A Sacrament Meeting with attendees spread apart (Courtesy: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)
SALT LAKE CITY — Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have authorized a phased return to some of the faith’s weekly worship services and activities. The announcement was sent to local leaders in a letter from the Church’s First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Tuesday morning. It stressed that services can return only when local government regulations and area leaders allow.
The two-phase approach will be used based on local health regulations to ensure the safety of all participants. Stake presidents and bishops will determine the specific timing for meetings and activities to resume, according to the Church.
As part of Phase 1, Sunday worship services could be shortened at meetinghouses with up to 99 individuals, following local government regulations. Other meetings like weddings and funerals can be held remotely using technology.
Phase 2 would allow worship services with 100 or more individuals, following local government regulations. Other meetings and activities could be held if local regulations allow.
Church leaders were advised to follow social distancing guidelines, stressing that individuals from the same household may sit together, but others should be spaced apart. Meeting times should also be temporarily adjusted to avoid overlapping schedules. Larger congregations may hold multiple meetings during the day or invite members to attend on alternate weeks.
The letter came a week after the Church announced a similar phased reopening for its temples.
It concluded stating, “We are grateful for the faith of our members as they have worshipped at home and are grateful for the blessings that will come as we gather for worship and activities.”