Thursday, May 28, 2020

Churches preparing return to services

From Rhode Island-

At St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, the Rev. Christa Moore-Levesque will continue to conduct her live-streamed Sunday sermons via Zoom. The virtual meetings have allowed the congregation to remain connected, albeit remotely.

“They really like seeing each other’s faces,” she said. “I try to say hello to everyone when they come in, and people really like that. It makes them feel like we’re still a community. Everyone knows who’s there worshipping together.”

The online sermons have been about as long as they would have been if the church was open, but Moore-Levesque said her sermons are “not very long” in the first place, typically lasting about 10 minutes in length. The subjects of her virtual sermons have touched upon the coronavirus pandemic, how to cope with feelings of isolation and how neighbors can help one another.

“The content has definitely been different,” she said.

Additionally, Moore-Levesque has offered a weekly children’s message on her YouTube channel, and she also posted videos during Holy Week in April. She has been sending bulletins and children’s activities to families since the shutdown, and following Easter, she began posting stories for children featuring spiritual stories each Friday afternoon.

The decision to continue the live streams in lieu of reopening St. Matthew’s came following guidance from Bishop W. Nicholas Knisely, the Episcopal leader for Rhode Island. He recommended churches in the diocese continue worshipping online through June. According to Moore-Levesque, there have been religious leaders who were surprised by Rai- mondo’s decision to incorporate churches into her second phase of reopening.

More here-

https://www.jamestownpress.com/articles/churches-preparing-return-to-services/

Episcopal Diocese of Michigan answers call to 'feed the hungry'

From Michigan-

Michigan food banks will get a $200,000 infusion from the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan to help them provide food to those affected by the coronavirus.

The donation stemmed from the driving need and "high demand at local food pantries and soup kitchens," as well as the fact that Michigan is a place where many cases emerged, Episcopalian officials said Wednesday.

"With more than a million unemployed in our state, people from all areas of life: rural communities, suburbs and cities are finding it difficult to feed their families," said the Rt. Rev. Bonnie A. Perry, who was recently consecrated as the 11th bishop.

"Hunger is real and hunger is debilitating," said Perry. "As people of faith, we want to answer Jesus’ call to 'feed the hungry.' In the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, we care about our communities and we act when we see a need. That’s how we live out our faith."

More here-

Dr. Anthony Fauci: To keep churches safe, use masks, limit singing and wait to resume Communion

From American Magazine-

As states around the country begin to ease stay-at-home orders, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said churches should adopt “common sense” measures to protect worshippers and the wider community, like requiring masks, practicing social distancing and prohibiting singing.

Regarding the distribution of Communion, he said, “I think for the time being, you just gotta forestall that.”

In an interview with America on May 26, Dr. Fauci said churches in places experiencing a sustained decline in coronavirus cases can slowly take steps to reopen safely by following public health guidelines, including those released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Fauci serves on the White House’s coronavirus task force.

“You always have to take into account what the dynamic of the outbreak is in your particular region,” Dr. Fauci said. “Having said that, when you’re dealing with a nationwide outbreak like we have right now, you've really got to take precautions.”

More here-

https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2020/05/27/dr-anthony-fauci-catholic-churches-masks-communion-covid-coronavirus?fbclid=IwAR3aqkEN_rTJGwIAtSpaKRbbmz5RUrLj4p2f3k-extg8lQ1naNyvA4Ar1-0

So your church is opening up after COVID-19 closures? It won’t be what you are hoping for.

From Millenial Pastor-

It’s been months of isolation, months of mostly staying home to stop the spread of COVID-19. But active cases are going down (or maybe not), and politicians and business leaders are worried about the economic impact of social distancing. And so, for a few weeks now, things have been opening up. Playgrounds and hair salons, dentists and restaurant patios are letting people come back. 

And things seem to be going well enough, so the government announces the next phase of opening, which includes increased gathering sizes. And one of the places you have been missing the most, your church, sends out an email telling you that they are going to re-open for an in-person service on Sunday. 

