Holy Week and Easter in the Time of COVID-19

A Letter from Bishop Benfield

The Christian Church across the world is preparing for a Holy Week and Easter unlike any we have known. We will not be gathering in person, either to observe the Passion or to celebrate the Resurrection. It does not mean, however, that we will not find ways to gather.

On Monday I had a Zoom meeting with members of the clergy to discuss the varied ways that we are going to lead our congregations this next week. Some of us are going to lead online worship, some will record worship, and some will encourage parishioners to virtually join other congregations.

We will not have “drive-by” or “in the parking lot outdoors” services. The health risk is simply too great. Neither will we attempt what some people call “long distance” consecration of bread and wine. We want to respect the essential traditions of the church that have seen us through other plagues throughout our 2,000-year history.

I encourage you to join in services online as you can, and also spend your own time in prayer in your homes. I also encourage you to find your own acts of compassion in the coming week, be it watching out for a neighbor, calling an isolated person, or donating to help others who are fearfully struggling with finances. The Holy Week and Easter messages after all, are about dying to one way of existence and being raised to a new way of life. This is the life we can live whether we are able to gather in church or not.

Larry Benfield
Bishop of Arkansas