Doing Church During COVID-19

Questions or concerns?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Ohio Department of Health

Ohio Public Health Advisory System

World Health Organization (WHO)

Search COVID-19 cases by zip code

Guidelines for gathering

We are thankful and blessed to have medical consultants in our diocese to help guide our decisions throughout this pandemic.

We continue to follow the CDC and governor’s guidelines to make our recommendations. It is important to note that the diocese does not mandate any specific action to our parishes – the final decisions for offering in-person gathering rests with the clergy and leadership of each congregation, taking into consideration the health and safety of its own congregation and guests.

The bishop and COVID Medical Task Force continue to monitor COVID variants as they present themselves. If the situation should warrant reconsideration of these guidelines, they will be revised.

Current recommendations (issued 3/4/22)
  • Social gatherings, including coffee hours, shared meals, and receptions, are now allowed. Precautions should include good hand sanitation, cross-ventilation for airflow, and social distancing for indoor events.
  • With these precautions in place, congregations may resume food ministries, and outside groups may return to our buildings.
  • Wearing masks is optional but often prudent—and always permitted—both at social gatherings and in worship. Everyone may sing, either with a mask or without.
  • Congregations may offer the common cup at communion. Each person should decide whether to receive in one kind (the bread only) or also to drink from the cup. Intinction, once so common in the Episcopal Church, contributes to the spread of any communicable disease. The Task Force strongly discourages this practice.
  • At-risk groups deserve special attention, and these include the oldest and youngest among us. Young children have not yet had access to vaccines, and planners should consider this fact when planning Sunday School. Masking, hand washing, using larger rooms, and providing cross-ventilation make a safer space for those ages zero to four.
  • The past year’s data has shown that vaccinations do more than anything else to prevent disease spread and serious illness. The Task Force, as it has all along, strongly recommends the vaccine and booster.
  • Many of our congregations have grown accustomed to using dual platforms, both in-person and digital media, for much of what we do—worship, education, and meetings. The Task Force encourages the use of both platforms. The capacity of clergy, staff, and unpaid volunteers should be a consideration, however, as the increased demands of providing two platforms has stretched the limits for many of our people and leaders.
  • Leaders, lay and ordained, should continue to monitor COVID spread locally, both to assess the larger community and the needs of parish. A trend signaling increased spread of the virus, or the arrival of a troubling new variant, will require a return to stricter guidelines.

Worshipping online while physically distancing


  • The diocese is offering several opportunities for financial help to congregations during the pandemic crisis.

    Loan resources

    How to Calculate Revenue Reduction and Maximum Loan Amounts for Second Draw PPP loans

    from Clark Shaeffer Hacket (posted 1/22/21)

    Updated PPP FAQ for Borrowers and Lenders (6/25/20)

    SBA Document Website

    Treasury Department Information Center

    JD Supra, a daily resource offering guidance, analysis, and updates on the myriad issues arising from the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic

    PPP Loan Forgiveness App EZ Form with Instructions

    added 6/18/20

    PPP Loan Forgiveness Application with Instructions

    added 6/18/20

    PPP Loan Forgiveness Application

    added 6/18/20

    An overview of the CARES Act for churches

    Information on the CARES Act

    CARES Loan Spending Tracker

    Summary of CARES Act Provisions from Church Alliance

    NFIB CARES Act Small Business Loans comparison

    Disaster loan assistance from the Small Business Administration

    Summary of the Paycheck Protection Program

    PPP Borrower Application Form

    SBA Issues Guidance and New Application Form For PPP Loans

    PPP guidelines (May 13, 2020)

    PPP Loan Forgiveness application

    Determining the forgiveness amount of your PPP Loan


    5-week PPP extension

    New PPP loan forgiveness applications released

    Journal of Accountancy 6/17/20

    PPP Frequently Asked Questions

    PPP FAQs last updated 5/27

    SBA Faith-based FAQ

    CARES Act and Changes to Retirement Account Distributions

    COVID-19 PPP Loan Forgiveness: What We Know

    PPP and the Enigma of Loan Forgiveness

    SBA stops accepting PPP applications after funding runs out

    SBA issues PPP Loan Forgiveness Application and Instructions


    Preparing for an SBA PPP Audit: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application

    We Can Work It Out: The SBA Continues Providing Guidance on the PPP and Loan Forgiveness

    SBA Publishes 2 New Interim Final Rules to Implement PPP Flexibility Act

    SBA Publishes PPP Flexibility Loan Forgiveness Interim Final Rule and Updated Applications


    Several emails were sent out to church leaders with information about financial relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. Congregations can seek financial relief from the federal government, the Church Pension Fund and the bishop’s office. This is a lot of information but we urge you to read through them carefully.

    Important financial relief for congregations during the COVID-19 pandemic, sent 4/2/20

    Follow up message sent 4/3/20

    Second follow-up sent 4/3/20

    Message sent 4/8/20

    Message sent 4/24/20

  • ChurchNext course: A COVID-19 Spiritual Survival Kit
    In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, ChurchNext has launched another new, free course: A Covid-19 Spiritual Survival Kit For Individuals and For Groups, featuring four outstanding presenters: James Farwell, Stephanie Spellers, Dorothy Linthicum, and Bonnie Perry.