You heard from a friend that your Pastor was against it, but enough folks were pressuring the council because of freedom of religion, people are getting tired of staying home and surely church should be a safe place right? Plus you are missing your friends, the folks you love to see on Sunday mornings, the other couples that you often go for brunch with following worship. 

Finally, the big day comes, you wake up excited to get back to this important part of your life, to something that feels little bit like normal, seeing familiar faces, hearing  familiar music, being in familiar community. 

More here-


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Churches altering communion practices in the wake of a pandemic

From Pittsburgh-

With several area Eastern Orthodox churches now holding public services with small congregations, the servers are providing both the bread and wine of communion to parishioners — but without anyone touching their lips to a shared vessel.

With local Roman Catholic churches reopening at the start of June, they’ll be offering the bread but not the wine so as to avoid the traditional use of a common cup.

With local Episcopal churches preparing for eventual reopenings, they also don’t plan to offer a common cup.

These are just some of churches’ liturgical responses, at least for the near future, as Pennsylvania counties increasingly adapt to “yellow” status, opening up with caution amid the easing of pandemic-related shutdowns.

More here-

https://www.post-gazette.com/news/faith-religion/2020/05/25/church-communion-wine-bread-common-cup-spoon-servers-churches-Pittsburgh-COVID/stories/202005220087

Breakaway Anglican group that left Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth wins property fight

From RNS-

The Texas Supreme Court awarded a Fort Worth breakaway group affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America the right to $100 million in church property.

The ownership of the property has been in dispute since the ACNA-affiliate group broke away from the Episcopal Church in 2008.

The ruling on Friday (May 22) is the latest over properties held by breakaway congregations and dioceses that the Episcopal Church has been fighting in court for decades.

The Texas ruling may be the first time that a breakaway diocese has prevailed.

Ever since the Episcopal Church ordained Gene Robinson as an openly gay bishop in 2003, scores of congregations and five dioceses withdrew from the church over doctrinal differences. Many joined ACNA, formed in 2008.

That was the case in Fort Worth, too, where a majority of clergy and lay leaders in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth voted to leave. Both groups continue to call themselves the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

More here-

https://religionnews.com/2020/05/26/breakaway-anglican-group-that-left-episcopal-diocese-of-fort-worth-wins-property-fight/ 

and here-

https://www.christianpost.com/news/texas-supreme-court-rules-against-episcopal-church-100m-in-properties-belong-to-breakaway-diocese.html

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Bill requiring churches to allow guns during worship passes Louisiana House

 From Louisiana-

As Rev. Bill Terry walks in front of the memorial for murder victims outside his church, St. Anna’s Episcopal Church on Esplanade Avenue, he says he knows more guns are not the answer.

“We started this in 2007 and it ended in 2012 because we ran out of room,” said Terry, as he pointed at the wall on Monday night. 

To Terry’s dismay -- a series of gun bills passed the house Friday. One -- House 334 -- would allow those who have a concealed carry permit to carry a concealed handgun into a church. 

“There is too much murder and violence and particularly gun violence that goes on right now without exacerbating that by arming our citizenry and encouraging that,” said Terry. 

Rep. Bryan Fontenot, a republican out of Thibodaux, sponsored the bill and says the leader of the church may still stop someone from carrying and says he wants to be clear on that. 

More here-


Priest arrived to lead Ravenswood church as pandemic hit Chicago; three weeks later, his congregation vanished

From Chicago-

The woman Stephen Applegate replaced at the pulpit earlier this year liked to pop champagne corks at baptisms, write rock-themed Christmas pageants and almost single-handedly saved the church from extinction 27 years ago.

Rev. Applegate, a soft-spoken New York native, made his debut at All Saints Episcopal Church in Ravenswood in mid-February before a congregation still reeling from the loss of that beloved priest, Bonnie Perry, who left after being named bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan.
Three weeks later, Applegate’s voice echoed in a church of empty pews.

Applegate, 68, is an itinerant man of the cloth. But even for someone whose job is to wade into sometimes messy situations — say, when a former priest has been accused of theft or sexual misconduct — there is, as he puts it, no “pandemic handbook.”

