The Anglican Province of America (APA) House of Bishops (HOB) met by conference call on Friday, April 24, 2020.  The order of business was to discuss the latest information on certain states’ plans to open for public business.  A number of our churches are looking for direction on how to conduct our church activities as the restrictions are slowly lifted. 

  It is the feeling of the HOB that we should not try to micro-manage each parish and mission.  We all have a responsibility to abide by the limits that are imposed by our Federal, State, and Local governments and that we as leaders each should know what the governmental guidelines and directives are.  You can get local updates on the websites of your local and state health departments.  Don’t rely on what you are told, what you hear or see on television, or see on social media. 

  We are certain there will be some people who may be hesitant about coming back to public worship.  To reassure them, it is important to cautiously reintroduce them back to church by following the guidelines and directives carefully.  Some temporary procedures we would suggest that might be helpful to include:
  • Every other pew closed
  • Maintain a 6 feet separation in pews and at communion rail
  • Encourage the early service for the most vulnerable
  • No ushers or greeters (bulletins in a basket by the door)
  • Alms basins on stands by the entry doors of the church
  • Minimal servers at the altar
  • Processional from the sacristy
  • No greeting line following Mass
  • Only outside congregating with separation following Mass
  As far as closing off pews, in smaller churches, this may create a hardship for accommodating those wishing to attend.  It may mean temporarily adding an extra service on Sunday or another one on a weekday.  

  We are facing a challenge unlike anything we have faced before, so it is important that each one find his or her way comfortably back to normal church life without fear of exposure to disease.  Not everyone may feel emotionally ready to leave home and go to church at the same time.  We must be tolerant of one another.  Some may not be ready to come to the communion rail to receive the Eucharist.  It will be important that you continue to provide Spiritual Communion for those who wish to be in church but not ready to come forward and take Holy Communion   

With that thought in mind, the position of the House of Bishops is when the church is first opened, that Spiritual Communion is recommended temporarily as an option to commune.  Each parish priest will provide direction to his parish on any other options he may believe appropriate as we carefully and cautiously open our churches again for public worship. 

  We look forward with great joy and anticipation to the day that we are able to assemble together as believers to worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and to fellowship and commune with one another.

Blessings to all,

The Most Rev. Walter H. Grundorf, D.D.
Presiding Bishop, Anglican Province of America