COVID-19 and Youth Gatherings

ECMN has all of it’s COVID-19 guidelines for faith communities available on its website here: http://episcopalmn.org/covid19-response.

The best wisdom right now includes offering outdoor programs for small groups, with six feet of social distance, while wearing masks (Governor’s Executive Order 20-74).

Offering children’s and youth ministries is more important than ever to support their emotional and spiritual health. From here we encourage all faith communities to work within their contexts and within the Governor’s directives to also ensure the protection of people’s physical health.

Some places may choose to do pivot to all online ministries based on their context and the current number of cases locally; other places may choose to provide outdoor ministries. ECMN is supportive of your own decisions. And — as always — we encourage you to communicate your overall safety plans with parents before all ministry events.

Govenor Walz’s updates on November 10th invite us all to limit our casual social gatherings as much as possible to keep all Minnesotans safe. However, his directives to church ministries specifically remain unchanged.

As we continue to adapt the ways we are building beloved communities with young people, you might find the following resources and guidance helpful.

Resources to help guide your ministries:

  • The CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommendations for youth and staff at camps and day camps.
  • The YMCA has gotten into the specifics with a field guide of how the CDC guidelines best apply to various youth activities (swimming, etc.).

A note from Bishop Loya

Click here to view a sharable version of these resources and guidance from Bishop Loya.

October 13, 2020

To our Children’s and Youth Ministry leaders,

We are grateful for your creative and faithful ministries during this challenging season.

As we continue to adapt the ways we are building beloved communities with young people, you might find the resources and guidance above helpful.

The best wisdom right now includes offering outdoor programs for small groups, with six feet of social distance, while wearing masks (Governor’s Executive Order 20-74).

From there, all youth-serving organizations are developing ways to deliver education and other opportunities in order to support young people’s social and emotional wellbeing while protecting their physical health.

There is a wide range of possibilities to safely deliver the programming young people need. We trust all of our faith communities and leaders to design ministries within these guidelines that are a good fit for their local cultures and contexts.

For ministries that serve young people, it is always good practice to work collaboratively with parents. Please inform them of your COVID-19 precautions ahead of any program, just as you would communicate safe church practices.

Additionally, programs that have a variety of engagement points work well to foster inclusion for everyone. Consider ministry designs that offer multiple tracks, such as: online only activities, hybrid activities with online and outdoor components, and outdoor only activities.

We welcome the chance to walk alongside you and offer helpful support. Please contact your Missioner for Children, Youth, and Camp with any questions regarding your ministries with children’s and youth (sarah.b@episcopalmn.or).

Grace and Peace,

The Rt. Rev. Craig Loya

X Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota

Sarah Barnett

Missioner for Children, Youth, and Camp

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