More here-

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Richmond-area churches seeing higher-than-normal attendance online

From Virginia-

While church doors have partially opened for the past two weeks in most of Virginia, many faith leaders have enjoyed an uptick in participation in online services and are looking for ways to retain that interest.

Richmond couple April and Rick Greenwood each lead their respective Episcopal churches on Sundays, though their homilies haven’t been delivered from their sanctuaries for some time because of closures due to COVID-19. Rick Greenwood is the rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in downtown Petersburg, and April Greenwood, a 30-minute drive east, is the rector at Westover Episcopal Church, one of the oldest in the country, in rural Charles City County.

More here-

 https://www.richmond.com/news/local/watch-now-richmond-area-churches-seeing-higher-than-normal-attendance-online/article_555e7f0d-8feb-52f0-b35d-ac9d10c253d5.html

A Pastoral Letter from the Episcopal Bishops in California

From California-

From the beginning of the pandemic, our Episcopal congregations and our respective dioceses have been strengthened by prayer, study, and praise. In this time, our churches have never “closed” or ceased in teaching, fellowship, prayer and service to our communities; we have simply continued our gatherings on-line and in homes, bowing to Christ’s authority and the teaching that we are to act out of love for others.

As the weeks go on, the weather is nicer, and our solitude continues, there is pressure to get out, be among people and gather. Churches are a place where we feel that pressure intensely, for we are a people that is embodied and communal, and we often refer to ourselves as “family.”

Over the past few weeks, we have carefully considered how and when we will re-gather in person. We recognize that our plans are not as simple as unlocking a door and walking in. All of our congregations are actively making plans centered spiritually on our love for others, and scientifically on the realities of disease. The reminders from the CDC, and state government tug us into the reality that we still do not know enough about COVID-19 to gather safely in the same ways as before; we need to find new ways to keep our people safe. 
 
More here-
 

Official statement from Bishop Provenzano about the White House directive to open churches for public events

From Long Island-

To all the People of God gathered in the Diocese of Long Island, the Episcopal Church in Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk:

Regardless of the misinformed and politically-motivated direction coming from the White House, the Church will continue to be the Church, caring for the safety of all people and protecting the health and well being of our parishioners. 

The Church will continue to be the Church and our buildings will remain closed until we can begin to safely gather in person.

We will continue to pray, worship, share in formation and education through online platforms, and other electronic communication. 

We will care for God’s people and minister to their needs and not put them at risk. 

More here-

https://www.dioceseli.org/media/diocesan-news/official-statement-from-bishop-provenzano-about-the-white-house?fbclid=IwAR1G8dLI85fcquuRGooKPj40nVLPgFMhPxNIJ-g3WsKLJt0tSwCSpA897TE

also here-

https://huntingtonnow.com/episcopal-bishop-says-churches-will-remain-closed-for-now/

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Oklahoma Episcopalians prepare to welcome new bishop

From Oklahoma-

A 50th birthday is typically considered a milestone worthy of great celebration.

Within about a week of turning 50, the Rev. Poulson C. Reed will have another reason to feel festive.
Reed is set to become the sixth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma in a private ceremony on May 30 at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Oklahoma City.

"Best birthday present ever," he said, joking during a recent interview.

The event had been set for April 18 and was to have been a huge celebration at Oklahoma City University, with between 3,000 and 4,000 people expected to attend.

However, the ceremony has been scaled down dramatically because of the pandemic.
"We're trying to keep everybody safe," Reed said. "I'm also very happy to have the service at St. Paul's."

More here-

https://oklahoman.com/article/5662919/oklahoma-episcopalians-prepare-to-welcome-new-bishop

exas Supreme Court rules against Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth in property dispute

From ENS-

On May 22, the Supreme Court of Texas issued a ruling against the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and in favor of a breakaway group now affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America in a dispute over which group legally controls the diocese’s property.

