Contact Us

Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia
11832 Rock Landing Dr., Suite 100
Newport News, VA 23606-4231
757-423-8287 Main
800-582-8292 Toll Free
757-595-0783 Fax

Click here to contact us.

Click here for staff.

The diocesan offices are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Click here for directions to the diocesan office.

Guidelines & resources in reponse to COVID-19

Guidance and Updates

Announcement About Communion in Both Kinds - March 10, 2022. From the Bishop and the Health Advisory Panel.

Important Update from our Health Advisory Panel - February 8, 2022

Urgent Update from the Health Advisory Panel - January 4, 2022

Important Update from our Health Advisory Panel and Bishop Haynes - December 15, 2021

Health Advisory Panel Guidance for the Holiday Season - November 22, 2021

Guidance Regarding the Delta Variant Surge - September 3, 2021. From the Bishop and the Health Advisory Panel.

Monitoring COVID Transmission in Your Local Community - August 18, 2021. From the Bishop and the Health Advisory Panel.

Delta Variant Guidelines - August 3, 2021. From the Bishop and the Health Advisory Panel.

Come, Holy Ghost, Our Souls Inspire - May 18, 2021. A Word from the Bishop on the Loosening of Covid Restrictions.

Congregational Singing & Coffee Hour - May 4, 2021. Pandemic updates from the Bishop and Health Advisory Panel.

Guidelines for Choir Rehearsals - April 27, 2021. From the Bishop and Health Advisory Panel, permitting choirs to rehearse indoors under certain conditions.

Guidelines for Resumption of Children & Youth Formation - April 22, 2021. The Diocese of Southern Virginia is pleased to release these guidelines for the safe resumption of Christian formation for children and youth ages 3 and above.

Sing a New Song to the Lord - March 24, 2021. A Word from the Bishop about Singing (and also about Books of Common Prayer and Children’s Formation)

Indoor Worship to Resume - March 9, 2021. With great joy, we are heartened to see that percent positivity rates for the Commonwealth of Virginia have remained at or below 8 percent for 14 days or more. In consultation with the Health Advisory Panel, the Bishop is pleased to lift the restriction on indoor in-person worship and other gatherings. The following protocols remain in effect: Safe Worship & Re-gathering Protocols.

Regathering Guidelines for Diocese of Southern Virginia - Bishop Haynes' guidelines for possible regathering of churches for public worship. Once you have read, studied, and discussed these guidelines with your vestries and parish, please submit in letter form a document outlining your plan to adhere to these guidelines. Once Bishop Haynes receives and approves your proposal, you may re-open your buildings for public worship.

COVID Liability & Defense - (December 3, 2020) information regarding potential liability and insurance coverage should someone claim to have contracted COVID-19 at a church service or event and file suit against a church and/or the parishioners who are tasked with supervising the church’s COVID-19 safety protocols.

Navigating the Pandemic: A Prayer for Wisdom - (November 17, 2020) COVID guidelines update

Updated Guidelines for Distribution of Communion during COVID-19 - At a recent virtual meeting the House of Bishops discussed finding a way to administer the Sacrament safely to those who cannot come to church. Bishops were encouraged to help churches find creative and theologically sound ways to distribute the Eucharist even during pandemic restrictions. Over the last month, Bishop Susan has been meeting with and talking to clergy about their own creative ideas about how to do this. From these discussions, we have created some guidelines which are approved for the distribution of Holy Communion to everyone and especially to those who are not able to come to church. 

Limited Choral Singing - The Medical/Legal subgroup of Bishop Haynes’s Advisory Panel for Re-Gathering for Worship offers information on a breakthrough that will enable some limited choral singing.

Covenant for Regathering - a covenant of community and social interactions for churches that is framed in the Baptismal Covenant. Courtesy of Trinity Parish, Wilmington, Delaware - Diocese of Delaware

Virtual Congregational Meeting Guidelines - In response to several inquiries from churches about congregational meetings during the period when COVID-19 pandemic church assembly and social distancing restrictions are in effect from the Bishop, protocols have been developed and approved by the Executive Board.

Clarification About Singing During Worship - a message from Bishop Haynes (August 11, 2020)

COVIDWISE Exposure Notifications app - an app from Virginia Department of Health. Download Virginia’s free COVIDWISE Exposure Notifications app to help protect your community while protecting your privacy.

