- On April 24, 2020
Many faith-based organizations are preparing today for virtual or drive-in services over the weekend. With that in mind, Wake County is offering guidelines to help faith communities meet the spiritual needs of their members while observing the Stay-at-Home Order.
“During this trying time, it’s just as important to nourish our spirit as it is our bodies,” said Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Greg Ford. “That’s why we’re sharing these guidelines today to help balance the needs of faith-based organizations with our responsibility to protect the public health.”
The county’s proclamation prohibits members of faith communities who aren’t from the same family or household from touching others or shared objects such as communion elements, literature or offering plates. However, there are ways they can incorporate religious objects and practices into their services without violating the order.
Religious groups that want to share the sacraments with their congregations can do so in the following ways:
- Invite members in advance to bring their own sacraments to the service;
- Place the sacraments in self-serve packages for easy pickup prior to the day of the service; and/or
- Put the sacraments in self-serve packages and leave them on a table for convenient drive-by pickup right before the service begins.
Assembly of self-serve packages should be done using proper food safety guidelines. Drivers must also keep six feet of distance between their vehicles when picking up the sacraments, and the tables holding the sacraments must be unattended.
Faith-based organizations that want to provide an opportunity for their members to contribute financially to their cause can choose from the options below:
- Collect tithes and offerings via mail;
- Consider electronic methods for accepting contributions;
- Establish drop boxes where tithes and offerings may be deposited during the week; and/or
- Allow members to drive up to unattended tables – while maintaining six feet of distance from other vehicles – and deposit their contributions before or after a service.
Literature and Other Informational Handouts
Religious groups that want to share bulletins, song sheets or other handouts with their members may use the following methods:
- Post literature on the organization’s website, so members can print it at home and bring it to the service;
- Establish distribution tables on varying dates and times throughout the week where members can pick up the materials;
- Email bulletins, flyers and other literature to members, so they can view them electronically during the service; and/or
- Place literature on unattended tables for easy drive-by pickup on the day of the service. Drivers must practice social distancing.
For any of the options involving tables, workers should be medically screened and required to wear masks and gloves prior to setting the tables up and restocking them.
Wake County has made it easy for you to stay updated on the latest information about COVID-19.
You can visit our COVID-19 webpage, which has a set of frequently asked questions to educate residents in English and in Spanish, a list of COVID-19-related closures and service changes, as well as an email address and phone number that people can use to ask personal health-related questions about COVID-19.
The county is also sharing important information on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.