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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

    news article

    Updated COVID-19 guidelines and best practices

    November 17, 2020 / By UNY Communications

    New York State, like much of the world, is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases with regional micro-clusters across the UNY Conference experiencing positive test rates above 4.5 percent.

    With the health and safety of all members and communities of the Upper New York Conference in mind, the Conference Reopening Task Force, with the full support of Upper New York Area Resident Bishop, Mark J. Webb, and the members of the UNY Cabinet, have revised the COVID-19 guidelines. While underlying public health science and regulations have changed little since March, this revision seeks to increase clarity and ease of use.

    The New York Forward requirements remain the minimum standards and are mandatory for every congregation.  In addition to these requirements, the guidelines also include a set of “UNY Recommended Best Practices.” While these do not have the force of law, they are designed to further decrease the chance of infection and harm and are strongly recommended by the Bishop, the Cabinet, and the Task Force. Congregations, operating through their own “Reopening Task Force,” are responsible for making decisions about how they will keep staff, members, and visitors safe during this crisis.

    The guidelines cover facility, worship, small group, food, and program hosting minimum standards and best-practices. Click here for a chart that outlines the minimum standards that churches should follow (the NYS guidelines) and the additional UNY recommend best practices. This chart also provides helpful resources.

    Future updates and revisions will be noted in red in subsequent versions. If you have any questions involving these guidelines, feel free to contact the COVID-19 response team of the UNY Conference via phone at 315-898-2012 and email at

    With more than 144,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."