least 6 feet apart at all times at all venues and facilities.
Bishop Bard urges congregations to continue to follow the best medical guidelines available and offer strong health crisis risk management around COVID-19. Local churches are urged to pay close attention to the guidelines of local health officials; to wear a mask, maintain social distance, wash your hands frequently and for the current time not hold in-person worship. He also urges everyone able to receive a vaccine, do so.
"I continue to be grateful for the thoughtful and careful ways you have all been making decisions about ministry during this pandemic. You continue to respond graciously, even when you are encouraged to do uncomfortable things, such as refrain from in-person worship. Your desire to act in the interest of public health, the common good and the well-being of others all in the spirit of Jesus. I appreciate that." -Bishop David Bard
COVID -19 Health Crisis Risk Management
- Have a well-considered plan for in-person gatherings that is cautious and flexible. The deep desire to be together is understandable but inadvisable.
- Know the risks posed by in-person gatherings.
- How and when you gather should be based on solid local community health information.
- Has the new strain of the virus been detected in your area?
- What is the positivity rate for people being tested? A positivity rate below 5% has been seen as a threshold for more widespread in-person gatherings.
- What is the case rate in your area? A case rate of over 25 new daily cases per 100,000 people is considered the highest risk level.
- What is the capacity of health care services in your area, such as the availability of ICU beds?
- Caution would dictate that you not consider in-person gatherings except witho those vaccinated.
- Flexibility in your planning dictates that you be ready to move from in-person to virtual gatherings when the health metrics indicate.
- Your plan for any in-person gatherings needs to include mitigation measures of mask-wearing, social distancing, adequate provisions for hand washing, and getting contact information for those gathered if someone present is diagnosed with COVID.
- Be gracious in offering options for those who continue to choose to connect with your faith community virtually. Just because you’ve opened again for in-person worship does not mean everyone will feel safe to return. As the weather warms, consider outdoor options for some gatherings. Continue to find creative ways to connect safely with each other.
- Actively encourage vaccinations as they become available. We will increase the frequency of our in-person gatherings and relax mitigation measures as more people become immune to COVID.
What you can do right now
Health crisis risk management COVID-19 PERSONAL RESPONSE
- Pray for all those affected by COVID-19, including the health professionals working to contain the virus and treat to those impacted.
- If your health allows, agree to receive a vaccine.
- When in public, stay at least 6 feet from others, indoor or outside.
- Wear a mask to prevent infection of others.
- If you or a family member is sick, may have been directly exposed to the virus, please follow the CDC guidelines and refrain from attending church services during the 14-day incubation period and instead worship with us online.
- Mail a check in, or electronically share your weekly gifts with your church.
- Soap breaks down the virus.Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands.
- If you have COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, contact your health care provider in advance to tell them about your symptoms before arriving at a doctor’s office or hospital. Inform your church.
How we can continue to be the church during COVID-19
- Access the many resources on the Michigan Conference Website to support ministry during this time and move to implement these new tools.
- Pre-tape or conduct live worship services using ZOOM, YouTube, or Facebook Live. This allows worship leaders be in their own homes but still appearing together.
- If your church is not able to offer online services at this time, share online worship services at nearby UMCs. See the list.
- Conduct Bible studies and congregational care via telephone or ZOOM technology.
- Continue to participate in generosity and stewardship of your local church. If your church does not have online giving, contact the office of the conference treasurer.
- Watch the many Webinars offered on the conference website and Facebook. See the toolbox at left.
- Organize a local church response team to monitor, plan, communicate, manage finances, and increase church hygiene.
- Visit our Health Crisis Toolbox (see icon at top of page) and prepare your church.
- Discuss how you can minister to and safely check on the well-being of impacted members. Use telephone or other electronic means. Discuss how you might safely support those needing to shelter in place with food and other necessities.
Where you can get immediate information about COVID-19