Worship in Times of Pandemic

Public Health Resources

Holy Communion in a time of pandemic

Bishop Constanze Hagmaier

Many of you have asked about the sacrament of Holy Communion in a time of pandemic. Communion traditions have and still greatly vary throughout SD. Some of us celebrate Holy Communion once a month, others come to the Lord’s Table every Sunday. While communion practices vary from one location to the next, we share common understandings. We believe that Christ is really present in, with and under bread and wine, when we gather around the sacrament of the altar. Following Martin Luther’s directive, we also believe that in times of emergency and pandemic, we can celebrate the sacraments (baptism and communion) in the privacy of our homes with those around us. Detailed instructions can be found below. Christ’s promise of forgiveness of sins and new life will nourish us just like it does when we physically gather as the body of Christ. In Matthew 18:20, Jesus assures us that where two or three are gathered, he will be among us. If you have questions concerning the sacraments in time of emergency and pandemic, please know that I am only a phone call or email away. God’s grace and peace are with you!

Rubric for Holy Communion in Times of Pandemic

Digital Worship and Sacramental Life in a Time of Pandemic – Written by Prof. Dr. Dirk Lange (Luther Seminary/LWF)

Digital Worship

Getting Started Guide
How to Take Your Church Virtual (Fast): The Ultimate Guide to Church Live-Streaming During Crisis

How to Track Attendance

This period of “social distancing” has demanded that congregations come up with creative online solutions for gathering the community in worship, whether through livestreaming, posting of recorded services, or both. This has led to many questions about how to track and report attendance when it comes time to fill out Form A next year. Click the link below for recommended guidelines from the Office of the Secretary.

Tracking Attendance Online for Form A Reporting

Digital Worship Resources

Zoom Video Conferencing

Zoom is a popular video conference platform that allows for virtual meetings online. Members can join in by phone, desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. To initiate a meeting, all you need is computer or mobile device with an Internet connection. Receive a 50% discount for a Zoom plan purchased through TechSoup.How to Create a Meeting – Step by Step Guide

Mevo Livestreaming Camera (Cameras are on Backorder due to high demand)

Livestream like a Pro: with 4K video and sophisticated editing capabilities, Mevo Plus takes your livestreaming to the next level. Learn more here.

Switcher Studio (Great option using existing equipment)

Switcher Studio makes it easy to stream your service from multiple angles using just iPhones and iPads. Edit the stream in real time — add text, switch angles, or roll in videos like openers or sermon teasers. You can even include scripture or lyric slides in a picture-in-picture layout. Plus, our platform integrations let you connect instantly to Facebook, YouTube, your own site, or elsewhere. Learn more here.

Online Giving – ELCA Preferred Vendors

  • Tithe.ly (online giving, mobile app, text-to-give, websites, and database) – Synod uses this platform for online giving.
  • Vanco (online, mobile, and text)

Moving Faith Formation Online

Many churches have cancelled gathered faith formation programs (and even Sunday worship) to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus in their communities. But that doesn’t mean faith formation needs to stop. One way we can respond is to move faith formation online and into people’s homes and personal lives. Learn more from Vibrant Faith.

Faith at Home
Dwelling in the Word – Bookmark
Dwelling in the Word – Handout
Pandemic Hope Family Devotional
Faith + Lead from Luther Seminary
Luther House of Study

Self Care

As leaders in Christ’s church, remember to care for your well-being in times of crisis. See resources available to you.