The ELCA has made available several documents about how to be church in this time of pandemic. These include a document about reopening, a guide to worship, a compilation of useful prayers, a guide about funerals, and a long document about worship, fellowship, and the sacraments during this pandemic and the various phases of reopening—this last in conjunction with ecumenical partners.
“Considerations for Returning to In-person Worship: Being Church Together During the COVID-19 Pandemic” lists the three phases of reopening, details how to know what phase one’s state is in, and gives guidance on how to conduct worship and other church business during each of the phases. This guide is also available in Spanish.
“Worship in Times of Public Health Concerns: COVID-19/Coronavirus” provides guidance on continuing worship through livestreaming, discusses ways people within congregation can stay connected virtually, and advises celebrating the real presence of God through the Word and not through communion during this time. This guide is also available in Spanish.
“Prayers for Times of Public Health Concerns: COVID-19/Coronavirus” is a collection of prayers that fit the present moment, including a couple of new prayers about the pandemic and some prayers from Evangelical Lutheran Worship about illness, caretaking, and crisis. This guide is also available in Spanish.
“Guidance for Funeral Practices: Ministering to the Bereaved During a Public Health Crisis” gives guidance on funerals and memorial services during this time. This guide is also available in Spanish.
In addition to the shorter documents listed above, the ECLA also has shared a document created by an ecumenical group of Christian leaders that is 36 pages long. “Resuming Care-filled Worship and Sacramental Life During a Pandemic: The Ecumenical Consultation on Protocols for Worship, Fellowship, and Sacraments” is more detailed, giving guidance on worship, sacraments, and rites during the different phases of reopening, as well as how to communicate pastorally about decisions being made. This document is not available in translation.
As we think about how to care for each other and worship God during this time of pandemic, we hope you will make use of these resources and adhere to guidance from public health officials. We communicate love of neighbor and care for the most vulnerable by refraining from gathering, by practicing physical distancing, by washing our hands, by wearing masks, and by taking other steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. We pray for an end to this pandemic and the wisdom and patience to act appropriately in the meantime.