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(Re) Launch Church

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New guidelines on outdoor worship and preschools now available!

(Re) Launch Church: (Re)considering Church in a COVID-19 World

The following guidelines are written for clergy and local church leadership to address the care and preparation of the physical plant of the church. More specifically, how churches prepare their buildings in a way that provides the safest possible space for their congregation to gather and worship in this most extraordinary time.

Prior to moving back to in-person worship, gatherings and activities, each church is asked to develop a plan that addresses the physical safety of those who use the church as well as integrate the lessons that we’ve learned as we move into the next phase of COVID-19.

As the Mountain Sky Conference Crisis Team, we designate in-person worship as a GREEN STATUS activity only for all congregations regardless of size and location.

NOTE: Permission to begin in-person worship/Green Status phase must be given by the Bishop’s office through each church’s District Superintendent. Your implementation plan should address all major points of the guidelines that follow. 

First, clergy and church leadership should review in detail the following statements:

Next, clergy and church leadership should review these important resources:



Stop all in-person worship and gatherings. Essential workers only are allowed in the church building(s). This is the "Stay in Love with God" time and stay-home phase of our ministry. Right now it is best to err on the side of caution, even as directives are eased from the various Mountain Sky Governors.


Cautionary Return. It is anticipated this will cover a number of months. As the MSC, we want to “Do Good” as restrictions are lifted. This may mean a gradual return to gatherings, depending on the circumstances. Yellow Status begins when state and local officials have reported a 14-day downward trend of cases, hospitals are treating patients without crisis care, and there is a robust testing program in place, including antibody testing. 


In-person gatherings are the “Do No Harm” phase that can be initiated when the virus is contained. Permission will be granted to communities of faith to return to full activity and in-person gatherings. This will be in place only as church leadership is confident in the care of their community of faith. Green status for all activities will likely be dependent on a testing protocol for asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers, antibody testing, therapeutic drug therapies, aggressively caring for those who have contracted COVID-19, and approval and availability of a COVID-19 vaccine. State and local officials must have successfully met the criteria of Yellow Status, and there must be evidence through case reporting, testing, and community monitoring that there is no evidence of a rebound.

The Mountain Sky Conference of The United Methodist Church recognizes returning to full participation will be based on the oversight of the Bishop, Crisis Response Team, state, and national guidelines, as well as the seasonal movement of the virus. 

Since March, the Mountain Sky Conference COVID-19 Crisis Team has been meeting to guide the MSC response, communications, and programming through the pandemic. Before considering a return to in-person worship and meetings, all congregations are asked to create a team to work through this guidebook. You will find both concrete steps for safety and health, as well as critical questions to help you consider what ministry in the next phase of COVID-19 will look like.

NEW! Download the guidelines for outdoor worship


NEW! Download the safety guidelines for preschools


UPDATED! Download the full (Re) Launch: Church Study Guide


Download the supplemental grid for the (Re) Launch Guide


Click each icon below to watch the accompanying videos as you review the study guide:

1. (Re) Launch Church: Introduction

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2. (Re) Launch Church: Flight Plan & Design

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3. (Re) Launch Church: Pre-Flight Preparation

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4. (Re) Launch Church: Liftoff

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5. (Re) Launch Church: Flight

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6. (Re) Launch Church: Conclusions

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Find more information on the Coronavirus News and Resources page online