Dear NCD Pastors and Church Leaders,
On Wednesday November 18th, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order for a “four-week dial back” to address increased coronavirus spread within our communities. Our district staff has carefully read through this order (executive order 20-99). Here is a summary of how we believe this order impacts local churches in Minnesota:
– Because churches have not been a significant source of community spread, this new order does not change current requirements for Sunday morning worship gatherings. This means that limits for in-person congregational worship remain at 50% of normal occupant capacity, with a maximum of 250 people in a single self-contained space (section 6,a,xv of executive order 10-99).
– Events like youth groups, small groups, women’s bible study, and children’s ministry are also permitted in church facilities, as long as they follow the above guidelines.
– The temporary requirement to wear face coverings in all indoor public settings remains in place (executive order 20-81).
– Receptions for weddings, funerals, and other similar events are prohibited under the new order (section 6,a,xvi of executive order 10-99).
– In addition, we believe the new executive order is intended to prohibit small groups/bible studies if they gather in homes (based on section 6,a of the new executive order). Some churches may continue to encourage these meetings, believing they should fall under the requirements for “places of worship” rather than those for general social gatherings. This is a gray area, and we encourage churches to use their best judgement and exercise loving discernment as it relates to congregational and community health and well being.
Please reach out to anyone on our NCD staff if you need additional assistance to determine how your congregation can move forward under these new requirements. May God grant each of us grace and wisdom for the days ahead!
District Superintendent | North Central District | EFCA