Liturgical Guidelines and Parameters for Holy Week and Easter

Congregations are planning a number of different options for how Holy Week and Easter Day will be observed liturgically. Unfortunately, we will not be able to gather in person. Some congregations are planning online services, while others will encourage parishioners to follow other church’s online. Decide what works best in your congregation.

We will issue a list of liturgical resources that you can use in planning how you wish to observe this time in our church’s calendar. These resources will include a form of individual worship for times when an individual cannot receive Holy Communion.

As you plan your services, please follow these guidelines.You have the choice of conducting the Daily Office each day, or the Eucharist as outlined in the BCP for Holy Week, the Good Friday liturgy, the Easter Vigil, and Easter Day.

  • At no time should more than nine people be together in church or in home worship, and they must always practice social distancing.
  • Do not conduct an outdoor service or encourage people to attend church by doing such things as sitting in their cars in the parking lot while a church service is occurring indoors.
  • Under no circumstance, have “drive-by” Communion. Government authorities have banned these sorts of practices in some communities.
  • If you are conducting a Eucharist, only the celebrant will prepare the Holy Table and receive Holy Communion. (This requirement is in support of healthy actions to prevent the spread of the virus.)
  • There will not be any “long distance” consecration of bread and wine. Instead, on Easter Day encourage people to include bread and wine in their Easter Day meal following their online worship, and that they pray the Blessings over Food at Easter [PDF] from the Book of Occasional Services, which states that these prayers “are appropriate for use by households at the principal meal on Easter Day.” These prayers will be issued as a liturgical resource.
  • Do not reserve consecrated Bread or Wine at any Eucharist until the viral pandemic is over.
  • Do not physically share palms in a service on Palm Sunday, and do not have more than one person strip the altar on Maundy Thursday.
  • Do not conduct Baptisms at the Easter Vigil or on Easter Day. (If there is an extremis situation and Baptism is necessary, conduct the Baptism as on page 313 of the Book of Common Prayer.)