• Do not pass offering plates, but instead collect tithes and offerings in a central collection box (such as a basket placed near the back of the sanctuary). Encourage online giving.
• Consider closing certain common areas where people are more likely to closely interact.
• Do not pass out literature such as church bulletins. If you do pass our material, ensure that ushers are wearing gloves and that any material handed out to parishioners has been sanitized.
• When administering the Lord’s Supper, do not pass around a communal bowl. Provide the elements individually. The goal of these practices is to ensure that multiple people do not come into contact with the same surfaces and objects.
• If your church has greeters at the doors, make sure they do not shake hands with members and visitors. Likewise, many churches have a “greeting time” as part of their liturgy. Waving or bumping elbows should take the place of hand shaking for the foreseeable future.
• Adjust seating configurations to allow for increased social distancing. For churches that use individual chairs, consider spacing the chairs out. For churches with pews, consider roping off every other pew. Families could be encouraged to sit together but maintain the recommended distance of six feet between families.
– Churches may take different approaches to this based on their circumstances and set-up, building size, number of facilities, and their configuration. In the early phases, to abide by CDC guidance, some churches may need to have multiple services to enable proper social distancing. Others may be able to spread out over their different facilities.
– Churches should consider instituting a graduated process of capping attendance. A church might start by allowing a certain level of occupancy and subsequently raise it by a percentage as CDC guidelines allow for further opening up. As the occupancy cap increases, the number of different facilities in use will go down.
• Pastors set the tone for their flock. Consider going out of your way to model recommended behavior. Your calm and cheerful demeanor can encourage congregants to adopt best practices.