Last updated: March 9, 2022
The COVID-19 coronavirus was classified as a pandemic on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. While public worship services and gatherings were suspended in the Diocese of South Carolina from March 16, 2020 until June, some churches were able to return to in-person worship at varying points throughout the year. As we have continued to navigate through this pandemic for the past two years, churches have been quick to adapt to the changing needs of their congregation and the varying levels of concern in their local community.
Communication from Leadership
When the pandemic began in March 2020, the Diocese of South Carolina was beginning the search for its next diocesan bishop. Initial leadership messages came from the leadership and ecclesiastical authority of the Standing Committee, led by its president, the Reverend Canon Caleb Lee, and then the Rev. Rob Donehue when he became president in July 2021.
In May 2021, the Rt. Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley was elected to be the IV Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina. Until her consecration in October 2021, leadership messages continued to come from the Standing Committee, in consultation with the bishop-elect. Following the consecration, Bishop Woodliff-Stanley shared direct messages with the diocese concerning COVID-19. Find them immediately below, with the most recent messages listed first:
Guidance for Churches
In May 2020, as churches throughout our diocese returned to a more regular schedule of in-person services, this document of Best Practices for Planning a Return to In-Person Worship (click to view and download the file) was shared to assist Rectors and Priests-in Charge in planning to return to worship.
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:
Resources from The Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Church has shared many resources to help congregations navigate the pandemic. A more recent offering that is helpful in this current stage of pandemic is the Episcopal Church Toolkit for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution. Learn more at this link.
One of the issues faced throughout the pandemic has been the need to navigate through misinformation and disinformation. The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations made available resources that may be helpful in this area. Find the entire posting at this link ("Misinformation, Disinformation, Fake News: Why Do We Care?), and navigate directly to the information most pertinent to the COVID-19 pandemic at this link.
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.
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)
During the uncertain times created by the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, leadership of the diocese shared regular meditations on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays during the season of Easter as we all adjusted to a new chapter of living and being the Church. Find all meditations at this webpage.
The Archdeacon, The Venerable Calhoun Walpole, shared a meditation each Wednesday; The Rt. Rev. Henry N. Parsley, Jr., Visiting Bishop for our Diocese, offered a meditation each Saturday; and the Rev. Cn. Caleb Lee, President of the Standing Committee, shared a reflection each Monday.