Current Guidelines from Bishop Bascom
Updated May 20, 2021
On May 20 Bishop Cathleen Bascom issued updated Covid-related guidelines for parishes across the diocese. Unlike previous guidance, which was uniform across the 44 churches of the diocese, these new guidelines offer just four requirements while empowering local discretion in relaxing other previous Covid-related safety restrictions, based on local contexts.
The bishop said that this relaxation in diocesan mandates can take place thanks to vaccinations, which have resulted in falling virus rates across the diocese. She gave a special thanks to all those who have been vaccinated while noting that children younger than 12 are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.
The four requirements going forward are:
- In line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fully vaccinated people may remove their masks inside.
- As you are able, allow space for socially distanced seating for those who choose.
- Communion may be distributed in the form of consecrated bread only; for now, the common cup (drinking and intinction) remains prohibited. We will continue to watch for new developments about the safety of the common cup.
- Registration, sign-ups or attendance records must continue to be used and records kept for one month.
The bishop said she trusts the clergy and lay leaders of each parish to use these guidelines to make specific decisions for their church in the conduct of worship and other activities, while also being mindful of the canons and guidance from local health officials.
She did ask that special effort be made to care for children, who remain vulnerable to the virus, and to their families, and she encouraged conversations between parish leadership and parents so that everyone feels safe and welcome.
The weekly online diocesan spreadsheet of Covid-related statistics, which has been kept county-by-county since November, will continue to be updated by diocesan staff, but parish leaders no longer need to consult it each week. If virus levels were to return to less-safe levels in any county, the canon to the ordinary will make church leaders in that area aware of that fact.
Bishop Bascom’s Letters Regarding COVID
Additional Covid guidance from Bishop Bascom – May 15, 2021
Bishop says masks are not required for vaccinated people – May 14, 2021
Bishop Bascom offers some relaxed Covid guidelines – May 6, 2021
Bishop reiterates Covid guidance; expands some parish options – March 12, 2021
Bishop reiterates indoor activity guidelines through Palm Sunday – January 5, 2021
Bishop continues indoor worship moratorium with one Christmas exception – December 7, 2020
Bishop Suspends all in-person worship until Dec. 13 – November 12, 2020
Bishop announces guidelines to re-open churches – May 2, 2020
Financial and legal matters for parishes during COVID – April 4, 2020
Living as Sacramental, Eucharistic People amid COVID-19 – April 3, 2020
Bishop Bascom suspends worship services through May 17th – March 20, 2020
Bishop Bascom suspends worship services through April 3 – March 16, 2020
Guidelines in the time of Corona – March 13, 2020
Coronavirus information for parishes – March 2, 2020