Tuesday, October 27, 2020

As COVID-19 cases rise

As we move into fall and winter months, we are unfortunately seeing a rise in the number of Covid-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths. This is of course not the direction we wanted to go. Many are beginning to feel anxious again and to ask questions regarding whether or not congregations should be gathering for worship. At this point, the diocesan office would like to offer a few general guidelines to clergy and other church leadership as you make decisions regarding worship in your own particular context. We encourage you to watch the numbers in your area, to consider the make-up of your own congregation or any other factors that are specific to your worshiping community. For example, if overall the number of infections are not rising in your community but you know that there are significant outbreaks in schools and that your faith community has a number of young families in membership, this may impact whether or not you open for worship. Likewise, if your community contains many older people whose health is fragile, you may make a different decision about opening for worship.

Here are a couple of websites that we offer to help inform you. Both of these websites offer information for the whole state of Virginia and also according to each county. If, after considering the information for your local area, you are still undecided, please feel free to call the Diocesan Office and we will help you process the information in order to arrive at a decision.
Clergy and lay leaders are to be commended for their excellent work in providing virtual worship when in-person worship is not available, and we encourage you to continue those offerings. We also remind you that the bishop has issued guidelines for how to administer Holy Communion more widely during a time of pandemic, and those guidelines and can be found here.