The Bishop’s E-pistle: Updated Guidelines for Congregations During the Pandemic

Three questions have dominated my conversations with Arizona Episcopalians since the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in our state.

  • When can we sing?
  • When can we eat?
  • When can we gather in greater numbers?

To be honest, those are exactly the three questions I have been yearning for answers to myself. I desperately miss singing, breaking bread together, and seeing a full church.  

I am happy to say that given the robust response to vaccination among Episcopalians, the Gathering for Abundant Life Task Force has issued new guidelines for our churches beginning May 1. You can read the full guidelines in English and Spanish on our Coronavirus Resources webpage (under Diocesan Resources).

These are much shorter, and can be summarized by saying:

  • Masks and social distancing continue to be required at all church functions
  • Congregational and choral singing can resume after May 1
  • Coffee hour and other functions with food can take place outdoors after May 1 (but not indoors)
  • Worship and other events can take place with up to 50% of the capacity of the room being used

My prayer is that as vaccinations continue, we will be able to expand into a more completely “normal” space for prayer, worship, mission, and witness.