This page is up to date as of January 10, 2022. General information, updates, and resources will be added, as needed.
Effective January 10, 2022, local church leadership will receive full authority to manage each congregation’s ongoing COVID-19 guidelines and protocols, and the remaining diocesan pandemic requirements will end. A congregation’s guidelines and protocol may stay the same at this time. Church guidelines may be amended only following a discussion and plan of action formed by clergy and the Vestry or Bishop’s Committee. That plan must be communicated to the congregation prior to any in-person gathering that will incorporate new guidance, but does not need to be submitted to the diocesan office prior to implementation.
Regarding Phase 3, the Rt. Rev. David Reed, Bishop of West Texas, shares, “While removing the last of the diocesan mandated guidelines will be a significant milestone, we are not in“post-pandemic times” yet. This decision should not be read as an all-clear message, and I am not advocating that any or all churches immediately remove practices that have kept us safe during the pandemic.” Click here to read his full letter to the Diocese.
The Phase 2(d) Diocesan Guidelines for Phased Reopening of Churches remain available as a reference document for planning purposes.
The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas invites clergy, lay leaders, and congregations to commit to standard hygiene practices, to consider reasonable liturgical adjustments, to contact public health officials in their community for local conditions, to extend care and compassion to those in their congregations and communities who may be affected by the disease, as well as healthcare and other frontline workers. Please keep the specific, local needs and current status of your community in mind while considering your congregation's response. If you experience COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, impaired senses of taste or smell, and others, contact your health care provider and stay home to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
For Reference Only: Phase 2(d) Guidelines for Phased Reopening of Churches in West Texas - Effective January 10, 2022, the remaining diocesan pandemic requirements will end, and local church leadership will receive full authority to manage each congregation’s ongoing COVID-19 guidelines and protocols. The Phase 2(d) Guidelines are preserved here as a resource to help guide conversations about local protocol going forward. The reference document includes Guidelines, Resources, Forms, Questions to Consider, and a collection of letters from the Bishop and diocesan communications regarding the COVID-19 response. Spanish translations are available for the Phase 2 Guidelines, Covenant form, and several of the Letters from the Bishop. Contact email@example.com for other COVID-19 documents in Spanish.
"Resources and Ideas to Stay Connected While Physically Distant" - The diocesan Development and Communications Offices offered resources and ideas for how to stay connected as a church when we are physically distanced, via live webinar on Monday, March 30, 2020. Click the link above to open the supplemental PDF.
"Digital Communications Resource Guide For Church Communicators" - a resource guide from the Diocese of West Texas Communications Department for online worship services and virtual meeting tools for ongoing church business, digital Christian Formation, and ministry meetings.
"Liturgical Resources For Congregations Responding to COVID-19" - prayers, liturgies, and an order of Morning Prayer collected by diocesan clergy for families and congregations.
Concerning COVID-19 - a resource page from The Episcopal Church with general guidelines for churches and safe measures for equitable treatment of church employees.
Episcopal Church Toolkit for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution / Colección de Recursos para la Distribución de la Vacuna del COVID-19 - A toolkit designed as a compilation of ideas and educational resources to help your local Episcopal Church work with the government to help end this pandemic. Churches and church leaders (lay and ordained) can serve as important trusted bridges between public health officials and congregations.
Church Pension Group (CPG) COVID-19 Resource Center - announcements, resources, and webinars from CPG in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on institutions and individuals around the Church.
Faith-Based Response to Infectious Disease - a webpage curated by Episcopal Relief and Development with scientific information, print resources, liturgical resources, webinars, and ideas for maintaining community in the midst of a pandemic, to guide congregations seeking to stay connected while remaining physically apart.
"U.S. Copyright Issues Related to Live Streaming Music" - a summary of possible copyright violations and licensing options from The Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs. "The recent blossoming of live-streamed Episcopal Church services has highlighted the need for some guidance regarding the copyright law implications of this increasingly used method of maintaining community and fellowship."
"How to Livestream Your Church Service in Four Easy Steps" - a video tutorial produced by the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego explaining four steps to plan and prepare for live broadcasting a worship service
Complete List of Hymns Within the Public Domain - a list of hymns within the public domain for church's consideration in planning live-streamed or recorded worship services
"BCPOnline.org" - The (Online) Book of Common Prayer, for anyone who may wish to stay home or refrain from using shared resources in-person
Since the start of the pandemic, many Episcopal congregations have started to record and broadcast Eucharist, Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, Compline, and other services online. All churches are encouraged to list current service times and options on the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas Asset Map. Anyone seeking information about in-person or live-streamed services can search the map by city or church name to find service times and details.
"How to Update Church Information on the Episcopal Asset Map" - step-by-step instructions for changing worship information, adding livestream details, and updating clergy and church contact information on the Episcopal Asset Map.
For recording or livestream questions, contact the Diocesan Communications Office, at firstname.lastname@example.org.