DIOCESE OF ALABAMA TO RESUME
IN-PERSON WORSHIP ON 6 SEPTEMBER
The Rt. Rev. "Kee" Sloan, bishop of Alabama, announced today that churches of the diocese may resume in-person worship on September 6, 2020. Find the bishop's letter here .
Churches of the Diocese of Alabama (the upper two-thirds of the state) have been closed to inside services since March 13. This is the longest Episcopal churches have been closed in the state in the history of the diocese. Episcopal churches in the state were closed, briefly, once before, and that was by federal authority right after the Civil War.
Bp. Sloan is following the guidance of Dr. Fauci and of the CDC in setting standards for re-opening: no congregational singing, no coffee hour, seating every other row and six feet apart except for family groups, and communion by bread.
Most churches in the diocese have been conducting services on-line for several months now. They may choose to continue this. Today's directive gives an option. Local churches are free to have in-house and/or online worship services.
It will be interesting to see how the local churches in Alabama handle this restrictive re-opening. A cursory observation of churches in South Carolina shows that most continued on-line only services. Relatively few resumed in-person services. Of the few I observed that did resume inside services, the congregations appeared sparse. It seemed as if most people were reluctant to return to congregational worship.