September 13, 2020

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

I continue to be grateful for the outstanding and responsible leadership you have given your congregation and community since early March. The Covid-19 pandemic has stretched and stressed you, unleashed your creativity and exhausted you, and been difficult and demonstrated that being the Body of Christ matters more than having Church. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I am writing to offer you my latest guidance concerning indoor in-person gatherings.

As you know, ARUMC Stage 2 has allowed for a maximum of 50 people utilizing the “36 sq. ft. bubble”. I now believe it is appropriate to implement ARUMC Stage 2.5. This keeps all previous guidance in place, including mandatory “36 sq. ft. bubbles,” masks, and sanitation. However, there will no longer be a maximum number of people allowed to gather. Rather, the size of the room will now determine the number of people that can attend indoor in-person gatherings.

  • Calculating the number of “bubbles” in rooms. Calculate the number of “bubbles” you can fit in a room by taking the square footage of a room and dividing it by 36, which provides for 6 ft by 6 ft physical distancing. This is the maximum number of people who can attend in-person events in this room.

  • Calculating the number of “bubbles” in sanctuaries and worship centers. This involves two separate calculations. First, calculate the number of 36 sq. ft. “bubbles” that can be fit in the area where worship leaders are located. This is the maximum number of pastors, liturgists, musicians, and worship leaders who can fit in the chancel or on the stage. Second, calculate the number of “36 sq. ft. bubbles” that can be fit into the sanctuary or worship center seating area. This is the maximum number of worshippers who can attend worship at any one time.
  • Adjusting your calculations for family units of two or more. You will have to make two adjustments because of families that want to sit together. The first is to create a bigger “bubble” to accommodate more people. The second is to make sure you have six feet in every direction between “bubbles.” You may want to create bigger “bubbles” as you plan for in-person events. This adjustment may result in fewer “bubbles” in the room, but allow more people to attend.

I continue to pray for you. Let me know what the Conference Staff, District Mission Strategists and I can do to support you as you make disciples of Jesus Christ, who make disciples equipped and sent to transform lives, communities and the world.

Grace and peace,

Gary E. Mueller
Bishop