Reopen.church - an online platform that helps churches reopen safely in the age of the coronavirus by providing a simple (and free) registration form that distributes people across multiple services and rooms.

What's going wrong in your church building while you're gone? - this article has very helpful information about caring for your facility while it's use is limited.

How can we keep from singing - an excellent article from one of our Methodist friends about the spiritual discipline of not singing. Something to think about!

Pastoral Update on Re-gathering - a letter from Bishop Haynes included in the July 21, 2020 Diocesan eNews.

Regathering resources for clergy that were discussed in Bishop Susan's Open Office Hours with clergy on June 3, 2020:

  • Three Prayers for use when offering Spiritual Communion. This service may be done in combination with any Eucharistic Prayer.  After the Fraction Anthem, one of these prayers may be used.
  • A chart which was designed by a parishioner by Molly Terry from John's Memorial in Farmville, VA which outlines all of the guidelines for regathering according to whether they are mandated by the Virginia Department of Health, Governor Northam or the Diocese of Southern Virginia.  It may be helpful in helping parishes to formulate their own guidelines.

Messages from Bishop Haynes

ATTENTION: Churches in Convocations 1-5 - re-gathering update in light of huge surge of COVID cases in Hampton Roads.

Click here for Bishop Haynes' message: As the world and the Church re-gathers, May 5, 2020

Click here for Bishop Haynes' Easter Day sermon, 2020

Click here for Bishop Haynes' Holy Week message, 2020

Summary of CARES Act, March 31, 2020

Click here for the March 31, 2020 message from Bishop Haynes

Click here for March 31, 2020 Joint statement from bishops of Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC (in English & Spanish)

Video: Being the Church during the coronavirus, March 24, 2020

Click here for the March 21, 2020 message from Bishop Haynes: Holy Week, Triduum and Easter during coronavirus

Click here for the March 12, 2020 update from Bishop Haynes: suspension of church activities

Click here for the March 10, 2020 update from Bishop Haynes: more news on the coronavirus.

Click here for the March 3, 2020 message from Bishop Haynes: Guidelines for Congregations to Prevent Spread of Illness

Lectionary Reflections by Bishop Haynes can be found here.

Ring Your Church Bells

The Diocese of Southern Virginia invites all congregations to join the Thankful Thursday bell ringing and social media efforts to let our health care workers and first responders know that their care and commitment to others is appreciated beyond what words can express. Click here for details.

Dealing with grief and loss during COVID-19

COVID-19 Spiritual Survival Kit - a free course on ChurchNext that offers approaches to maintaining spiritual, emotional, and physical health during the Covid-19 crisis.

Resources for Addressing Anxiety - a curated list of resources from Virginia Theological Seminary's Center for Lifelong Learning.

I don't want to do this anymore - a blog post by The Rev. Don Remick on the burnout and grief we are all feeling now.

Video addressing loss, grief and disillusionment - At the request of Bishop Haynes, Dr. Beverley Buston, a psychologist, has created a video resource addressing the loss, grief and disillusionment that clergy and lay people alike may be experiencing as our time at home and away from the Church and Sacraments lengthens. The video and a transcript of it are available here.

Psychological First Aid - a webinar from Church Pension Group that offers resources and strategies to support you, your family, and your community. The webinar and resources it presents are available here.

Finding Brave Space is a series of new videos with Dr. Catherine Meeks from the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing. There is also a new episode on the A Brave Space podcast on  Lament in the Midst of COVID-19. In the coming weeks Dr. Meeks will facilitate three webinars on lament.   
Grief and Graduation and Ideas & Resources For Lament & Thanksgiving *Especially Appropriate For Those Working With Youth are posts by Sharon Ely Pearson. They can be helpful in processing loss and grief with youth and young adults, including ideas for celebrating important moments the best way we can right now.   
Processing Grief And Death With Picture Books by Anna V. Ostenso Moore lists great books for helping children process grief. Sesame Street's Caring for Each Other Hub also has great resources for how to have conversation with children about COVID-19, anxiousness, and more. 

Resources for worship and formation at home

Click here for numerous resources for formation leaders and families for worship and Christian formation at home.

