Last updated: March 29, 2020
The COVID-19 coronavirus was classified as a pandemic on Wednesday, March 11, meaning community spread is more likely. There are 660 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state of South Carolina. While there is no need to panic, we as churches can take steps to help slow the spread of this disease in our communities while responding as Christians.
Communication from Leadership
As we are currently in the middle of a search for the next Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, we are under the leadership and ecclesiastical authority of the Standing Committee, led by its president, the Reverend Canon Caleb Lee. The Standing Committee has been actively engaged in guiding our diocese in response to this pandemic. Find links to all messages to date below:
Guidance for Churches
On Tuesday, March 24, the Rev. Cn. Caleb Lee, as President of the Standing Committee, announced all churches within the Diocese of South Carolina are to continue with the suspension of all public worship services through the end of April.
In his letter, he noted:
"The suspension of all public worship services, meetings, and gatherings in the Diocese of South Carolina has been extended to April 30, 2020. We deeply regret that this suspension extends into and beyond Holy Week and Easter celebrations. However, we are confident that our congregations and worship communities will rise to the challenges and opportunities that come with this unprecedented time.
In addition to the extended suspension of all public worship services, meetings, and gatherings, all Deanery Confirmations with Bishop Parsley and the annual Clergy Conference have been postponed."
The Governor of the State of South Carolina has strongly discouraged mass gatherings of people in communities throughout the state. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has advised to limit gatherings to fewer than 50 people. While we are moving more from preparation to enacting the ways we can limit exposure, these preparation guidelines may be helpful for churches to consider all areas of concern.
Helpful Resources for Churches
Below you will find a number of resources that may be useful to churches in our diocese during this time. These include:
Cancellations & Postponements
As of Tuesday, March 24, all public worship services are suspended throughout the Diocese of South Carolina until the end of April.
Many of the churches throughout the diocese are offering regular services, prayers, compline, and more online through Facebook and YouTube. Check the listing below for specific offerings.
Online worship services from Sunday, March 22, can be found at this link. This will be updated weekly.
Churches With Online Services
Many of the churches in our diocese currently offer, or will offer Sunday services online through Facebook, YouTube, and other services. Find a listing at this link below.
Washington National Cathedral
The Cathedral invites all to join online services throughout the week. They offer a Morning Service of Prayer each day (posted by 7 am Monday-Saturday) and an Evening Service of Prayer (posted by 7 pm Monday-Saturday). On Sundays, the Holy Eucharist will be webcast live at 11:15 am. You can access all videos (live or recorded) at this link.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preached for the Holy Eucharist at the closed Washington National Cathedral on Sunday, March 15, from his home in North Carolina. A video of the service is still available at this link.
During the uncertain times created by the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, leadership of the diocese will send out regular meditations on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays for the next while as we all adjust to a new chapter of living and being the Church. All who are signed up to receive our weekly newsletter will receive these meditations in your email inbox on those mornings. If you are not on this list, sign up at this link. You can also find all meditations after they are published at this webpage.
The Archdeacon, The Venerable Calhoun Walpole, will share a meditation each Wednesday; The Rt. Rev. Henry N. Parsley, Jr., Visiting Bishop for our Diocese, will offer a meditation each Saturday; and the Rev. Cn. Caleb Lee, President of the Standing Committee, will share a reflection each Monday.
Other Helpful Links
All Saints Episcopal Church, Hilton Head Island
Watch the Sunday, 3/22 at at 10:30 am service through this YouTube link or through their Facebook page. You may download the Sunday bulletin at this link.
Church of the Good Shepherd, Summerville
Fr. Dow and Fr. Mike will celebrate the Eucharist each Sunday and a video of this service will be posted on their YouTube channel (subscribe to be notified when it is available).
Church of the Messiah, Myrtle Beach
The church will join with St. Anne's, Conway, to offer an online service of worship at 10 am on Sunday. Participants can watch through St. Anne's Facebook page, or join through Zoom at this link and comment with prayer requests and thanksgivings.
The Episcopal Church in Okatie, Ridgeland
The Episcopal Church in Okatie will livestream the liturgy of the word and sermon on Sunday at 10 am through their Facebook page here. (Click the link to "like" the page; if you are on Facebook when they go live, you will be notified).
The Episcopal Church on Edisto, Edisto Island
On Sunday at 10 am, the Episcopal Church on Edisto will offer online videos through their Facebook page. The parts of the service may be in several different videos. The church will be sending members a .pdf version of the bulletin so you may follow along.
Holy Cross Faith Memorial, Pawleys Island
HCFM will be sharing Sunday services on their YouTube page. The bulletin will be sent out to the congregation through email prior to the service.
St. Anne's Episcopal Church, Conway
St. Anne's will offer a livestream of Morning Prayer on Sunday at 10 am. Participants can watch through St. Anne's Facebook page, or join through Zoom at this link and comment with prayer requests and thanksgivings. The church also offers daily Morning Prayer (8 am) and Evening Prayer (5 pm) through their Facebook page as well. Follow their Facebook page to be alerted to live events.
St. Catherine's Episcopal Church, Florence
St. Catherine's will share services on their Facebook page. Watch the 3/22 Morning Prayer service at this link.
