Originally published in the Coconut Wireless, March 23, 2022.
It is time to refresh the COVID Recommendations from the Conference Office. This time there will be no overhauling of the guidelines; instead, we are creating an addendum to the January 2022 Recommendations. The emphasis in the updated addendum will be on context.
What's happening in the context of your island? Is there a current spread situation? Does it impact the community you serve?
What's happening in the context of your faith community? What is your vaccination rate? Do you serve a predominately vulnerable community?
What's happening in the context of our moral compass to bless the well-being of those in the wider community?
No doubt church leaders are already asking such questions to best lead congregations in their various responses to COVID.
To contextualize our COVID responses means that there will be no one-response-is-good-for-all answer to how our 118 congregations act as the pandemic becomes endemic. This means we need to be intentional about the practice of grace and gracefulness. Since contexts vary from church to church no congregation can say to another that they ought to allow singing or that they ought to continue wearing masks. The congregation's context will determine what is best for each church.
The COVID Recommendations' Addendum is still under review, and I hope it will be ready to share within the next two weeks. As we prepare to receive the Addendum let us also prepare to pay attention to the context of our own faith communities—that in and of itself is enough for one church to bear.
David K. Popham, Conference Minister
Offered by the Hawai‘i Conference office, this resource is designed to be a starting point for meaningful conversation among your local church leaders as you revisit your own protocols and policies for in-person gatherings.