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Planning for the summer at your house of worship

Houses of worship across the United States have taken very different approaches as the pandemic has progressed. While some still are holding only virtual services and events, others have cautiously returned to in-person gatherings. Now that vaccines rapidly are becoming available for much of the population, Church Mutual has assembled some pieces of advice for planning summer events.

While you may encourage your members to become vaccinated, mandating the vaccine could be difficult. Your members must wait their turn, and they may not have the opportunity to become fully vaccinated until the end of summer or later. Additionally, none of the vaccines currently approved for emergency use have been shown to be safe for children under age 16 yet.

Remind your members who have been vaccinated that they still need to take precautions to avoid contact with others. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes, researchers do not yet know whether people who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus can be asymptomatic carriers of the disease. Encourage members and staff to take precautions such as wearing masks, practicing social distancing and washing their hands frequently.

Plan outdoor activities as often as possible. As you wait for more people in your congregation to become vaccinated, consider taking advantage of the warmer summer weather to conduct worship services and other events outside. Researchers have found that the virus is less likely to spread outdoors, because fresh air is constantly dispersing respiratory droplets.

Continue offering virtual options for worship and other activities, when possible. While much of your congregation may feel more comfortable gathering in person this summer than they did last summer, remember that there may still be members who prefer worshipping virtually. Additionally, there may be people in your community of faith who have discovered the benefits of online participation and want to continue doing so indefinitely. Over the last year, a whole new world has opened up for houses of worship that has made worship from home a popular option.

Be flexible. Since March 2020, houses of worship across the country have learned that the best laid plans… don’t always go as planned. While it’s necessary to plan for the summer during the spring, know that you may need to upend your plans and start over.

As you create Plan A, Plan B—and maybe even Plan C for summer, consider reaching out to your Church Mutual representative to find out if you have the right insurance plan. Visit us at