The United Church of God purposefully observes the Bible instructions to keep the Feast of Tabernacles in locations God chooses. Due to the COVID-19 virus, unprecedented challenges face the Church around the world including even gathering for weekly Sabbath services. Over half the Feast sites around the world have been canceled this year.
Fortunately, a number of sites remain intact, but local health regulations require differing scenarios in terms of three major aspects:
- The number of people who can gather in a single room
- Social distancing
- The wearing of face coverings/masks
All Feast sites are complying with local regulations and the Church wants to provide in-person services where members can feel safe and healthy. However, every individual must evaluate their own comfort and safety level at in-person services or gathering around groups. Attending services in person is an individual choice and for those who choose not to attend in person in the United States there will be two daily live webcasts from the Central and Mountain time zones.
Some U.S. site locations don’t require a face covering to be worn. Nevertheless, those sites will provide a section where anyone entering that section or room must wear a face covering. If there is a section or room where face coverings are not required, then obviously anyone wearing a face covering is welcome to visit in that area if they choose to do so.
A number of the Feast Coordinators at locations where face coverings are not required have provided further feedback. Those coordinators have the authorization to establish a face covering policy according to what fits their local needs as long as everyone’s health is clearly considered. The website for your Feast site will continue to be updated with the latest details. Since local regulations could change at any time leading up to the Feast, we will post any updates that impact your site as changes are made. Regardless of the current requirements, everyone should bring face coverings to have available, in case the regulations change.