Thursday, April 2, 2020

Matthew Broderick’s sister admits preferential coronavirus treatment, feels awful about it, report says

From New Jersey-

The sister of actor Matthew Broderick, who until last spring was a church pastor in Morristown, says being related to a celebrity got her special attention during her near-fatal bout with coronavirus at a California hospital.

“I think I’m absolute living proof that this system is completely corrupt,” the told New York Magazine.
Rev. Janet Broderick, rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills,

The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles announced May 11 that Broderick, 64, had coronavirus and was being treated for a “severe form of pneumonia" at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills, and had tested positive for coronavirus.

In the magazine interview, she was asked if she received “preferential treatment being a religious leader and Matthew Broderick’s sister."

“Yes, but I feel evil for saying that," Broderick replied.

“My GP (general practitioner) didn’t know I was Matthew Broderick’s sister and didn’t care very much. As soon as I got ahold of the guy at the hospital who knew who Matthew was, I was given the name of the head of the emergency room," Broderick told the magazine.

More here-

https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2020/04/matthew-brodericks-sister-admits-preferential-treatment-for-coronavirus-feels-awful-about-it-report-says.html

Two more people who attended Episcopal conference in Louisville have COVID-19

From Louisville-

Two more people who attended an Episcopal conference at the Omni Hotel in late February have tested positive for the coronavirus. 

They join six others who were at the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes conference, which was held Feb. 19-22, then tested positive for the coronavirus. 

In a March 24 letter, CEEP executive director Joe Swimmer wrote, "Based on what health officials have told us, it is impossible to be certain if these individuals had the virus while at the conference or acquired it after leaving. Regardless, all of us should be taking precautions to protect ourselves and those around us." 

More here-




First Openly Gay Bishop To Lead The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri With Hope And Vision

From Missouri-

The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri will soon have a new bishop. The Rev. Deon Johnson officially will become the 11th bishop of the diocese when he is consecrated on June 13. Johnson’s transition into the role is historic: He’s the first openly gay bishop to lead the Diocese of Missouri. 

He and his husband and their two kids moved to St. Louis in February with hopes of getting adjusted to the region. That was put on hold as the coronavirus pandemic grew. St. Louis Public Radio’s Marissanne Lewis-Thompson spoke with Johnson about his new role and how he’s approaching the position in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Marissanne Lewis-Thompson: What kind of guidance has the diocese given as a result of everything that’s going on with the coronavirus?

Deon Johnson: In the midst of all of this, the highest priority are the people in our communities, making sure that they stay safe. So, one of the things that has come out of the bishop's office here in the Diocese of Missouri is that we have closed all public worship until the end of May, at which point we'll re-evaluate. But we really wanted to make sure that those vulnerable populations, our neighbors in Christ, were not going to be impacted directly by actions of either clergy or just going to church or getting together.

More here-

https://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/first-openly-gay-bishop-lead-episcopal-diocese-missouri-hope-and-vision#stream/0

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

One priest who died of the coronavirus could have helped us cope with it

From Washington-

The life of the Rev. Canon William Barnwell, a crusading, liberal, Episcopalian priest who died March 27 of (suspected) coronavirus in New Orleans, could teach lessons we all should apply as we respond to the current contagion.

Barnwell was my friend, just as he was a friend to many other conservatives despite political disagreements. He had a rare ability, as described by journalist Jed Horne in a March 29 obituary: “He could read a room — and immediately begin putting together people he thought might be good at energizing each other in common cause.” 

He could quickly discern which subjects were ones on which you and he would never agree and push them aside forever. He could figure out which things were negotiable disagreements and bank them in his mind for later, cordial discussion. But with just a few probing questions or suggestions, he would find common ground on other topics and immediately home in. How could that agreement be turned into concrete action — and how quickly? And crucially, how could it be organized and leveraged to be most effective? He wanted discernible results, not merely feel-good fulminations or worthless wheel spinning.

