The Wisconsin Council of Churches released a statement Tuesday in which they recommended churches across the state return to remote operations as the COVID-19 crisis deepens in Wisconsin.
The most recent state Executive Order to limit indoor gatherings to 25% of building capacity exempts religious services and places of worship. That means churches are free to continue operations as they have been, but the ecumenical organization recommends that that they not gather in person.
“Our obligation as faithful people is not to the minimum standard, but to behavior that demonstrates care for the most vulnerable and the well-being of the entire community,” said the Rev. Kerri Parker, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches. “In view of the high level of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, it is neither prudent nor pastoral to gather groups of people together at this time. We urge you to put a hold on any plans for worshiping or having fellowship together in physical place for the time being.”
Approximately 25% of mainline Protestant churches are offering worship indoors so far this fall, according to the organization’s survey. The others are holding worship outdoors. Many continue worship online.
“Being a faithful people is not abstract; it is about applying our faith when it matters,” continued Rev. Parker. “This virus is not going to get itself under control. We have a responsibility to each other. We are able to worship, pray, provide faith formation and pastoral care, and address other community needs in ways that limit the risk of spreading COVID, to save lives and relieve the strain on the health system. We have a moral imperative to do so.”
The Wisconsin Council of Churches is a network of Christian churches and faith-based organizations committed to working together across differences, according to the organization.
The organization counts twenty Christian traditions representing over 2,000 congregations in its membership.
For more news and information like this, subscribe to your community’s Patch site for free! If you have an iPhone, click here to get the free Patch iPhone app; download the free Patch Android app here.
This article originally appeared on the Across Wisconsin Patch