Bishop Jennifer today released revised guidelines for diocesan churches.
“As anticipated, our understanding of COVID-19, the risks to our congregations in gathering, and the availability of reliable data have quickly evolved,” the bishop wrote in a letter accompanying the guidelines. “The revision incorporates this evolution and helps to clarify my expectations in the regathering plans.”
Highlights of the revised document include:
- Revised public health standards for assessing the risk of an outbreak
- Updated considerations regarding the use of air conditioning
- A more flexible approach regarding third-party use of church facilities
- A softening of the absolute restriction on clergy over 65
- Guidance on how to accommodate Eucharist drawn from the Diocese of Chicago’s guidelines.
- The bishop said the revisions came in response to “ongoing consultation with clergy and lay leaders of our diocese and colleague bishops in Province V” of the Episcopal Church, and a deeper understanding of the public health data available in communities across the diocese.
“As before, we will, under no circumstances, convene in-person gatherings in communities where they are prohibited for public health reasons,” Bishop Jennifer wrote, “but we can resume weeks or even months later than the state permits if that is what is necessary to keep our people safe.”