More here-

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/one-priest-who-died-of-the-coronavirus-could-have-helped-us-cope-with-it

Episcopal priest, first coronavirus case in nation's capital released from hospital

From Christian Post-

The first confirmed case of coronavirus in Washington, D.C., an Episcopal priest, has been released from the hospital and is continuing his recovery at home.

The Rev. Tim Cole, rector at Christ Church Georgetown, recently garnered headlines when he became the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the District of Columbia.

Chad Thorley, senior warden of Christ Church Georgetown, told media that Cole had been cleared to return home and was discharged on Thursday.

“He spent three whole weeks in the hospital. That was a long ride for him and a long ride for all of us,” Thorley, told news station WTOP. “And the recovery has been slow, but he’s definitely on the upswing now, and he’s resting comfortably at home.”

More here-

https://www.christianpost.com/news/episcopal-priest-rev-tim-cole-first-coronavirus-case-in-nations-capital-released-from-hospital.html 

and here-

https://www.fox5dc.com/video/669223

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

'Zoombombing' comes for houses of worship

From RNS-

On Sunday, Alex Merritt was signed in to the Zoom video conferencing app, discussing a biblical passage with members of his Sunday school young adults group at St. David's Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas.

Then the trolls attacked.

Some began sharing their screens and drawing obscene images over the text the group had been discussing. "You are being hacked! You are being hacked!" one shouted. Another turned on his video and began revealing his genitals.

“It was generally chaotic and impossible to stop,” recalled Merritt. “It was a huge wake-up call for me because I'm an elementary public school teacher, and I don't want the children in my class exposed to any of the pornographic images that trolls sent us.”

The mass transition of houses of worship to Zoom and other online video conferencing platforms has meant that religious services are more accessible than ever before.

Unfortunately for digital congregants, that means they are also more accessible to online trolls who have plenty of free time to disrupt their services with obscene or hateful interruptions.

More here-

https://religionnews.com/2020/03/30/zoombombing-epidemic-comes-for-houses-of-worship/

Underground Kitchen partners with Episcopal Diocese of Virginia to expand food relief program

From Virginia-

An acclaimed Richmond “roving dinner series” and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia are pairing up to help feed the Richmond area during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Underground Kitchen and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, a Christian community serving nearly 68,000 members and 179 churches throughout Virginia, will partner as part of UGK’s “Community Comes First” food relief program, launched in March to help those in need during Virginia’s COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Over the past two weeks, Underground Kitchen has worked with its team of chefs as well as partners, donors, and volunteers to distribute soup, bread, and tea for free to the metro RVA region. They specifically distribute to:

• Those who are home-bound due to health or logistical restrictions or because they are quarantined

• Emergency and health care workers, including EMT, fire, and police, who typically don’t have time after long shifts to shop or make a healthy meal

• Family members, care-givers, and patients who are in temporary residence in hospital houses while patients undergo treatment

More here-

https://www.wtvr.com/news/coronavirus/virginia-together/underground-kitchen-partners-with-episcopal-diocese-of-virginia-to-expand-food-relief-program

Monday, March 30, 2020

Why did you assault priests? Church asks government

From Kenya-

Leaders of the Anglican Church in Kisii have faulted the approaches the government is using to fight Covid-19.

Kisii Bishop John Omangi wants the government to view the church as an ally and not the enemy in the ongoing efforts to stem the spread of the disease.

Omangi said the sporadic raids on churches and arrests of the clergy painted a wrong picture as the country battles to contain the novel virus that has so far killed more than 30,000 people across the globe.

"As clergy, we appreciate the efforts to contain this disease but the raids on churches and clobbering of priests is uncalled for," said Omangi.

More here-

https://www.the-star.co.ke/counties/nyanza/2020-03-29-why-did-you-assault-priests-church-asks-government/

Fort Worth rector beat coronavirus after a two-week battle

From Ft. Worth-

As he sat in an isolation room at a hospital in Fort Worth, the Rev. Robert Pace felt humbled.

