Church announces gradual return to physical sacrament and other meetings

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An Aaronic priesthood holder follows local COVID-19 guidelines by wearing a face mask as he blesses pieces of bread, which represent the body of Jesus Christ. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that wards may begin a phased return to normal, in-person meetings in a letter sent out May 19.

The letter emphasizes that members should continue following government guidelines in different parts of the world.

The return to normal will consist of two phases. First, wards may hold shortened Sabbath day and other meetings in the meetinghouses with less than 100 people in attendance. In the second phase, wards may have regular meetings with 100 or more people, as long as they continue following government regulations.

A man speaks to a congregation during a sacrament meeting. Members of the congregation wear face masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

Local leaders are instructed not to begin holding meetings until Area Presidencies have authorized them to do so. They are also encouraged to be cautious and encourage social distancing in the meetings. If more than 99 members of a ward would like to attend a meeting, leaders are encouraged to hold separate meetings or have members attend bi-weekly meetings. Sick members are instructed to stay at home.

The letter also contains instructions for non-Sunday meetings, such as baptisms. Converts who are baptized may be confirmed and ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood immediately after their baptism until meetings return to normal. Permission may also be given for baby blessings to be performed in the homes of members.

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