The ruling reversed a 2018 appeals court decision that established The Episcopal Church’s diocese, led by Bishop Scott Mayer, as the rightful controller of the Diocese of Fort Worth. In 2008, a majority of clergy and lay leaders in the Diocese of Fort Worth voted to leave The Episcopal Church and join the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone over doctrinal differences on topics like same-sex marriage and the ordination of women. Now there are two entities calling themselves the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth: the original diocese associated with The Episcopal Church and the breakaway group that is now part of the Anglican Church in North America.
 
The Supreme Court decision puts the ACNA-affiliated group in control of the diocese’s $100 million worth of property.

More here-

https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2020/05/22/texas-supreme-court-rules-against-episcopal-diocese-of-fort-worth-in-property-dispute/

Friday, May 22, 2020

St. Luke's Episcopal Church in the Bronx Has Lost 21 Members to Coronavirus

From The Bronx-

There is no shortage of volunteers at St. Luke's Church in the Bronx. It's the largest parish in the city’s Episcopal diocese. The need in this community is great. Since the pandemic began, the food pantry line stretches three blocks. The soup kitchen has more visitors than ever. 

Father Pierre Andre Duvert said his congregation is eager to help, especially because it knows the pain this health crisis is causing. Twenty-one of its members have died from the coronavirus.
“When it hits home, that’s when we understand,” said Duvert.


The parishioners who fell victim were young and old. They came from all over the world. Donald Bookal, the church administrator, was among them. For more than 40 years, he organized most of the church's activities and outreach programs.

“I don’t want to say he was the first one, but he was the first that we knew. Then, other folks started getting sick,” said Duvert.

More here-

https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/coronavirus/2020/05/22/st--luke-s-episcopal-church-in-the-bronx-has-lost-21-members-to-coronavirus

Not All Churches in Western NY Ready To Reopen Just Yet

From Western NY-

Leaders with St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown and those from other denominations are preparing, but are in no hurry, to reopen their church doors.

"Our number one priority right now is serving our communities; it is not about getting back into buildings. It's not a tragedy. It's a tragedy that people are dying in a pandemic," said Sean Rowe, bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania.

Rowe is uniquely working with reopening guidelines across two states.

He says he'll plan to follow the science and let public health lead the way as he puts a reopening plan together for his churches that is appropriate and safe.

"We're going to hold ourselves to the highest standards in that regard. What it will look like in each place, and we believe that our local communers will be able to adapt," said Rowe.

More here-

https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/buffalo/news/2020/05/21/some-churches-across-western-new-york-not-ready-to-reopen-their-doors-just-yet-despite-state-guidance-allowing-small-religious-gatherings

Northwest Ohio's Episcopal churches to re-open as early as May 31

From Ohio-

Local Episcopal churches may re-open as early as May 31, Bishop Mark Hollingsworth, Jr., of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio announced on Wednesday. The date opens the second phase of a detailed plan to return to in-person worship, which the diocese suspended in mid-March.

Each parish and individual should consider their own circumstances in deciding when to return to worship, the bishop wrote in a letter to the diocese that covers northwest Ohio. It need not be on May 31. Before a church re-opens, congregations are asked to submit plans on how they will safely do so.
Worship guidelines released by the diocese this week call for worshipers and worship leaders to wear masks; for the suspension of any singing and of any physical contact in passing the peace or offertory; and for only the celebrant to receive the consecrated elements in Holy Communion. 

Worshipers should maintain six feet between households, and facilities should be cleaned thoroughly, among other suggestions and requirements included in the guidelines.

More here-

https://www.toledoblade.com/news/religion/2020/05/21/northwest-ohio-s-episcopal-churches-to-re-open-as-early-as-may-31/stories/20200521138

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Local churches establishing their own time tables for reopening

From Massachusetts-

Not all of Foxboro’s faith leaders view Gov. Charlie Baker’s decision allowing conditional in-person worship at Massachusetts churches beginning this week as heaven sent.

“Personally, I was very disappointed and shocked that the governor would open up churches in the first phase,” said the Rev. Edward Cardoza, rector at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. “I think the governor’s done a very good job, but on this particular piece I think he caved.”