Days earlier, he thought he had the flu. His body ached and he woke up with a deep cough and fever. He visited his doctor, who sent him home with a Tamiflu prescription and directions to keep hydrated. Soon, his fever went away. He led the Lenten program at Trinity Episcopal Church of Fort Worth on March 4, but made sure to stay out of close contact with worshipers. He didn’t shake their hands.

But then the fever returned and suddenly it got harder to breathe, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He skipped church that Sunday. Then his friends started to call him.

“Did you see someone at that conference you went to tested positive for COVID-19?” they asked.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1438110/fort-worth-rector-beat-coronavirus-after-a-two-week-battle.html


Churches Are Going Online To Keep The Faithful Connected

From Hawaii-

Jasmine “Jazzy” Bostock began Sunday as she normally would: leading an early morning worship service for parishioners at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, a multi-generational church in downtown Honolulu.

But Sunday was different. Instead of speaking to a sea of faces inside St. Peter’s historic sanctuary, Bostock was inside her home, her laptop perched on her kitchen table as she spoke into the camera and delivered a sermon to members — virtually.

“It was a little bizarre to be setting up for worship in my home and hoping my neighbor’s dog wouldn’t bark as I was video recording,” Bostock, a curate at the church, said with a chuckle. “It’s definitely an adjustment.”

More here-

https://www.civilbeat.org/2020/03/churches-are-going-online-to-keep-the-faithful-connected/

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Christian leaders don’t see coronavirus pandemic as God’s way of punishing humankind

From South Carolina-

In the wake of crises, questions often arise in religious circles about God’s role in human suffering.

The coronavirus has been no different, as thousands die and leave behind mourning loved ones.

As communities attempt to decipher whether the coronavirus is God’s way of punishing humankind for the violence, injustices and other wrongdoings that persist in the world, religious leaders caution against drawing correlations between human sin and undesirable conditions. 

For Christians, ideas about God’s role in human pain should attempt to make sense of three truths: God loves humankind, God is all powerful, and evil exists, said R.J. Gore, who serves as Dean of Erskine Theological Seminary.

“Those are the things you have to square,” Gore said. “So many different viewpoints deal with the problem by putting one of the three away.”

More here-

https://www.postandcourier.com/health/covid19/christian-leaders-don-t-see-coronavirus-pandemic-as-god-s/article_16703eda-6de8-11ea-a66c-a31462e1c9ed.html

DC’s first confirmed COVID-19 patient recovering at home

From D.C.-

After being the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the District, Father Tim Cole with Christ Church Georgetown is now out of the hospital after being tested and cleared.

“He spent three whole weeks in the hospital. That was a long ride for him and a long ride for all of us,” said Chad Thorley, Senior Warden of Christ Church Georgetown. “And the recovery has been slow, but he’s definitely on the upswing now, and he’s resting comfortably at home.”

Thorley said Father Tim was discharged from the hospital late Thursday.

“He had some serious issues with his lungs themselves, and that will take some time to repair itself. So now that he’s home, it’s basically just rest and taking it easy, doing some work from the house, but not anything like he would usually be doing if he hadn’t had this happen,” Thorley said.

More here-

https://wtop.com/dc/2020/03/dcs-first-confirmed-covid-19-patient-recovering-at-home/

Friday, March 27, 2020

The Plague Village

From Philip Jenkins-

As Chris Gehrz remarked recently, many Christians right now are avidly looking for texts and stories that illuminate the response to plague and pestilence through the ages. There have been so many blogs and columns on many sites about the Cyprianic plague in the third century, about Luther and Zwingli in the sixteenth, about the influenza crisis of 1918. Here is another story, and, I would say, one of the most powerful. It is very famous indeed in Britain, but as far as I can tell, scarcely known in the US. It’s the story ofEyam, and it makes for good Lenten reading.


Eyam is a village and parish in the outrageously beautiful Peak District of Derbyshire, in the English north Midlands. Although in older times it was described as being remote, it stands only about fifteen miles from the city of Sheffield. Like much of England, in the seventeenth century Eyam was deeply divided between those who supported the established Church of England – the Anglicans – and those Puritans who opposed it, who were Independents or Presbyterians. The established church returned to power in 1660, and in 1662, any minister who would not agree to the new settlement was ejected from his parish living. In Eyam, that meant that Puritan Thomas Stanley was ejected, to be replaced by the Anglican rector, William Mompesson.

