Citizens for Community Values, Ohio’s largest Christian public policy organization, released guidelines for churches and other religious entities planning to resume public worship services over the next several weeks and months.

The guidelines were developed in consultation with the Ohio Ministry Network, Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, and The Joseph Council, a coalition of Evangelical and Catholic ministry leaders. The guidelines also depend upon the latest updates from the Centers for Disease Control, Ohio Department of Health, and the latest information from local health officials.

“Christians throughout Ohio are desperate to resume coming together to worship, but want to do so in a safe and responsible way,” said Aaron Baer, President of Citizens for Community Values. “Context is everything. For some churches, resuming worship in May might not be the best idea, for others, they can resume gathering together and still protect the health and safety of their congregants.”

“These guidelines will help churches think through key aspects of coming back together, after consultation with their leadership, insurer, and legal counsel. It’s up to each and every individual church to decide what’s best and safest for their congregation.”

The Joseph Council also developed a scriptural reflection for churches on our response in a national crisis. While these principles were developed in the current pandemic, they are helpful considerations for other seasons.

The “Guidelines for Re-Engaging in Public Religious Gatherings is not legal advice from Citizens for Community Values or The Joseph Council. This phased-in approach is offered as a consideration for those desiring to resume public worship. Consult your legal counsel and insurance company for explicit recommendations.

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