    Lectionary-based lessons and coloring pages
    Sign up for a weekly email with lectionary-based sessions and coloring pages for children from Illustrated Ministries

    FREE Online Sunday School Lessons
    Looking for activities for your children while they are at home?  You can continue Sunday School with these and other resources are available online.

    Lectionary Based Sunday School Curricula:


    At Home Sunday School Lessons (not Lectionary Based):

    •  (Some are free; some require membership)

    Godly Play
    Watch a weekly lesson posted by St. Paul’s, Dayton.

    Lifelong Learning from VTS, Formation resources from Virginia Theological Seminary

  • Coronavirus Guide for Churches from Christianity Today

    Cincinnati Community Resource Guide from Freestore Foodbank

    Coronavirus: The Risks - Know Them - Avoid Them

    An article by Dr. Erin Bromage, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

    High SARS-CoV-2 Attack Following Exposure at a Choir Practice

    CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, May 12,2020

  • Social Media toolkit from the CDC, with graphics and suggested messages available for use on social media profiles and web pages. (FREE)

    How to Livestream your Church Service in 4 Easy Steps

    How to Broadcast a Facebook Live Event in 5 Easy Steps

    How to use Facebook Live: The Ultimate Guide

    Using Zoom (video tutorial)

    Zoom meetings best practices

    Participating in a Zoom meeting step by step

    Zoom’s security flaws – good information from Church Law & Tax

    Need to set up a virtual meeting?  Submit a Zoom meeting request to Julie Murray at
    (we will do our best to accommodate your preferred date and time)

    Office 365 licenses for local & remote use of Office software applications

    • up to 5 licenses per church
    • Contact Julie Murray at if interested
  • Prayers in place of Eucharist

    Act of Spiritual Communion (from Project Canterbury)

    Now make a special effort to realize the presence of Jesus in your soul, and make your act of Spiritual Communion, remembering how at countless altars of the Church the Holy Sacrifice is being pleaded and souls fed sacramentally by the Body and Blood of Christ.

    In union, O Dear Lord, with the faithful at every Altar of Thy Church, where Thy blessed Body and Blood are being offered to the Father, I desire to offer Thee praise and thanksgiving. I present to Thee my soul and body, with the earnest wish that I may ever be united to Thee. And since I cannot now receive Thee sacramentally, I beseech Thee to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to Thee and embrace Thee with all the affections of my soul. O let nothing ever separate me from Thee. Let me live and die in Thy love.–Amen.

    Grant, O Lord Jesus Christ, that as the hem of Thy garment, touched in faith, healed the woman who could not touch Thy Body, so the soul of Thy servant may be healed by like faith in Thee, Whom I cannot now sacramentally receive; through Thy tender mercy, Who livest and reignest with the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost ever one God.–Amen.

    This is found at:

    Spiritual Communion Prayer

    My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
    I love you above all things and I desire to receive you in my soul.
    Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally,
    Come at least spiritually into my heart.
    I embrace you as if you were already there
    And unite me wholly to you.
    Never permit me to be separated from you.


    St. Augustine’s Prayer Book (published by Forward Movement) has a good section on spiritual communion, beginning on p. 290

    Other resources

    Parochial reporting during physical distancing

    Things to Consider When Holding a Funeral Over Zoom, a resource shared by Province V

    The Book of Common Prayer (free pdf download from Church Publishing)

    The Online Book of Common Prayer

    Daily Prayers from Forward Movement

    The Good Book Club from Forward Movement

    Hymns Unto God – a listing of public domain hymns

    Prayer & Worship in Our Homes
    (free 5-course class from Church Next)

    Music copyright law considerations

    US Copyright issues related to live streaming music

    Lifelong Learning at VTS

    The Diocese of Colorado offers Connected in Common, a hub for resources for home-based worship and community

  • Updated guidelines for public worship

    posted 6/16/21

    Maintaining Connection During the Pandemic

    Tools for maintaining community from Episcopal Relief & Development:

    Racism, Homelessness and COVID-19

    The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty published this guide, among others that highlights how COVID-19 has affected communities of color, who disproportionately experience homelessness and housing insecurity. This may be useful for people who work in homeless ministries around the country or are responding to COVID-19 at this time.

    Henry the Hand Foundation

    Dr. Will Sawyer of Christ Church, Glendale, created a Hand Hygiene program 25 years ago using Henry the Hand as the messenger to train both adults and children. Includes a two-minute video to help teach COVID-19 prevention in both English and Spanish.

    UC Health

    UC Health offers a COVID-19 resource kit that includes an overview presentation, printable symptoms flyer, a wellness library and community and government resources.

    Church Law & Tax is a website for churches and clergy that provides comprehensive, searchable, and easily accessible information on legal, tax, financial, and risk management matters.

    Fraud and Stimulus checks
    Webinars for Church Leaders
    Volunteer opportunity
    • TryTank Experimental Lab is making Dial-A-Priest available to hospitals around the country starting Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Dial-A-Priest is a free service that connects callers to an Episcopal clergyperson who can offer the “Ministration at the Time of Death” from the Book of Common Prayer by telephone to hospital patients. The hotline can be reached 24 hours a day at (213) 423-3600. The number can easily be found at On mobile devices the site functions as one-click dialing. Clergy who wish to volunteer, visit to apply.
    12-Step online programming
    Mask-making instructions and patterns