More here-

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/anxiousbench/2020/03/the-plague-village/

National Cathedral canon missioner credits 'blessings and miracles' for discovery of 5,000 respirator masks

From D.C.

Washington National Cathedral canon missioner the Rev. Canon Leonard L. Hamlin Sr. joined "Bill Hemmer Reports" Thursday to discuss the recent discovery of 5,000 respirator masks, which have been donated to local hospitals treating coronavirus patients.

Hamlin explained that the masks were originally purchased during the 2006 bird flu pandemic, but were then placed in storage and forgotten about. He credited Joe Alonso, a longtime stonemason of the Episcopal Church, for finding them just as Washington D.C. saw an upswing in confirmed coronavirus cases.

"This is where you are really grateful for institutional knowledge as well as everyone working together," Hamlin said. "When the story came about and the situation of the [coronavirus] crisis began to rise, he [Alonso] remembered the cathedral purchasing masks several years ago. If it was not for his memory..." Hamlin said before trailing off.

More here-

https://www.foxnews.com/media/washington-national-cathedral-coronavirus-masks-medical-supplies

Staying home on Easter is right for God, one another: Bishop Sean Rowe

From Northwest PA-

When I became a bishop in the Episcopal Church, I did not foresee the day when the president of the United States would be urging people to attend Easter services and I would be urging them to stay home. But here we are.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump told Bill Hemmer of Fox News that he hopes to see “packed churches all over the country” on Easter Sunday. I, on the other hand, am instructing my priests and people to celebrate the greatest feast of the Christian year at home because it is essential that we practice social distancing to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The resurrection of Jesus is, for me, the single most important event in human history. It is the moment at which God demonstrated once and for all that love is stronger than death. I never imagined I would do anything to diminish the joy that Christians take in celebrating this feast together. My heart ached when I informed my diocese that we would not be observing Holy Week and celebrating Easter in our churches. But the decision itself was not a difficult one.

More here-

https://www.goerie.com/opinion/20200327/staying-home-on-easter-is-right-for-god-one-another-bishop-sean-rowe

US Episcopal Church urges support for Palestinian hospitals

From Middle East Monitor-

Members of the US Episcopal Church are urging support for Palestinian hospitals in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, in light of the coronavirus public health emergency.

According to the Episcopal News Service, American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (AFEDJ) “has launched an urgent appeal for support to help the leaders and staff at Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City make preparations to serve and care for its neighbours” in the days ahead.

The report noted how “Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth”, with life already “precarious and dangerous”, adding that “the presence of the coronavirus in this crowded, impoverished strip of land quickly will become a full-blown crisis”.

More here-

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Churches won't be 'packed' for Easter despite Trump call

From Washington-

Most churches will remain closed on Easter despite President Trump saying Tuesday that he hoped the pandemic would be sufficiently checked by then to have them "packed."

"Wouldn’t it be great to have all the churches full?" Trump said during a Fox News interview. "You'll have packed churches all over our country. I think it'll be a beautiful time."

But after already canceling their in-person services through Easter because of the coronavirus pandemic, many churches are not prepared to risk reopening. Catholic and Episcopal dioceses in every state have canceled. Many megachurches, as well as smaller congregations, have made similar decisions, advising their members to participate in worship through live-streamed services.

In Ohio, Catholic bishops in mid-March worked with Republican Gov. Mike DeWine's administration to cancel all in-person church activities in keeping with the state's ban on gatherings of 100 or more people. On Sunday, the state issued a "stay at home" order through April 6 with an exemption for churches. Even with that order, Catholic churches in Ohio will remain closed through Easter, which is on April 12.

More here-

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/churches-wont-be-packed-for-easter-despite-trump-call

I’m a priest, but I don’t think we should pack the churches on Easter

From Tampa-

President Donald Trump has called for “packed churches … all over our country … on Easter!”

