With the depths of winter weather at our door, here are some practical tips to help you assess whether holding your weekly church service might be safe for your members. Your congregation's safety is essential, and these guidelines can assist in making informed decisions:
- Stay Updated with Weather Reports: Regularly check local weather forecasts and advisories. Pay attention to warnings issued by meteorological services for insights into potential hazards.
- Evaluate Road Conditions: Monitor the state of roads and highways church members use. Local transportation departments and law enforcement agencies provide updates on road closures and driving conditions.
- Check Public Transportation Status: If members depend on public transit, verify if there are any disruptions. Delays or cancellations could impact their ability to travel safely.
- Gather Feedback from Congregation Members: Reach out to members in various areas for real-time updates on local weather conditions. Their firsthand experiences can be invaluable.
- Consult Community Emergency Services: Contact local emergency services for their recommendations. If they advise against travel, it's a clear sign that conditions are unsafe.
- Plan an online service: It's also a great idea to consider recording a video devotional or sermon. This way, if you and your team decide to close your church because of the weather, you can still share it with your congregation through your social media channels during the usual sermon time. Another option is to plan a brief Zoom service, which many churches have already become familiar with due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Prepare a communication strategy: Consider having a strategy for Informing people where they can look for the latest announcement regarding the status of the service. Perhaps a phone tree, email, social media, text, etc.
Your leadership and care for the congregation's wellbeing are deeply appreciated. Please feel free to contact the Oregon Conference Communication Department if you need assistance.