Baker’s so-called Phase 1 plan, announced Monday, permits churches to reopen their doors to worship services provided they comply with safeguards to minimize transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

More here-

https://www.thesunchronicle.com/foxboro_reporter/news/local_news/local-churches-establishing-their-own-time-tables-for-reopening/article_dd738408-2f69-57c6-a237-c7bc265819a1.html

'Things Will Never Be The Same.' How The Pandemic Has Changed Worship

From NPR-

One of the most disturbing changes for Christians has been the suspension of congregational singing and church choirs. Health experts say the coronavirus is easily spread through singing, but music is an essential part of the worship experience for many churchgoers, especially in the Protestant tradition.

"I would never have heard my call to the priesthood if I hadn't found my faith through song," says Rev. Jennifer Reddall, the Episcopal bishop for the diocese of Arizona. She was announcing the guidelines under which Episcopal churches in her diocese would be allowed to reopen. A ban on singing and choral performances was the restriction that Reddall said was most personally upsetting.
"I'm not even sure I would be a Christian today if I wasn't able to pray by singing," Reddall said in a video message to the members of her diocese. "But I don't want to kill someone by my prayer or by my music."

For Episcopal parishioners in Arizona, the only music option now available is to follow the church program at home.

More here-

https://www.npr.org/2020/05/20/858918339/things-will-never-be-the-same-how-the-pandemic-has-changed-worship

New York to allow small religious gatherings, with restrictions

From Central New York-

Rt. Rev. DeDe Duncan-Probe, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York, said churches also have to take into account other things before inviting worshipers into a gathering place.

"The wearing of masks, the cleaning regimen that would have to happen before or after, the airing out of the space, the need to manage things like doorways or bathrooms or places of contact," said Duncan-Probe.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said this announcement doesn't do anything but clarify that religious services are among areas where ten or fewer people can gather. He's supporting a plan from the Central New York Control Room, which monitors the area's reopening, that would allow religious groups to hold services using a fraction of the capacity of a church, temple or mosque.

"With religious gatherings, 25% of the building capacity, everyone at minimum six-feet apart, it makes sense to us," McMahon said.

More here-

 https://www.wrvo.org/post/new-york-allow-small-religious-gatherings-restrictions

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Pandemic will alter Communion rituals for many US Christians

From AP-

The Episcopal bishop of Washington, D.C., Mariann Budde, said she and about 60 of her fellow bishops will meet Wednesday to discuss possible adjustments to Communion and other worship.
“I do think new practices emerge from crises like this,” she said. “They come from communities experimenting, pushing the boundaries. You don’t know how that process will turn out.”

The biggest denomination in the U.S., the Catholic church accounts for the bulk of Holy Communion services nationwide.

Under its governance system, decisions on logistical details of Communion are largely left to individual bishops.

Over the past three weeks, at least two sets of guidelines have been issued to Catholic clergy by high-level bodies. There’s one main difference: the guidelines from the Washington-based Thomistic Institute says communion wafers could continue to be placed on a parishioner’s tongue or be placed in the hand. Guidelines from the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions says there should be a temporary ban on receiving the wafer on the tongue.

More here-

https://www.actionnewsjax.com/news/health/pandemic-will-alter/5DZDU6UP2LY57Y4UEPOT7ALY4U/

Obituary: Rev. Canon Richard Davies, Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh’s longest-tenured priest

From Pittsburgh-

For the Rev. Canon Richard Davies, serving the church and mankind were one and the same.

The longest-tenured priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, Rev. Davies 62 years ago helped to start what is now a regional program for special-needs children and more recently devoted himself to physically and spiritually restoring an 18th-century Colonial church.

Rev. Davies, 93, of Scott, died May 7 of congestive heart failure.

The son of immigrants from Llandudno, in northern Wales, Rev. Davies had a tough upbringing in Wilkinsburg.

His father, who worked as a coal miner for years in Wales, died of lung cancer, followed by his mother, who likely suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease, family members said.

“He was an orphan by the age of 18,” said his daughter Glynis Carlson, of Peters, who said her father cared for his dying parents. “His history of caring and serving others, I think, was established as a teenager for him.”

