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 October 6 and applicable to worship taking place Oct. 7–Oct. 13, 2020.

County Church location ACTIVE CASES PER 10,000*
Arkansas Stuttgart 33.9
Ashley Crossett 9.6
Baxter Mtn. Home 12.6
Benton Numerous 13.1
Boone Harrison 21.8
Carroll Eureka Springs 32.0
Chicot Lake Village 5.9
Cleburne Heber Springs 7.4
Columbia Magnolia 31.0
Craighead Jonesboro 36.9
Crawford Van Buren 32.1
Crittenden W. Memphis 12.5
Desha McGehee 22.7
Drew Monticello 6.2
Faulkner Conway 23.2
Garland Hot Springs, HSV 16.3
Greene Paragould 20.2
Hempstead Hope 11.3
Independence Batesville 15.4
Izard Horseshoe Bend 57.7
Jackson Newport 28.2
Jefferson Pine Bluff 66.1
Lee Marianna 19.1
Little River Foreman 10.2
Mississippi Blytheville, Osceola 20.3
Ouachita Camden 8.7
Phillips Helena 26.1
Polk Mena 9.1
Pope Russellville 20.2
Prairie Tollville 20.3
Pulaski Numerous 16.1
Saline Benton 16.4
Sebastian Ft. Smith 24.9
St. Francis Forrest City 27.9
Union El Dorado 7.5
Washington Fayetteville, Springdale 18.3
White Searcy 10.7

* 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

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