In consultation with the cabinet, I am encouraging churches to continue virtual, drive in, and outdoor worship. These worship methods have become important outreach tools and many members cannot return to in-person worship for weeks or months. For churches who have returned to in-person worship, a significant number are reporting 25 to 30% of their previous average attendance.
COVID-19 will be with us in some form for months to come. This balance of virtual and in-person worship has been demanding on pastors, staff, and church leaders. All of us have been overwhelmed the last three months. Pastors and staff, especially, have had to adapt and lead in unexpected ways. They, along with church leaders, have done great work and have demonstrated tremendous effort.
As we move into the next few weeks, I would ask that we all practice patience, understanding, and remember we are a people of grace. When your local church COVID-19 leadership task force deems it is appropriate to return to in-person worship and other church functions, I do request that all churches follow the in-person guidelines. Please know that I pray for the people of the Alabama-West Florida several times each day.
Bishop David Graves
Alabama-West Florida Conference