SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced new guidelines for church members concerning increasing engagement in worship services and other church activities amid the pandemic. In a letter from the church’s First Presidency, it says weekly worship can resume immediately depending on local conditions.
Area Presidencies, under the guidance of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, are assigned to approving church meetings and activities in their respective areas. In the letter from the First Presidency, it also notes that Stake Conferences may be held virtually or with careful social distancing starting in November.
“In challenging times,” the letter says, “disciples of Jesus Christ continue to follow Him by participating in His work of salvation and exaltation.” Church leaders have laid out four key principles to help local leaders and members best return to church worship and church activities safely.
Remember members by name and nourish them spiritually
Both adult and youth presidency and council meetings can occur virtually or safely in person, as local conditions allow.
Strengthen members and help bear their burdens
Church leaders say that local leaders can continue to both minister to, and conduct ministering interviews with, fellow church members in their congregation. Using safe practices and under the guidance of each bishop, leaders can regularly administer the sacrament in the homes of those who wish to receive it.
Uplift one another and create unity through activities
After a long hiatus to due COVID-19, youth meetings, activities, and service projects can be held virtually or safely in person, as local circumstances allow. The activities can take place on Sundays or on other days.
Gather members often to fast, pray, and speak concerning the welfare of their souls
With the oversight of each congregation’s bishop, weekly sacrament meetings can be held virtually, safely in person, or by hybrid in-person and virtual broadcasts. The church notes that broadcasts should not be recorded.
The broadcast should begin before or after the sacrament has been administered in an effort to have the broadcast be uninterrupted.
The First Presidency says that the new guidelines that have been announced stem from church leaders wanting as many Latter-day Saints as possible to have the opportunity to receive the sacrament each week.