How to Use Technology to Connect With Your Community
Below are a number of resources that can be helpful in using technology to connect to your members and the community:
How to Livestream your Church Service in 4 Easy Steps
Father Lorenzo Lebrija, founding director of TryTank, the experimental Lab for church growth and innovation, shares quick tips on how to go live on Facebook with your church service. NOTICE: Copyright laws can affect some streaming, particularly when trying to save. The best way to avoid this is to avoid using pre-taped music. Also consider using hymns that are in the public domain: Hymns Unto God.
How to Broadcast a Facebook Live Event in 5 Easy Steps
One of the best things about using Facebook Live is that it doesn't require any fancy equipment to get started.
How to use Facebook Live: The Ultimate Guide
2019 Update - Hubspot
Mass Messaging Text Service (MMS/SMS)
No. 1 SMS & Text Marketing Service For Companies Of All Sizes. Easy to Use Enterprise SMSPlatform & Developer API.
Best practices for Virtual Church
As pastors and church leaders determine how best to shepherd their congregations during this health crisis, Sojourners reached out to those who have experience for their best words of advice. This article shares their thoughts.
You Already Have Everything You Need to be a Digital Media Minister
An Episcopal priest offers tips for being an effective digital media minister.
Offering Online Worship: A Simple Guide
From the Diocese of Chicago.
Virtual & At-Home Formation Resources
(Contact Andrea McKellar for diocesan login information)
Faith at Home
Our faith is not just something we check in with on Sundays; our faith is how we live lives of meaning and purpose every day of the week, if we will learn to notice and respond to how God is moving. So, a weekly discipleship practice of Reading, Reflecting, and Responding to scripture in the context of community is so important. The devotions on this site have been written with this practice in mind.
Way of Love Lent curriculum (videos)
The journey through Lent into Easter is a journey with Jesus. We are baptized into his life, self-giving, and death; then, we rise in hope to life transformed. This Lent, communities are invited to walk with Jesus in his Way of Love and into the experience of transformed life. Together, we will reflect anew on the loving actions of God as recounted in the Easter Vigil readings. Together, we will walk through the depths of salvation history into the fullness of redemption.
Bedtime Stories and Prayer with Episcopalians
Each Wednesday evening, and occasional Mondays, join us to hear Bible and other stories and short bedtime prayers.
Preparation Guidelines for Churches
The situation is changing rapidly as we plan for the effects of Coronavirus. Currently, the state has asked that there be no gatherings of more than 10 people and that all South Carolinians stay in their own homes and practice "social distancing" as much as possible to limit the spread of the virus.
For churches, it is important to maintain a connection with your parishioners even when we are physically disconnected. The following are a list of steps that may be helpful as we live out this new reality:
St. Francis Episcopal Church, Charleston
St. Francis will be sharing services on Sunday mornings through their Facebook page.
St. George's Episcopal Church, Summerville
St. George's will share a live Sunday service at 10 am on their Facebook page. Also on Facebook, St. George's is offering regular video posts and musical offerings. They are also adding videos occasionally on their YouTube page. Audio files of previous Sunday's sermons are available on their website at this link.
St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Charleston
Each Sunday, the Rev. Dr. Philip Linder will offer a sermon that will be shared on their YouTube page. Other reflections and videos will be added as well there and on their Facebook page.
St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Port Royal
St. Mark's will be sharing an online worship service each Sunday morning on their Facebook page. The church is also offering weekly Evening Complines through Zoom, as well as a Wednesday morning "Wandering Rector" session with Fr. Roy. Login information has been sent to all members.
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Charleston
During the pandemic, St. Stephen's is regularly posting on the St. Stephen's Facebook page and YouTube channel. Subscribe to their YouTube channel here. Content will be shared each day at 12 pm, 6 pm, and 7 pm and Sunday at 8 am.
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, North Myrtle Beach
Sermons are posted each week on the St. Stephen's Facebook page shortly after the 10:30 am service.
Government & Public Health Information Pages
South Carolina DHEC
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is charged with promoting and protecting the health of the public and the environment in South Carolina. This page has a number of resources for South Carolinians in dealing with the rapidly emerging outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Collaborating to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health – through health promotion, prevention of disease, injury and disability, and preparedness for new health threats.
Also on the CDC site, find Resources for Community- and Faith-Based Leaders.
World Health Organization (WHO)
On this website, you can find information and guidance from WHO regarding the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that was first reported from Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019. Please visit this page for daily updates.
Fifteen Days to Slow the Spread: Guidelines from the White House
On March 16, the President and the White House Coronavirus Task Force issued new guidelines to help protect Americans during the global Coronavirus outbreak.
Book of Common Prayer Online
The Book of Common Prayer is a treasure chest full of devotional and teaching resources for individuals and congregations, but it is also the primary symbol of our unity. As Armentrout and Slocum note in their Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, that “Anglican liturgical piety has been rooted in the Prayer Book tradition since the publication of the first English Prayer Book in 1549.”
Daily Prayer (visual)
This site offers the daily selections from Forward Day by Day, a liturgical calendar, and more resources to strengthen your faith and heart.
A Morning at the Office
An Episcopal Morning Prayer Podcast (audio)