Special 2020 Parochial Report Seeks to Track Worship During the Pandemic

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.

Louisa McKellaston, assistant for ministries on the bishop’s staff and a three-time deputy to General Convention, is the vice chair of the State of the Church Committee. “My colleagues have designed this special edition of the parochial report so that all congregations may be able to share with the wider church how the pandemic has impacted their worship and programs. By recording this data, not only will we have accurate information reported by the congregations themselves, we will be able to see the various ways that 2020 affected the wider Episcopal Church,” she said. “It is essential that congregations fill out the parochial report so that, as a diocese and church, we can know how to be resources for each other, especially during this continuing COVID-19 pandemic. ”

For assistance with the 2020 Parochial Report until January 31, please email McKellaston. After February 1, email Rebecca Elfring-Roberts, assistant treasurer, who will return from parental leave that day.