During the spring and summer of 2020, as the pandemic forced the cancellation of in-person worship across the Episcopal Church, the House of Deputies State of the Church Committee raced to create a new parochial report form, designed just to track the “opportunities, innovations and challenges” that congregations experienced while dealing with the pandemic,” according to Episcopal News Service.
The new report form, available on the General Convention Office website, was approved by Executive Council at its October meeting. It asks congregations to report traditional average Sunday attendance numbers only for in-person worship from January 1 to March 1. A new set of questions, titled “Worship During the Pandemic,” tracks online worship by platform and metrics. The report form, which is due by March 1, also asks questions that invite congregational leaders to discuss how they are planning for the future and working toward racial justice and reconciliation.
Bishop Sean, who serves on the State of the Church Committee, says, “This special edition of the parochial report will allow all of our congregations to share data about how the pandemic has affected our worship, formation, community ministry and other programs. Understanding more about COVID-19’s impact will help us understand how to respond to God’s call in the emerging future.”