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

04 May 2020

Our Approach to Regathering

We face challenges as a church in this age of pandemic, but we are confident that the church is up to the challenge. Over the next few months we in Arkansas will find ways to bring our community back together in person, always mindful that we will look out for the health of everyone around us.

In anticipation of opening our doors once again, we will spend the next month preparing. During the month of May, we will continue to worship online rather than in person.

Please remember that how and when to reopen will depend in large part on public health guidelines in effect at the time and the success, or lack of it, in overcoming the pandemic. Estimates of infection, illness, and death change from week to week, making it impossible to give precise dates in early May 2020 on when churches can reopen. But we will do so as soon as we feel confident that reopening is the right thing to do for our spiritual and physical health.

Attached to this email is a four-page pamphlet outlining what we need to do in May, complete with a list of questions each congregation needs to be asking now, and what we hope to be able to do in June.

Larry Benfield
Bishop of Arkansas

Download the Full Pamphlet [PDF]

Previous Updates:


Bishop Benfield

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.

Average Active COVID-19 Cases by County

The data below represent a five-day rolling average, updated on May 26 and applicable to worship on or after June 1, 2020.

Every day we track current active Covid-19 cases in each county compared with its population, and then look at the rolling average of those active cases as a guide. Active cases per capita should be very low in counties where we proceed with in-person worship and should be almost as low in counties where outdoor worship in good weather is possible. All other congregations should continue with online worship.

For special liturgies such as funerals and weddings, work with the bishop on planning how to proceed.

County Church location Average present active cases Average active cases per capita Possible type of worship
Arkansas Stuttgart 1 0.003% Indoor
Ashley Crossett 1 0.005% Indoor
Baxter Mtn. Home 1 0.003% Indoor
Benton Numerous 125 0.053% Online
Boone Harrison 2 0.005% Indoor
Carroll Eureka Springs 7 0.024% Online
Chicot Lake Village 4 0.034% Online
Cleburne Heber Springs 1 0.004% Indoor
Columbia Magnolia 6 0.025% Online
Craighead Jonesboro 58 0.057% Online
Crawford Van Buren 3 0.005% Indoor
Crittenden W. Memphis 65 0.131% Online
Desha McGehee 1 0.006% Outdoor
Drew Monticello 2 0.011% Outdoor
Faulkner Conway 13 0.011% Outdoor
Garland Hot Springs, HSV 6 0.006% Outdoor
Greene Paragould 18 0.041% Online
Hempstead Hope 5 0.022% Online
Independence Batesville 5 0.012% Outdoor
Izard Horseshoe Bend 2 0.015% Outdoor
Jackson Newport 0 0.000% Indoor
Jefferson Pine Bluff 244 0.333% Online
Lee Marianna 6 0.064% Online
Little River Foreman 2 0.014% Outdoor
Mississippi Blytheville, Osceola 15 0.033% Online
Ouachita Camden 1 0.003% Indoor
Phillips Helena 3 0.013% Outdoor
Polk Mena 2 0.011% Outdoor
Pope Russellville 55 0.088% Online
Prairie Tollville 0 0.000% Indoor
Pulaski Numerous 132 0.034% Online
St. Francis Forrest City 327 1.200% Online
Saline Benton 16 0.014% Outdoor
Sebastian Ft. Smith 4 0.003% Indoor
Union El Dorado 56 0.138% Online
Washington Fayetteville, Springdale 133 0.061% Online
White Searcy 3 0.004% Indoor

Other Resources

CDC and State Resouces

Ideas for Social Distancing

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