Talking about coronavirus with children and youth

KidsHealth: Coronavirus - How to talk to your child

Harvard Medical School - How to talk to children about coronavirus

Child Mind Institute - Talking to kids about the coronavirus

CDC - Talking with children about coronavirus

The New York Times - 5 Ways to help teens manage anxiety about coronavirus

Building Faith - Coronavirus, anxiety, children and the Church

Outreach opportunities

Support Virgina's Latino communities, hard hit by pandemic
Virginia's Eastern Shore and the Latino community are among the hardest hit during this pandemic. Latino Missioner Mario Melendez offers the following suggestion for how you can support this community through this crisis. Gift cards (from $10 to $20) for Food Lion and Walmart, and for gas stations (like WaWa, Royal Farms, and Sunoco) are welcome, allowing families to buy food, gas, toiletries, and any other items they need. Cards can be sent directly to the Rev. Mario Melendez at Church of the Holy Apostles, 1593 Lynnhaven Parkway, Virginia Beach, VA 23453. Questions? Contact Mario at mmelendez@diosova.org or 757-427-0963.

Get info about how you can help those in our communities who are especially vulnerable, like the elderlyand those who may be temporarily out of work feed their families.




Communication resources

St. David's in Chesterfield shares their live stream set up, along with copious notes. A very helpful guide from one of our parishes!

Congregations meet in virtual space, March 17, 2020 eNews extra

Digital Church Policies, a very helpful Building Faith article with sample policies

Resources for Communities Online a wealth of resources from Virginia Theological Seminary

Taking your worship online: A guide for beginners and everyone else

Quick start guide to live streaming - Facebook and YouTube are excellent platforms for easily live-streaming worship. (You do NOT have to have Facebook account to watch.)

Zoom - A web-conferencing platform that offers free and very affordable services that are great for bible studies, Lenten programs, and other gatherings - even worship.

Tips to help avoid "Zoom bombers"

Facebook groups - For folks on Facebook, the Groups feature is a good way to stay connected, but in a more private way than on a regular Facebook page. These are a great way for bible studies, book groups, prayer groups, etc to gather in virtual space.

Free Conference Call Enables you to hold conference calls for free

Center for Lifelong Learning at VTS offers numerous video tutorials on the use of digital media like Zoom, Facebook, etc.

Beyond Livestream Worship: What we learned from our experiment with online worship a series of blog posts by Episcopal Church Foundation

Invite Welcome Connect in Virtual Church Episcopal Church Foundation blog post

FaithStreet - FaithStreet is equipping new and existing customers with (1) ways to not only maintain but increase generosity right now and (2) a digital platform for congregations to pray, reflect, learn and stay connected. During this crisis they are offering: Get small congregations (under 75 attenders) on online giving at no cost to them; Get any congregation set up on low-cost, zero fees online giving or their new congregation app.

Online giving platforms

American Church (same folks that make offering envelopes)







Churches that use ACS accounting software can set up an online giving platform through ACS. Other church accounting software systems likely offer the same type on on-line giving platforms.

Other Resources

Click here for Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's Theology of Worship During Coronavirus, April 1, 2020

Statement from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry  (video and text) with guidelines and resources from The Episcopal Church

Resources for Imagining the Post-Digital Church

Summary of the CARES Act

The CARES Act possibilities for parishes

Payroll Protection Program, how churches can apply

Payroll Protection Program loan forgiveness application and information

Resource list and PowerPoint from the Faith Leaders virtual meeting with Governor Northam & Virginia Dept of Health on March 23, 2020

Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) has shifted all Continuing Educational offerings to online platforms. Visit their Eventbrite page for a variety of online courses, retreats, and programs for both clergy and lay leaders. Visit http://bit.ly/VTSWebinars for monthly webinar offerings.

COVID-19 Resources for Churches
Episcopal Church Foundation, updated regularly

Church Fundraising in a New Normal
Webinar recording from The Episcopal Network for Stewardship and the Consortium for Endowed Episcopal Parishes

Don't Feed the Beast: Trusting the Gospel in Trying Times
Webinar recording from The Episcopal Network for Stewardship and the Consortium for Endowed Episcopal Parishes

10 Guidelines for Pastoral Care During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Article from Christian Century

Recommendations for Food Pantries & Food Ministries
Very helpful guidelines, from Diocese of Virginia

Faith-Based Response to Epidemics
Episcopal Relief & Development

Get Your Community- and Faith-Based Organizations Ready for Pandemic Flu
from the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Last Published: March 15, 2022 4:12 PM