Dr. Teresa Angle-Young

With so much at stake and so many competing opinions, knowing when to reopen your church is a daunting decision. Many judicatories are providing guidance, some are mandating conditions, but many of you are awash in a sea of indecision and conflicting information.

Striking a balance between safety and fostering community in worship is critical during this COVID 19 pandemic. As a responsible leader, we are charged with working with our staff and lay leadership to develop a reopening plan that is strategic, thoughtful, and keeps safety paramount.

One helpful resource is this interactive map found at It offers churches and leaders color-coded, county-specific COVID-19 risk levels based on data analyzed by the Harvard Global Health Institute. You can simply click on “Explore Now” then choose your location by state.

Once you have chosen your state, simply hover over your county to see a detailed update on COVID-19 cases including death rates. Here is an example of how one church is using this data to determine their reopening They used the 4 risk levels to develop a specific protocol for each phase of reopening, offering clearly communicated plans for each phase. This plan resides on the church’s website and has been widely communicated through social media channels, email, and other channels. Communication of any reopening plan is a significant key to success.

Using data, as well as input from church members and leadership, is an effective way to determine risk, compliance probabilities, and make the best possible decision about when and how to resume in-person worship.


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