More here-

https://www.post-gazette.com/news/obituaries/2020/05/19/Canon-Richard-Davies-obituary/stories/202005190150

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Local church reaches out to community during lockdown

From South Africa-

The St Francis of Assisi Anglican Church and Waterkloof Community Action Network (CAN) launched an outreach programme during Covid-19.

CAN is a Covid-19 community response programme, which falls under the Gauteng Together Initiative.

“We are offering services and help in these difficult times to anyone who could use a little,” Diana Higgs from the church said.

CAN was started in Cape Town, at the start of the lockdown, by a group of concerned citizens who wanted to do something for people in communities that would be suffering during this time.

More here-

https://rekordeast.co.za/338897/east-church-reaches-out-to-community-during-lockdown/


Zoom outage snarls Sunday worship services

From ENS-

With churches unable to meet in person for services and other gatherings, the Zoom videoconferencing app has been a lifeline. And just as many congregations had finally gotten the hang of it, it went down in the U.S. for several hours at the worst possible time: Sunday morning.

The outage, which has since been resolved, appeared to hit users on the East Coast particularly hard. Many were unable to host or join livestreams, while some could see the other participants but not hear them.

Although many churches stream their services on Facebook Live or YouTube instead of (or in addition to) Zoom, it is commonly used for virtual coffee hours, Sunday school and Bible studies because of its interactive capabilities. Some Episcopal churches improvised based on the level of functionality they had, holding audio-only coffee hours or call-in services, or catching up in the chat section of Facebook Live instead of Zoom.

More here-

https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2020/05/18/zoom-outage-snarls-sunday-worship-services/

Monday, May 18, 2020

Ahead of Massachusetts reopening announcement, religious leaders left in the dark Updated May 17, 1:33 PM; Posted May 17, 6:00 AM

From  Massachusetts-

At the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Evangelist in Hingham, Rev. Tim Schenck has tried to be proactive by setting up his task force to discuss what a reopening will be like not only for his church but the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.

Schenck told MassLive that the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts has also released guidelines that his church draws from. The Episcopal Diocese bishop said that there will be no in-person worship before July 1.

“We've been trying to just do this faithfully and with our eyes wide open from the start and we're going to continue that,” said Schenck. “I mean even when the state may well say, ‘okay, it's safe for groups of X number of people to go [back to church].’ Well, if we don't think it's safe, we’re going to push that back a little bit further.”

Church leaders are looking for ways to give sermons but also observe the restrictions set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the state.

More here-

https://www.masslive.com/coronavirus/2020/05/ahead-of-massachusetts-reopening-announcement-faith-leaders-left-in-the-dark.html

Detroit pastors keep the faith after getting coronavirus

From Michigan-

His views are echoed by three Episcopal bishops in Michigan who wrote an open letter last week titled: “We believe in Jesus, science and staying home.”

“As the Episcopal Bishops of the State of Michigan and as a people of faith, we follow the commandment Jesus gave us – to ‘love our neighbors as ourselves,’ “ wrote the Rt. Rev. Bonnie Perry, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, the Rt. Rev. Whayne Hougland, Bishop of the Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern & Western Michigan, and the Rt. Rev. Rayford Ray, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan. “Loving our neighbors these days in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic means setting limits: quarantining, refraining from traveling, physical distancing when in public, and closing down places of gathering where transmission is likely. This is how we love our neighbors – by working to slow the spread of this extremely contagious, life-threatening virus.”

The letter noted that they have shut down all the Episcopal churches in Michigan, saying they support Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-home order. They also said “this pandemic has exposed injustices already present in our society: racism, hunger, health care, a living wage, housing insecurity and access to education.”

More here-

https://www.grandhaventribune.com/lifestyles/faith/detroit-pastors-keep-the-faith-after-getting-coronavirus/article_f6721572-b73c-5bab-8229-ce841f4a7333.html

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Reggae the best music for quarantine – Episcopal priest - Father Mark Bozzuti-Jones names Tosh, Marley

From Jamaica-

A Jamaican pastor, the Rev Dr Mark Bozzuti-Jones, is being hailed for his conscious reggae talk from the pulpit as he delivered a sermon to the faithful about the positive effects of the music created in the land of his birth. The priest at Trinity Wall Street parish in New York City, where he is the director of core values and also the director of Latin American and Caribbean relations, served up some listen-to- reggaemusic-and-chill, quarantine advice. 

