The Latest from Bishop Benfield
Be Both Welcoming and Safe
19 May 2021
The increasing number of people who are vaccinated and the recent recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control allow us to take a new look at how we gather for worship. Individual congregations may find it useful to be more conservative, but the general recommendation for worship is:
The focus of this recommendation is that, whatever the individual decision on mask wearing, we are all called to be hospitable and do what we can to make other people feel both welcomed and safe in our congregations. There will naturally be discussions in each congregation on such practices as processions and choral singing, many of which are dependent on the size and configuration of the space in which worship is occurring. In some of our congregations, everyone has already been vaccinated; in others, there are children who are not yet eligible for vaccination. If churches follow the guidelines of schools and daycare centers, it seems that resuming children’s Christian formation classes and nursery care is possible.
It appears that people can safely receive consecrated Bread at an altar rail. We are still waiting for some hoped-for clarification on whether or not it is good practice to resume drinking the consecrated Wine from a common chalice. The chief concern is that there are unvaccinated adults who would perhaps drink from a common chalice at a worship service in which there are also children who cannot yet be vaccinated.
We will continue to review health recommendations, and we continue to hope that infections will not begin increasing following the CDC’s latest recommendations. If all goes well, a return to a full range of ministries in our congregations seems imminent.
- 3/24/21 Update from Bishop Benfield (“Recommendations for Restarting Church Activities”)
- 2/24/21 Update from Bishop Benfield (“As Cases Decline, Indoor Worship Is Possible for Some Churches”)
- 11/18 Update from Bishop Benfield (“An Update on Worship During the Pandemic”)
- 9/23 Update from Bishop Benfield (“Latest Recommendations for In-Person Meetings”)
- 8/12 Update from Bishop Benfield (“New Recommendation on When to Consider In-Person Worship”)
- 7/29 Update from Bishop Benfield (“Responding Creatively”)
- 6/17 Update from Bishop Benfield (“Reopening Our Churches”)
- 5/4 Update from Bishop Benfield (“Our Approach to Regathering”)
- 4/22 Update from Bishop Benfield (“Looking Forward”)
- 4/1 Update from Bishop Benfield (“Holy Week and Easter in the Time of COVID-19”)
- 3/25 Update from Bishop Benfield (“Thanks you for Being the Church”)
- 3/17 Update from Bishop Benfield (“How to Love Your Neighbor During a Pandemic”)
- 3/13 Update from Bishop Benfield (“All Congregations Urged Not to Meet”)
- 3/12 Update from Bishop Benfield (“Churches in Three Counties Encouraged to Close”)
- 3/11 Update from Bishop Benfield (“What to Expect in Church on Sunday”)
- 3/4 Letter from Bishop Benfield (“Living Faithfully in a World of Pandemics”)
- 3/2 Notice (“Concerned About Coronavirus and Your Congregation?”)