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

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Clergy Relay How Their Congregations Are Processing Life Under Coronavirus

From NPR-

When word came on Monday of the latest White House guidance - no gatherings of more than 10 people - that ruled out, among other things, church, synagogue, Friday prayers at mosques. This week marks the first that many services of all faiths are being canceled or shifting online. And this at the very moment when so many of us say we are in need of comfort and ritual and spiritual guidance. 

Well, to speak to that, we've invited three guests to join us. In Detroit, Imam Dawud Walid, welcome.
DAWUD WALID: Thank you very much.

KELLY: In Denver, we're joined by Episcopal Bishop Dan Edwards. Welcome, Bishop Edwards.
And from Los Angeles, Rabbi Susan Goldberg. Hi there. Welcome.

SUSAN GOLDBERG: Thank you.

More here-

https://www.npr.org/transcripts/819186556

Episcopal churches make changes due to COVID-19

From Springfield-

Episcopal churches in the Diocese of Springfield have canceled all events due to coronavirus concerns.

In a letter to church members, Bishop Daniel Hayden Martins said the “ground is relentlessly shifting under our feet” during the current COVId-19 concerns. In response, he said, the diocese will follow guidelines set out by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and local public health officials.

“The nearly impossible task that has fallen to me, then, is to try and navigate the nexus between public health policy, where my opinion carries no more weight than yours, and liturgy, sacramental theology, church governance, where my authority is quite broad,” he said.

More here-

https://www.thetelegraph.com/news/article/Episcopal-churches-make-changes-due-to-COVID-19-15146863.php

OK Episcopal bishop learns he does not have COVID-19

From Oklahoma-

Oklahoma's top Episcopalian leader has learned he does not have COVID-19.

Friday, the Rt. Rev. Ed Konieczny, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, said his test for the coronavirus came back negative.

The bishop shared the news with Oklahoma Episcopalians in an email Friday morning.

"I am delighted to say that I am currently negative for the virus," Konieczny said.

"Many of you have sent emails, texts and cards expressing your thoughts and prayers. We have been overwhelmed by the sense of your presence surrounding us as we awaited these results. Thank you for your love and concern!"

The bishop said local health authorities administered the coronavirus test on Monday. He had initially expected the results by Tuesday afternoon but was informed that it would take longer. Konieczny said he and has wife had been on self-quarantine since he first began exhibiting symptoms.

More here-

https://oklahoman.com/article/5658177/ok-episcopal-bishop-learns-he-does-not-have-covid

Friday, March 20, 2020

Anglican bishop asks Lagos diocese to comply with directives on COVID-19

 From Nigeria-

The Diocesan Bishop of Lagos, Anglican Communion, Rt Rev (Dr) Humphrey Olumakaiye has directed all Anglican parishes in the diocese of Lagos to comply with the directives of the Lagos State Government to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the state.

Olumakaiye who gave this charge in a press release signed by the Synod Secretary, Venerable Segun Ladeinde, said that sequel to the directives of the Lagos State Government banning all religious meetings and gatherings of more than 50 worshippers as part of the precautionary steps towards managing the further spread of the coronavirus, all diocesan programmes that attract a crowd of more than 50 people have been postponed until further notice.

His words: “Sequel to the directives of the Lagos State Government banning all religious meetings and gatherings of more than 50 worshippers, as part of the precautionary steps towards managing further spread of the corona virus disease (COVID-19), all vicars are directed to ensure strict compliance to these directives in line with the position of the church as a law-abiding entity.

More here-

https://tribuneonlineng.com/anglican-bishop-asks-lagos-diocese-to-comply-with-directives-on-covid-19/

Anglican Church suspends services, ‘will go online’

From Barbados-

The Anglican Church has suspended services for the next two weeks, Bishop of Barbados the Right Reverend Michael Maxwell announced today.

n a release, Bishop Maxwell declared: “In our Government’s effort to minimise the rate of transmission of COVID-19, we have been requested to limit our social interaction and to ensure that any gathering of persons should not exceed 100 people.

“As a result, the Anglican Church recognises that it cannot be “business as usual” and therefore we need to change our modus operandi.”