“I am not sure if you are aware of this, but it is written, and if it is not written, then it should be written, that the best music during the time of quarantine is reggae music. So you should be listening to reggae music at home. I want to invite you to listen to two of my favourite pieces of music,” the Episcopal priest said while addressing his congregation virtually.

One of the pieces was Redemption Song, the final track on Bob Marley and the Wailers’ 1980 Uprising project, the last album released by the reggae icon during his lifetime. The priest soberly quoted some of the lyrics of Redemption Song: “How long shall they kill our prophets while we stand aside and look, some say it’s just a part of it we’ve got to fulfil the books.”

More here-

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/entertainment/20200517/reggae-best-music-quarantine-episcopal-priest-father-mark-bozzuti 

Saturday, May 16, 2020

When Churches Reopen You May Have to Get a Ticket to Attend Services

From England-

In a bid to maintain social distancing measures and avoid contributing to the pandemic ravaging the entire world, Anglican churches are looking into options to keep their congregations safe, including the possibility of ticketed services.

At the moment, churches are looking at July at the earliest before they can reopen, as laid out in the Prime Minister's lockdown exit strategy earlier this week, which groups religious services in with the hospitality industry and other public places. That's step three of the exit plan, with step 2 in June seeing the phased reopening of shops. Apparently pushing churches into the step 3 category hasn't gone down too well with some religious leaders, with the Catholic Bishop having a moan about that, and demanding that churches be open for private prayer as soon as possible:

More here-

https://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2020/05/ticketed-church-services-post-lockdown/

Austin priest runs marathons around his house to keep neighbors safe

From Texas-

When Austin's stay at home order first happened David Peters got restless. 

So the Episcopal priest did what he knows best: run. 

"I ran a marathon around my house 26.2 miles," said Peters.

"I just was feeling a lot of anxiety about running out in the streets with other people and being around. So I just said, I'm going to focus on what I can do." 

It took Peters over 5 hours and 600 laps around his house to finish. 

Since March he has ran two full marathons and other long runs. 

"It's like I kind of have the rhythm, of course my grass is about to not recover from this," said Peters. 

More here-

https://cbsaustin.com/news/local/austin-priest-runs-marathons-around-his-house-to-keep-neighbors-safe

Some Cobb churches resume in-person worship

From Georgia-

Amy Goetze, communications director at St. James Episcopal Church in Marietta, said the church is heeding its bishop’s directive, which is that all churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta must be exclusively online until further notice.
“I think that many of our parishioners are eager to return to church but understand the need to be cautious,” Goetze told the MDJ on Friday. “We have such an active parish, and many miss seeing their friends, and they miss serving and volunteering at St. James. While we have the tools to gather online, technology can never replace in-person worship. People long for physical interaction and connection.”
Goetze said the church is exploring creative ways to safely gather in person for worship when the time comes, such as drive-in services in the parking lot.

More here-

https://www.mdjonline.com/news/some-cobb-churches-resume-in-person-worship/article_802aa78c-96e4-11ea-9dab-e335bee7632a.html

Friday, May 15, 2020

Many churches will stay closed even as restrictions ease

From Virginia-

Even though Virginia will relax restrictions on gatherings at houses of worship, many pews will remain empty this weekend.
Several mainline denominations across the commonwealth are instructing members to hold off on in-person services for the time being, as Virginia begins allowing some business and civic activity to restart during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, which posted a letter on its website Wednesday that acknowledged a “continued fast from in-person worship,” will allow live-streaming of services from inside churches beginning May 24.

More here-

https://www.roanoke.com/news/local/many-churches-will-stay-closed-even-as-restrictions-ease/article_fc5246e6-4f94-5ae7-9941-6581552b69dd.html