Greetings in the Name of our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We pray that you and the people you serve are well and that you are experiencing the presence and power of Jesus as we continue to glory in his cross and resurrection.
As you read this, we are all aware that we are in a new season of ministering in the midst of the pandemic. As government and medical guidelines become less severe and vaccines become more available, there is a general sense that it is time for everything to get back to normal. While we are grateful to God for the improvement that we are experiencing, we also are compelled by the love of Christ to prudently shepherd his Church and care for the most vulnerable among us. This time last year we were focused on how to minister as gatherings were shut down. Now we are seeking God’s wisdom for how and when to ease previous restrictions and create safe environments for gathering, worshipping, and inviting even more people to participate in our common life in Christ.
To this end, we offer these revised guidelines concerning public worship within the Anglican Diocese of the Carolinas.
- All decisions regarding the lifting or maintaining of previous restrictions need to be made together by the vestry and rector. We understand that this will create the possibility of a variety of policies among the congregations in our diocese inasmuch as we reside in different states and municipalities and are responding to diverse demographics and regional trends.
- All will be expected to meet the minimum requirements of your local and state guidelines.
- While we continue to urge the use of masks for indoor worship, we leave this to the rector and vestry to prayerfully decide what is best for your congregation.
- Hand sanitation stations should continue to be provided.
- Social distancing should continue to be practiced until such time as state and local recommendations are changed.
- While Holy Communion may be administered in both kinds, we do not yet permit the use of the common cup.
- If possible, provision should be made to administer Communion to those who cannot come to church (shut-ins, the sick, and those still uncomfortable attending).
- Childcare and nursery can now be provided.
- Wherever possible, please continue to live-stream your service for those who are unable to participate in person.
- Given the safety measures in place and the widening availability of vaccines, all congregations of the diocese should be meeting for public worship.
You might be interested to know that each of your bishops has been vaccinated. While our trust rests in Christ, that same trust leads us to be grateful to God for the development of safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19.
We count ourselves abundantly blessed to be yoked with you in ministry. Your steadfastness, courage, faithfulness, creativity, and love are an inspiration to us. We thank God every time we remember you.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
Bishops Steve Wood, David Bryan, Terrell Glenn and Thad Barnum
The Anglican Diocese of the Carolinas
April 14, 2021