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.)

Virtual Service Information

As you all should be aware, we have suspended in person worship services in accordance with directives from Bishop Benfield. We understand the that this poses a hardship to those members without access to Facebook. In an effort to make our services more accessible, we are now making the recordings of our services available on our Youtube Channel. These services are not being broadcast live to Youtube, but they will usually be available within 2 hours of the end of the service.

When those videos are published, they will become available from the homepage by scrolling to the bottom and selecting the service you wish to view. The bulletin for each service is published to the service page before the service begins so that everyone can have a copy if you choose to worship with us during the live feed on Facebook.

COVID-19 Resources

We are including a list of COVID-19 resources for you in one convenient location. These resources are far from all that is available on the internet, but they are a good starting point. All links will open in new tabs.

We hope that the information below will better help each of you in the days, weeks, and months ahead. If you have any resources you would like to see here, please email them to the office and we will review them for inclusion. At this time we have decided not to include news/media sources because they are readily available.

World Health Organization COVID-19 Resources

U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Resources

Arkansas Department of Health COVID-19 Situation Report and Resources

Oklahoma State Department of Health COVID-19 Situation Report

World-O-Meter COVID-19 Worldwide Case Statistics

Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas COVID-19 Resources