Presbytery Guidance on Worship/Church Opening

Interim General Presbyter Fred Holbrook encourages all church leadership to follow Virginia’s Phase Three Executive Order 72 (PDF) (updated 3/23/21), which includes specific practices for worship and social activities at churches.

The most recent update increases limits on social gatherings, including those at churches. Effective April 1, the maximum number of people permitted in a social gathering is 50 for indoor settings and 100 for outdoor settings. This limit does not apply to worship services, only social activities (wedding receptions, for example) that a church may hold.

Recommendations and best practices for cleaning, signage, masks, and distancing for worship services have not changed. Churches and individuals attending worship services should continue to follow the guidance for religious services.

The session of each church makes decisions together with their pastor and other staff. Thank you for practicing the requirements specified. If you are unable to gather safely, please worship virtually until safety requirements can be followed.

Safer at Home: Virginia's Phase Three Guidelines for Religious Services

A section of Virginia's Phase 3 guidelines for reducing the spread of COVID-19 outlines specific requirements and best practices to keep church attendees, worship leaders, and staff safe. Review the guidance for religious services on pages 41-44. (The link will open a PDF at the appropriate location.) You also may wish to review the general information beginning at page 1.

Faith community leaders can receive a signage tool-kit and register to receive updated information from the Governor’s Office of Diversity and Partners in Prayer and Prevention from the Virginia Department of Health by contacting

Presbyterian Foundation Offers Resources Specific to COVID-19 Crisis

The Presbyterian Foundation has a collection of resources and information with faith communities in mind during the COVID-19 crisis.


  • Worship materials
  • Ministry ideas during a pandemic
  • Licensing guidance for streaming worship services
  • Online giving services
  • Stewardship suggestions



Worship resources


CDC’s main COVID-19 web page

Virginia Governor’s
COVID-19 web page

Virginia Department of Health
COVID-19 web page

For COVID-19 vaccine information specific to your local area, visit the website of your local health district