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LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (March 19, 2021) – Since March 2020, when the first reported case of COVID-19 appeared in Arkansas, Bishop Gary Mueller of the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church has worked with health care professionals, conference leaders and staff to provide clear and concise guidelines for safe gatherings for Arkansas United Methodist Churches.
The ARUMC “Stages” worked well for our local churches and were very helpful to their Boards of Trustees as they navigated safely during the pandemic. However, because of new data that has recently been released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the coronavirus and vaccines, as well as the increasing number of vaccines administered and declining COVID cases and deaths, Bishop Mueller is updating guidelines.
“Our pastors and laity have demonstrated outstanding leadership in ‘doing no harm’ and keeping people safe. I am removing the “Stages” guidelines that were applicable to the entire conference in order to better allow local churches to determine, based upon their individual contexts, what is best for the safety of their congregations.” Bishop Mueller stated.
“I will continue to insist that persons attending in-person church events wear masks, safely distance, and keep hands and surfaces clean, even if Governor Hutchinson lifts the statewide mask mandate,” shared Mueller. “Although more people are receiving vaccines, we still do not fully understand the consequences of ignoring these basic precautions or the possible impact of variants of the virus. When Arkansas has reached herd immunity as defined by the CDC, we will take appropriate actions. Likewise, if the situation worsens again, we will respond as needed.”
The webpage for the ARUMC COVID-19 Guidance has been updated to reflect the most recent guidelines and recommendations, as it will continue to be on a regular basis. A “Frequently Asked Questions” tab has been added for convenience.
If you have any questions regarding the guidelines, please contact Amy Ezell, Center for Communication.