For centuries, Easter has been the culmination of a three-day remembrance of Jesus’ death and resurrection. But this year, Trump is trying to turn it into a political rally. Open up the churches! Pack them with the elderly and the vulnerable! Have generations flee the safety of their homes to gather together to publicly observe this holiday. “It will be beautiful.” Unless, of course, those gathering in large families and/or houses of worship, where we are jammed around dinner tables or church pews, add to the community spread of the coronavirus.

How did we get here? For months we have slowly come to realize that a novel coronavirus (one never seen before) has been silently creeping around the world. It knows no borders or races or creeds -- or political parties. It will strike at will, mostly the old and infirm or those with underlying physical ailments and disabilities. But it will also strike people of all ages, as it does not discriminate.

More here-

https://www.tampabay.com/opinion/2020/03/25/im-a-priest-but-i-dont-think-we-should-pack-the-churches-on-easter-column/?clavis&utm_expid=.rZxRlJI0T86fmAabR1Jv8w.1&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

How just an hour changed my attitude about ‘virtual church’

From North Carolina-

When the coronavirus stories first started getting notice, I admit that one area I didn’t think about being affected was church. Where could you be more protected than in the Lord’s house?

But as the virus continued to spread across the country, first in Wake County, and then to other counties across N.C., discussions began about “social distancing,” staying at least six feet away from others, and washing your hands frequently and not touching your face. 

The first change that came down from the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina was to change from bread to wafers during communion and to sip from the cup at the altar, not dip the wafer into the cup of wine. For those who were at high risk or felt uncomfortable, they could receive a blessing at the altar. That change felt weird, but was acceptable. Just one week later that changed. Church was to close to all activities. 

No church? Emotionally, I felt a sense of loss and isolation. I depended on church – the fellowship of believers, the joyful music of the choir, the scriptures and sermon to uplift my spirit and set the tone for the following week. We’re in the season of Lent, a time of reflection and sacrifice, but giving up church? Would we all be wandering in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights?

More here-

https://wschronicle.com/2020/03/how-just-an-hour-changed-my-attitude-about-virtual-church/

Washington National Cathedral donates 5,000 masks found in storage to hospitals

From ENS-

A severe shortage of masks and other medical equipment is putting health care workers at risk and limiting their ability to treat COVID-19 patients, and hospitals are hoping donated supplies come in soon. On March 25, two Washington, D.C., hospitals got a donation from an unlikely source: a stash of masks that was recently discovered in the crypt of Washington National Cathedral.

The cathedral has donated the 5,000 respirator masks to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and Children’s National Hospital. The masks were purchased after the 2006 avian flu scare, according to the cathedral’s communications staff, “to allow clergy to provide pastoral care without putting their own health at risk” in the event of a future outbreak.

The masks were kept in storage on the cathedral’s crypt level and forgotten about until a stonemason found them during routine maintenance work. Cathedral staff consulted the manufacturer and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and concluded that the masks, which had never been opened, were safe to use.

More here-

https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2020/03/25/washington-national-cathedral-donates-5000-masks-found-in-storage-to-hospitals/

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Virus Apparently Claims Retired Episcopal Priest

From Massachusetts-

Though it could not be confirmed through public health channels, the COVID-19 virus has apparently claimed the life of a retired priest who was affiliated with Christ Church, Harwich Port.

According to the Rev. Brian McGurk, rector at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church of Chatham, the Rev. Dr. Richard Ottaway, an Episcopal priest and college professor, died Sunday night at Cape Cod Hospital as as result of COVID-19. Rev. McGurk said Rev. Ottaway had been a member of St. 

Christopher's but joined Christ Church Episcopal of Harwich Port about 10 years ago as a parishioner who also assisted their rector on a regular basis.

According to McGurk, Rev. Ottaway’s wife confirmed that her husband had tested positive for the virus.

More here-

https://capecodchronicle.com/en/5513/chatham/5657/Virus-Apparently-Claims-Retired-Episcopal-Priest-COVID-19.htm

Episcopal bishop extends service suspension

From Alabama-

Retiring Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama Kee Sloan announced on Tuesday that face-to-face services at all Episcopal parishes and worshiping communities within the state will extend the suspension of services through the month of April.

