I am not certain how long COVID-19 will remain virulent among us, but I am certain that as Christians, the second Great Commandment should undergird the responses we make: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Bishop Larry Benfield

The Latest from Bishop Benfield

Latest Recommendations for In-Person Meetings

As I wrote in a memo to congregational leaders yesterday, it is obvious that the pandemic is going to remain a central part of our lives for some time to come, and its impact will vary from location to location. In response to questions about how we proceed, and after seeing the steps various churches are taking in order to meet for classes and worship, I have published some new recommendations on in-person meetings of any size and for any purpose. Basically, the recommendations list more safe versus less safe conditions, and ask you to consider whether or not you are ready to meet, based on the infection rate in your area and your ability to do so safely. As we hear from health authorities, face coverings and social distancing are essential. Should you wish to include the Eucharist in your worship, the policy remains that only consecrated Bread will be distributed.

I continue to travel to congregations for worship where the infection rate is relatively low. Whether or not you are able to meet in person, I ask that you continue to remain connected with one another. It is good for our own emotional health, and it means a great deal to people who are suffering or afraid. If there has ever been a time when the church is needed to help others, it is now. This sort of connection is ultimately where the church can be truly evangelical and share good news through action with people who hunger for it.

Faithfully yours,

Larry Benfield
Bishop of Arkansas

Previous Updates:


Bishop Benfield

Active Covid Cases by County

The use of active cases per 10,000 individuals as a standard is based on the likelihood of encountering a currently contagious person in the county in which the congregation is located. Your county having more or less than 14 active cases per 10,000 residents seems to be a reasonable guide to determine the acceptability of risk.

The data below represent the present active cases per county as of September 22 and applicable to worship taking place Sept. 22–28, 2020.

County Church location ACTIVE CASES PER 10,000*
Arkansas Stuttgart 17.7
Ashley Crossett 7.4
Baxter Mtn. Home 16.0
Benton Numerous 12.5
Boone Harrison 36.4
Carroll Eureka Springs 24.4
Chicot Lake Village 8.7
Cleburne Heber Springs 8.2
Columbia Magnolia 12.8
Craighead Jonesboro 31.6
Crawford Van Buren 26.5
Crittenden W. Memphis 16.7
Desha McGehee 14.9
Drew Monticello 7.5
Faulkner Conway 22.2
Garland Hot Springs, HSV 13.6
Greene Paragould 17.2
Hempstead Hope 3.8
Independence Batesville 26.5
Izard Horseshoe Bend 22.9
Jackson Newport 20.2
Jefferson Pine Bluff 59.7
Lee Marianna 15.0
Little River Foreman 10.1
Mississippi Blytheville, Osceola 20.9
Ouachita Camden 16.7
Phillips Helena 12.0
Polk Mena 3.7
Pope Russellville 13.2
Prairie Tollville 7.5
Pulaski Numerous 16.0
Saline Benton 10.9
Sebastian Ft. Smith 20.5
St. Francis Forrest City 26.4
Union El Dorado 7.2
Washington Fayetteville, Springdale 24.5
White Searcy 6.5

* As a seven-day rolling average.

Online Worship Services

Churches across the Diocese of Arkansas are livestreaming services via Facebook, YouTube, and Zoom. Click on the toggle button below for a complete list.

Other Resources

CDC and State Resouces

Ideas for Social Distancing

Image Image