Planning for What's Next

Congregation Plans-Shared

The following plans are shared by Southern Ohio Synod congregations and are intended to act as examples of what congregations of various sizes are doing in regarding to re-opening church buildings and coming back together for worship and other activities. These plans are not endorsed in any way by the Southern Ohio Synod. Plans are provided for your leadership team to determine the best plan for your context, in conjunction with the current guidance from the Federal Government's Coronavirus Task Force, CDC, Ohio Department of Health, and Ohio Governor. Please also see the 'considerations' documents from the ELCA and Southern Ohio Synod Bishop's Office for how these guidelines might play out in a church setting.


St John's Zanesville Plan 5.12.20    
St Paul Ashville Worship Plan As Of 5.18.20    
Bethlehem Middletown And St. Peter Trenton Worship Plan As Of 5.18.20    
St. Paul Dog Leg Road Letter To Congregation About Physical Gathering Strategy 5.19.20    
Abiding Christ Fairborn In Person Worship June 7 Pastoral Letter 5.20.20    
Mt Zion Pleasant City Plan for In-Person Worship in June 5.24.20    
St Paul Bridgeport Plan fo In-Person Worship 5.27.20    

Lord of Life West Chester COVID-19 Letter about Whats Next 5.28.20


COVID-19 FAQs - 

Epiphany Lutheran Church Centerville Pastor Letter & In Person Worship Plan 5.28.20    






SOS/ELCA Best Practices

Recent research regarding the spread of COVID-19

How Micro Droplets Spread

This video explains what micro droplets are, how they are spread and how to limit how long they stay in the immediate environment. Support for increased ventilation in enclosed spaces and why outdoor gatherings are safer than indoor gatherings.


Recording of Bishop's call with rostered ministers and worship directors regarding singing in church

This call focused on the safety of singing during worship services during the current pandemic. Our guest presenters were Dr. Curt Passafume and Mr. Josh Brodbeck.

Publications to consider as congregations make a plan to begin in-person worship

Considerations for Returning to In-person Worship-ELCA

Being Church Together During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Updated 5.12.20

Consideration for Returning to In-person Worship-ELCA (Spanish Language Version)

Being Church Together During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Updated 5.20.20

Guidelines For Re Engaging In Public Religious Gatherings

From Citizens for Community Values (Ohio specific)

24 Questions Your Church Should Answer Before People Return 

Article by Ken Braddy, Jr. (Not Ohio specific)

Guidance for the New Normal from the Clergy Coaching Network

Clergy Coaching blog (Not Ohio specific)

Avoid this Big Mistake: Stepping Back into the Past when You Step Back into Your Building

 (Not Ohio specific)

From Church Mutual Insurance

“No notice to CM (Church Mutual) is necessary and there is no impact on coverage. Insureds do not have a duty to advise their carrier of their intentions.  All Church Mutual can do as a carrier is ask that their insureds follow all CDC,  state and municipal guidelines as possible and that they focus on doing it safely”.

Check with your insurance provider to see what they advise regarding returning to in-person worship and liability coverage.

Recommendations for a Safe Return to Worship from Church Mutual 5.20.20

The article is a high-level overview of safeguards for consideration by houses of worship as they think about re-opening for public services.


COVID-19 Coverage From Church Mutual 5.20.20

How will my insurance coverage respond to a coronavirus claim?



Stewardship Resources

Stewardship Resources from Pr. Mike Ward, our THRIVE! Campaign consultant:

You may access the recording at: April 23rd Online Workshop: Keeping Stewardship Strong in Uncertain Times.

The password is: 3M*T$8@!

Please note: the first 6 minutes includes “gathering time,” so you may wish to “fast forward” to timestamp 6:05 where the workshop begins.


Preferred ELCA Online Giving Providers