Governor Polis issued a stay at home order yesterday that went into effect this morning at 6:00 AM Mountain Time and is scheduled to last until Saturday, April 11. Here is a link to the FAQ sheet from the State of Colorado outlining what this stay at home order means.
What does this order mean for churches? Here’s a brief synopsis of what we know:
This is not specifically addressed, but it seems to be implied that in-person worship gatherings as well as home group gatherings, even of 10 people or less, are discouraged and people should rather connect online if possible.
Recording and Live-streaming Worship Services
This is an area that many churches wanted clarity on, since it is not directly addressed. A petition even went around last night asking for clarity on this issue. Colorado pastors networks reached out to the governor’s office as well, to which this response came back:
The Governor’s office is aware that there is some confusion on this and we are working to clarify clergy exemptions on the “stay at home order.” I do know for sure that pastors & staff have the green light to go to their facilities and record content so it can be used online. They would ask that you practice social distancing with the others on your team while doing it. More details to come on other possible exemptions for faith leaders.
We look forward to an official statement, but this response brings needed clarity.
Considering that we are in a large, empty church building, I think this is fair and safe. It is worth mentioning that we would never require anyone to come help with recording who is even the least bit uncomfortable with doing so.
UPDATE – March 26 – 11:55 AM
The State of Colorado just released an updated Public Health order which can be found here. Here is what it states about churches:
Houses of worship may remain open, however, these institutions are encouraged to implement electronic platforms to conduct services whenever possible or to conduct smaller (10 or fewer congregants), more frequent services to allow strict compliance with Social Distancing Requirements.
The order states that in-person pastoral services for individuals who are in crisis or in need of end-of-life services are allowed, provided social distancing is observed to the greatest extent possible.
Benevolence Ministries & Food Pantries
Food banks are specifically mentioned in the order, as well as any services which help provide relief for those in need. Additionally, delivering supplies to other people is also allowed.
Our food pantry ministry is planning to continue providing services, and will continue to follow the protocol of sanitizing items as they are received. See: Longmont Food Pantry Opening
My hope and prayer is that as a result of this crisis, our churches will end up more connected than before, and more focused on ministering to and praying for one another, and serving our communities.
To those in our communities who serve in the medical field, have sick loved ones, have lost jobs, are having babies, or have loved ones who have passed away: I know this is a particularly hard time for you. May God strengthen you, protect you, comfort you, and provide for you at this time.
I pray that God will use this situation in a myriad of good ways, and as our society is faced with the reality of mortality, may God use this to turn many hearts to Him and receive the gift of His grace through Jesus Christ.