“Obviously, and regrettably, this includes our normal schedules for Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter. It is inconceivable to me that we would be able to come back together in person by then,” Sloan said in a statement on the diocese’s website.

The announcement comes on the heels of the recent increased number of reported COVID-19 cases within the state. As of Tuesday morning, 215 cases have been reported.

More here-

https://www.gadsdentimes.com/news/20200324/episcopal-bishop-extends-service-suspension

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming foundation pledges $1 million in COVID-19 relief

From Wyoming-

In an emergency meeting last Thursday, members of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming committed $1 million in support of relief for those negatively impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Members acknowledged the situation caused by the growing global pandemic is dynamic, so guidelines for the distribution of the relief dollars are not yet created. However, the board voted unanimously to allocate funding to the resource, citing Jesus’s teaching to “love our neighbors.”

While the virus disrupts weekly worship across the mostly rural state, Wyoming Episcopalians are busy supporting their local community by checking in on vulnerable neighbors, providing food and financial resources to local food banks and other helping agencies, as well as holding virtual prayer services.

More here-

https://www.wyomingnews.com/news/local_news/episcopal-diocese-of-wyoming-foundation-pledges-million-in-covid-/article_77654ef8-5367-5162-95b4-e422e3feef90.html

Hopeful Movies for Episcopalians in Self-Quarantine

From The Living Church-


We are all spending more time than usual at home this month. And probably next month, and maybe the month after that. We are certainly spending less time in church, or at least in the beautiful building we love. That, too, may go on for a while.

So I submit to you four classic movies to entertain you and inspire you during this involuntary form of a Lenten fast.

Three of them tell the tale of a minister or priest trying to lead the people through a time of extraordinary crisis. The fourth presents a marriage that is in search of a miracle. All of these films embody a Christian view of faithful persistence under extreme stress. I hope they can lift our spirits just now.

Oh, and each is easily available, either as a mail-order DVD or streamed over the internet.

More here-


https://livingchurch.org/2020/03/19/hopeful-movies-for-episcopalians-in-self-quarantine/

Monday, March 23, 2020

Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops postponed to 2021

From ENS-

The once-a-decade gathering of the bishops of the Anglican Communion, which was to be held in Canterbury, Kent, in July and August this year, has been rescheduled for 2021 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision was taken today by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby following consultation with a range of stakeholders, including the trustees of the Lambeth Conference Company, the charitable organization which runs the conference on behalf of the archbishop of Canterbury. In recent weeks the Lambeth Conference organizing teams have been prayerfully thinking through the impact of coronavirus pandemic on the plans and preparations for this important event. Welby has consulted a number of key players, including his fellow primates – the leaders of the 40 autonomous churches of the Anglican Communion.

In a video message, the Welby, said: “The place of a bishop at a time of difficulty is a place of a shepherd when the wolf is attacking the flock. It is to be with them. To be alongside them. To love them. To suffer with them.

More here-

https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2020/03/23/lambeth-conference-of-anglican-bishops-postponed-to-2021/

Sexual harassment victim wins landmark apology from Anglican Church

From New Zealand-

A parishioner who fought the Anglican Church for 15 years after being sexually harassed by a priest has won a landmark settlement and apology, including an acknowledgment the Church can be held to account for its ministers' behaviour.

Until now, the Church has refused to be held liable for clergy, saying they were not its employees but were essentially employed by God.

However, in a successful settlement negotiated after the woman took her case to the Human Rights Review Tribunal, the Church admitted it was responsible, and will now improve its vetting, training and complaints process.

The Church will also pay the woman $100,000 in recognition of the gravity of humiliation and hurt she suffered, and in recognition of its flawed handling of the complaint.

More here-

Valley faithful get creative to worship in post-virus confines

From Texas-


St. John’s Episcopal in McAllen is also planning on relying on a drive-thru concept for worship; they’ll be trying it out for the first time Sunday.

