This page is up to date as of May 18, 2021. General information, updates, and resources will be added, as needed.
Beginning Tuesday, May 18, 2021, Phase 2(d) guidance may be considered by Vestry or Bishop's Committees for implementation. All previous requirements (masks, distancing, etc.) remain for unvaccinated people. For fully vaccinated people, masks and social distancing is optional for all gatherings, whether public or private. Childcare requirements remain in place, regardless of staff/volunteers’ vaccination status. Clergy and Vestries/Bishop’s Committees have full authority to make decisions based on local congregation and COVID-19 situation. Church leadership may choose to do more than the Guidelines require.
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.
Clergy,Vestries, and Bishop’s Committees are reminded that the diocesan guidelines give you full authority to make decisions to reopen or to close again based on your own congregation and the local COVID-19 situation. However, the diocesan Guidelines for Phased Reopening are not optional. Your church's leadership may choose to do more than the Guidelines require, but they may not do less. Each church has its own particular characteristics that should be considered when deciding whether to hold in-person worship services. Listening to local health officials is crucial, and everyone should understand that a congregation or diocesan-wide restriction on all in-person gatherings may become necessary again. All plans these days are subject to change.
Guidelines for Phased Reopening of Churches in West Texas - These Guidelines are intended to help churches plan and facilitate a modified reopening, so that people may begin to return to in-person worship, and other aspects of congregational life in the safest way possible and mindful that risk remains. The 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 fo 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.
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
"Forward Movement offers resources for prayer and worship at home" - a collection of free resources "to support individuals, families, and groups as they worship and pray at home" from Forward Movement, a ministry of the Episcopal Church that inspires disciples and empowers evangelists
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, but remain connected to Sunday morning prayers
The 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.
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.
Presiding Bishop Curry's Word to the Church: March 17, 2020 - "It is important to emphasize that suspension of in-person gatherings is not a suspension of worship. I very much encourage and support online worship. God bless you and keep the faith." [March 17, 2020]
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.