On Friday, President Trump called on government officials to reopen churches beginning tomorrow, Sunday, May 24. While I agree with President Trump that churches are essential, I equally place in high regard the health and wellbeing of our congregations and community.
Therefore, I encourage you to consider the first of our General Rules, to “Do no harm” and to refrain from in-house worship at least through June 14, or to continue to follow the plan you have already prepared to safely return in your particular context.
Let me be clear: President Trump’s words do NOT require you to re-open this weekend.
I am as eager as you are to re-open; yet, I do not want to put any of our clergy or laity in harm’s way. We need to be especially cautious in reopening our churches as a matter of safety, knowing that COVID-19 exposure can easily spread when groups of people convene in enclosed spaces.
I continue to be inspired by our churches and the ways that they have creatively ministered to others during the last few months of this pandemic. I look forward to worshiping with you in just a few short weeks.
Bishop Julius C. Trimble
Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church