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.”
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.
Bishop of Arkansas
- 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?”)
Active Covid Cases by County
The data below represent the present active cases per county as of October 6 and applicable to worship taking place Oct. 7–Oct. 13, 2020.
|County||Church location||ACTIVE CASES PER 10,000*|
|Garland||Hot Springs, HSV||16.3|
|St. Francis||Forrest City||27.9|
* As a seven-day rolling average.
Online Worship Services
CDC and State Resouces
- CDC unpublished guide to assist leaders of faith communities. [PDF]
- Arkansas Department of Health’s Covid-19 Guidance for Faith-Based Organizations [web page].