Special Notice From Bishop Benfield

Stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Arkansas Churches

From now until April 10, we as a diocese will implement the following practices to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We will reevaluate these practices at that time to determine if they should be continued or altered.

Personal Best Practices:

  • If you are sick, have a fever, or have any symptoms (such as coughing, sneezing, runny nose, etc.), please stay home. Any teachers, nursery workers, greeters, Eucharistic Ministers, or Eucharistic Visitors who have visible signs of illness are not to serve.
  • Practice social distancing. No handshaking, hugging, or other close physical contact while at church – before, during, or after service.

Church Policies:

  • Soap and paper towels must be available in all bathrooms. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be available in the church, classrooms, and nursery.
  • Offering plates should not be passed up and down each pew. You may choose to have only ushers hold the offering plates, or you may place the offering plates in prominent locations.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect high-touch areas, such as door handles and alter rails.
  • Empty baptismal fonts and holy water containers.
  • Evaluate your coffee hour practices to ensure multiple people are not handling food and utensils. Consider beverages only.

During Holy Communion:

  • Use metal patens and chalices only (no pottery).
  • Use communion wafers only (no homemade bread).
  • At the Eucharist, only the celebrant will receive the Sacrament in both kinds. Everyone else will receive only consecrated Bread. On Good Friday, April 10, there will be no distribution of the reserved Sacrament.
  • Anyone serving Holy Communion must sanitize his or her hands with alcohol-based sanitizer before distributing the consecrated Bread. (This instruction applies to Eucharistic Visitors as well.)
  • Eucharistic Visitors will take only consecrated bread to the sick and shut-in.

Note to members of the clergy: Contrary to the instructions on March 4, you may continue to send Eucharistic Visitors to visit shut-ins. Please make certain that they are instructed on proper hand-washing and sanitization before they make any visits

Larry Benfield