Responding to COVID-19
Drink This, All of You
A word from the Bishop’s Commission on Liturgy and Music
March 11, 2022
As Episcopalians adapt to a world that includes COVID for the foreseeable future, gathering at the table to receive bread and wine made holy remains a source of strength and inspiration, as it has from the earliest days of the Church.
We gather at the Holy Table at which Christ is host. Though the prayer book directions note: “Opportunity is always to be given to every communicant to receive the consecrated Bread and Wine separately,” and that “the Sacrament may be received in both kinds simultaneously,” receiving Communion in one kind only – as we have done recently during the pandemic – has precedent at other times in our history, whether out of convenience or necessity.
While receiving in one kind only (the consecrated Bread) continues to be an option in the Diocese of Los Angeles, effective on Palm Sunday (April 10, 2022), Bishop Taylor, acting on our recommendation, has approved the option of returning to the prayer book-preferred option of receiving both the consecrated Bread and Wine – which can be done in any of the following ways, in no particular order of preference, as our missions and parishes may deem best:
Option One: After the Breaking of the Bread, using the flagon of consecrated wine to fill small, individual chalices (cups) and distributing them to the people in the manner customary for the parish (by lay persons, deacons, or priests).
Option Two: After the Breaking of the Bread, using the flagon of consecrated wine to fill small, household (individual or family) chalices (cups), brought forward by individuals or family groups (filled by lay persons, deacons, or priests as is customary for the distribution for the parish).
Option Three: Having the communion minister intinct the wafer and place it in the communicant’s hand.
Option Four: Receiving directly from a common chalice with a non-porous surface (silver or similar metal), assuming a wine with a high alcohol content (such as typical communion port wines) and carefully wiping and turning the chalice between communicants.
NOTE: For public health reasons, the bishop does not approve (BCP, p. 408) receiving the consecrated Bread and Wine simultaneously by the formerly common method of intinction that involved communicants receiving bread in their hands and dipping it in a common chalice with their fingers.
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Michelle Baker-Wright
The Rev. Randall Day
The Rev. Canon Susan Russell
The Rev. Kay Sylvester
for the Bishop’s Commission on Liturgy and Music
Leer en inglés y español aquí
Read in English and Spanish here
Update as of February 28, 2022:
A word on masks and continuing safety
Now that public health officers in each of the six counties within the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles have lifted mask mandates for fully vaccinated persons in indoor public spaces, diocesan congregations may adjust protocols accordingly while still requiring that unvaccinated persons continue to wear masks indoors.
Concurrently, congregations are strongly encouraged to keep in place safety protocols that assure maximum protection for all, especially safeguarding parishioners and clergy age 65 and older. These steps may include continuing to require, on church sites, proof of vaccination, to encourage mask-wearing widely among all who wish to do so, and to maintain careful cleaning and sanitizing procedures.
Current diocesan policy is updated regularly with guidance from Bishop Diocesan John Harvey Taylor together with the Rev. Canon Melissa McCarthy, diocesan canon to the ordinary, and the bishop’s council of advice comprising deans active in ministry across the diocese.
Please note the following links to public health information in the counties across the diocese, and to California state safety measures here.
Update as of December 29, 2021, from Bishop John Harvey Taylor:
On Omicron: A Word for Mission and Parish Leaders
Among the gifts for which I give thanks this Christmastide is the careful discernment of COVID task forces at our missions and parishes around the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. Everyone’s studying the pandemic and omicron news carefully, including members of my council of advice (our deans and other thoughtful advisors) and I. We’ll meet next Tuesday morning, though if circumstances warrant, we will have news for you before then.
For now, our policy remains what it has been more or less since we began to return to physical presence, namely conforming to the letter and spirit of state, county, and city restrictions for institutions which resemble churches in the way they bring people together, such as theaters, museums, and lecture halls.
Diocese-wide, the state indoor mask mandate is of course in effect, and in the City of Los Angeles, a proof of vaccine requirement for most public places (though not places of worship, no doubt because of court rulings that put first amendment ahead of public health considerations).
Each mission and parish can be stricter if it wishes. Those who believe it’s best to return to virtual-only worship for the time being have my full support. Before taking that step, churches might consider adopting a proof of vaccine and booster requirement. Together with scrupulous use of surgical or N95 masks, it would keep our unvaccinated under-five cohorts safe without depriving our members of fellowship during what can be an isolating time of year. Based on what we know so far, virtually all infections of the vaccinated are asymptomatic or result in relatively mild upper respiratory symptoms — though those of us who are older and have preexisting conditions should continue to take special care.
The Rev. Canon Melissa McCarthy and I are in touch with many of you and continue to be at your service, along with our ten deans around our six counties. Let us know what you’re thinking and experiencing.
We give thanks for all the amazing Episcopalians who have made every day since March 2020 an Easter Day by helping keep tombs empty. By the light that pours from the manger, let us continue to do what’s best for our families and neighbors — those we know, and those we don’t — guided always, and especially these days of remembrance of John the Evangelist, by the Spirit of truth in love.
Update as of December 12, 2021:
Statewide Mask Mandate Extended through Jan. 15
California’s statewide mask mandate for all indoor gatherings, including in all diocesan congregations and institutions is in effect until at least Jan. 15.
While all state, county, and diocesan guidelines apply, mission and parish COVID teams may decide on stricter protocols, including proof of vaccines, if they wish.
Update as of September 2021:
Congregations of the Diocese of Los Angeles are advised of two priorities for in-person worship
Congregations are asked to observe mask mandates specified by county authorities (such mandates are still in place in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties), and it is strongly recommended that masks still be worn during all in-person services across the Diocese of Los Angeles.
Communion is still administered in “one kind,” via consecrated bread or wafers; distribution of wine and use of the common cup has not yet resumed across The Episcopal Church per denomination-wide guidelines set forth by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.
Thank you for your cooperation in keeping people safe at all Episcopal Church sites.
Health and Strength in Community
In this series of pastoral letters, Bishop Diocesan John Harvey Taylor provides updated information to clergy and congregations of the Diocese of Los Angeles concerning COVID-19 protocols and procedures.
July 16, 2021
June 14, 2021
May 14, 2021
January 21, 2021 (regarding the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday)
December 4, 2020
November 17, 2020
September 17, 2020
Health and Strength in Community IX
July 15, 2020
Health and Strength in Community VIII
May 21, 2020
Health and Strength in Community VII
May 4, 2020
Health and Strength in Community V
March 20, 2020
A letter to clergy of the Diocese of Los Angeles in the time of COVID-19
A Word on Communion to Go
Health and Strength In Community IV
March 17, 2020
Health and Strength In Community III
March 13, 2020
Health and Strength In Community II
March 12, 2020
Health and Strength in Community: A message from the Diocese of Los Angeles
March 10, 2020
An Introduction to Live Streaming
This website, maintained by the California state government, includes data and tools concerning the coronavirus pandemic. It keeps count of total COVID-19 cases in the state and the rate of increase; deaths from COVID; the number of people who have been tested; and links to services and information.