Covid and Congregations: What’s in Store for 2021?

by Mary Frances

Our Webinar series continues on April 27, 2021
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Covid, Covid, Covid!  

A little over a year ago, you might not have heard about it or given it much thought.  Today it’s in the news all day, every day.  But sometimes it’s hard to know what to think.

In local news today, the governor of my state (Illinois) is about to bring us into Phase 5 which, I think, is pretty much fully open… keeping the mask mandate, though.  I saw Dr. Fauci on TV a few days ago.  He said not to rush to open, that there is still a lot of concern about variants and, at this point, only a small percentage of the population has been fully vaccinated.  And recently, my 90-year-old mother tested positive for Covid while under hospice care and in the dying process and yet they offered to treat her for Covid if we wanted.  For her sake we declined but then I wondered, what would that treatment look like?  As I said, sometimes it’s just hard to know what to think, who to believe, and how to live out our lives in what is not really a post-Covid era… yet.   

I suppose it’s the same for congregations.  Do you stay virtual?  Should you work toward a hybrid solution?  Do you open for in-person worship?  And if you do open, what should that look like?  Do you still need to distance?  Is singing now acceptable?  What about communion and the holy grail of coffee hour?  

This morning I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Gayle Balba, an infectious disease specialist from Georgetown University Medical Center, about all of these questions and more.  Dr. Balba comes from a Catholic background so she understands the parts of church that are important: the rituals, the prayers, the psalms and songs, and the gathering of the community.  She is a font of information and was very clear about what will work right now, what will work in the future, and where this path is leading us.

I’m excited to share that Dr. Balba will be the guest at our upcoming webinar: Covid and Congregations: What Lies Ahead in 2021?  Join us on Tuesday, April 27th at 1pm ET.  Dr. Balba will offer up an update on what Covid looks like in the US today, the impact that variants and vaccines have on our plans to gather once again, and how we can do so safely.  

I am so looking forward to sharing this information with you.  If you have questions for Dr. Balba, please send them in advance to