“We’re doing drive-in church,” Rev. Rod Clark said. “You’ll tune your radio station to our low-power FM signal and people will stay in their cars. We’re not able to do communion this way, but we’re able to gather and worship together.”

According to Clark, the challenge of worshipping from your sedan is interaction.

“In our Episcopal tradition, like a lot of liturgical churches, a normal service requires the congregation to participate,” he said. “There’s a back and forth between the person leading worship and the congregation gathered there; the leader says something, the congregation says something. We all do this thing together, it’s all participatory, there’s no passive audience in our tradition, which makes it a challenge to do a drive-in service where everybody’s in their cars.”

To overcome that, St. John’s is trying something Clark calls “auto participatory worship.”

More here-

https://www.themonitor.com/2020/03/22/valley-faithful-get-creative-worship-post-virus-confines/

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Online religion grows rapidly in era of 'holy unknowing'

From Pittsburgh-

All this comes with some of the holiest days on the religious calendar approaching. No one knows how long the pandemic will continue, but the Christian Holy Week and Easter are approaching, along with the Jewish Passover and the Muslim Ramadan. The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has already suspended worship through Easter.

“We have to do ministry in this holy unknowing,” said the Rev. Eric McIntosh of St. James Episcopal Church in Penn Hills. His message to the faithful: “We belong to God, not the virus.”

But how to act on that belonging?

“At this juncture, keeping folks alive is the most important thing, not congregating on Sunday morning,” Rev. Mcintosh said.

But “the Body of Christ,” a common term for the Christian faith, “is not a particular Sunday morning gathering,” Rev. McIntosh said. “It’s the Body of Christ going out into the world. It’s just that going out into the world is online.”

More here-

https://www.post-gazette.com/news/faith-religion/2020/03/21/Online-religion-suddenly-the-norm-in-era-of-holy-unknowing-coronavirus-cover-19/stories/202003210009

Sanctuaries close doors and go online amid crisis Read more: San Diego Community News Group - Sanctuaries close doors and go online amid crisis

From San Diego-

In the US, hundreds of people in Washington D.C. were exposed to Coronavirus when an Episcopal priest gave out communion before testing positive to the virus. The first confirmed cases of Coronavirus in a few cities have been Episcopal priests, including D.C. Chattanooga, Tennessee and Fort Worth, Texas after the denomination held The Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes annual conference in February.

In his message on Sunday over livestream, Jeff Martinhauk, Priest at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, explained that throughout the week the cathedral staff had made the radical change of not offering eucharist without knowing a few days later they would do the unthinkable of closing their doors. By the time the County banned gatherings of 250 people, they had decided they could not risk becoming another story of a faith community spreading the virus exponentially.

“Closing down churches, from the perspective of in-person gathering, is a way to love your neighbor. I sincerely understand that for many people, the experience of church is about connection. And there's a fear that, especially in the context of many people socially isolating, that they might need that connection more than ever. But I think that's actually where we need boldfaced leadership to step in and say, ‘No, this is the right thing to do. This is a Christian thing,’” said Colon.

Coronavirus shutdowns place financial strain on churches

From D.C.-

Churches are bracing for a financial hit, as coronavirus shutdowns disrupt their operations. 

As nonprofit organizations, many churches rely on the donations of their members (often collected during services) to finance their existence. In the Catholic Church, this is generally a time of the year when dioceses ask their members to donate to annual bishops’ Lenten appeals, which fund diocesan operations. In recent years, many appeals have already seen downturns in giving because of sexual abuse scandals within the church. This year, however, for many dioceses, the onset of coronavirus-related shutdowns is upending usual giving patterns.

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington on Thursday announced that it is facing “enormous challenges as material and financial resources decline sharply while our regular donors grapple with the effects of this public health crisis” and issued an “urgent” plea for donations. A spokesperson for the diocese told the Washington Examiner that it is focusing on finding ways to provide “spiritual and pastoral support” to needy people during the crisis.

More here-

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/coronavirus-shutdowns-place-financial-strain-on-churches