No regular Sunday church services, namely Matins, Holy Eucharist and Evensong are to be held until Sunday April 5, for the time being, he said.

More here-

COVID-19: Singapore Anglican Diocese suspends services at all 27 parishes

From Singapore-

The 27 parishes of the Anglican Church in Singapore on Thursday (Mar 19) suspended all worship services and gatherings until Apr 3, said the Anglican Diocese of Singapore.

"The Diocesan leadership has closely monitored the escalating COVID-19 situation and makes this contribution towards the concerted national effort to ‘flatten the coronavirus curve’," it said in a press release.


The suspension of services comes after a member of St Andrew's Cathedral was confirmed on Wednesday to have contracted the coronavirus.

The church member, who had been in the UK, attended a service last Sunday but had no symptoms of illness and passed precautionary screening, said the cathedral.

More here-

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/anglican-church-suspend-services-singapore-covid-19-12559060

Churches, synagogues tell congregants to stay away

From Pittsburgh-

Similarly, Dorsey McConnell, the Episcopal Bishop of Pittsburgh, has asked clergy and congregations to stop all in-person activities through Easter. McConnell is asking clergy to stream services online and, according to the diocese, more than a quarter of Episcopal congregations in the region have already done so, with St. David’s Episcopal Church in Peters Township and St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Canonsburg among them.
 
McConnell said, “I wish to emphasize this point: Our churches are not closing. We are continuing to do what we have always done. We are simply adapting the means by which we do these things to the needs of the present crisis.”

The “difficult decision” to cancel services this Sunday at Claysville United Methodist Church was arrived at Wednesday night, according to Rico Vespa, the church’s pastor.

“It’s an elderly congregation, and we don’t think it’s wise to expose anyone at this point,” he said. “The sad part is many people feel that church is a place you can go when there are troubles.”

More here-

https://observer-reporter.com/news/localnews/churches-synagogues-tell-congregants-to-stay-away/article_5ebce22c-6a07-11ea-9f81-dbae497d2a02.html

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Christ Church Cathedral only Anglican church to remain open on Vancouver Island

From Vancouver-

Victoria’s Christ Church Cathedral is the last Anglican church to remain open on Vancouver Island, following an announcement made by the Anglican Diocese of B.C. Monday that said all its other churches in the CRD would be closed for 60 days.

While the historic cathedral will remain open amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the church’s services have been cancelled and new protocols have been put in place.

The cathedral adds that it will abide by the provincial health authority’s ban on public gatherings larger than 50 people, and will limit the number of people inside the church at one time.

More here-

https://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/christ-church-cathedral-only-anglican-church-to-remain-open-on-vancouver-island-1.4858514

From Bishop McConnell: Our Updated Coronavirus Response Will Continue Through Holy Week and Easter

From Pittsburgh-

It is with a heavy heart that I am asking the clergy and congregations of this diocese to suspend public worship through Holy Week and Easter Sunday, as a necessary precaution toward mitigating the effects of the coronavirus in our communities. This is consistent with the prudent advice given by our Presiding Bishop in his March 17 letter, and any extension beyond April 12 will be based on my consultation with other Pennsylvania bishops and the directives of our public health officials.

During this time, I am also asking the clergy to continue, if feasible, the celebration of Sunday Eucharist or Morning Prayer in their parishes, and with no more than three other selected individuals in attendance. I hope these can be live-streamed whenever possible. I will preside at the small assembly at Saint Barnabas on March 22 and at Saint Stephen’s, Wilkinsburg, on March 29, joining them in prayer for their congregations and neighborhoods, as well as for all of you.

More here-

https://www.episcopalpgh.org/coronavirus-update-from-bishop-mcconnell/

Episcopal Diocese of Dallas suspends church services amid coronavirus concerns

From Dallas-

The Episcopal Diocese of Dallas announced a suspension of all worship services Tuesday night amid coronavirus concerns.

The suspension was put in place until Monday, April 13 -- the day after Easter.

“If our holding services in this building took the life of one person we would have to seriously question whether that was the best decision we could’ve made," Father Don Perschall from St. Luke's Episcopal Church said.

According to Father Don, this is the first time since 1872 congregational worshiping won't happen at their church.

The church decided to move their services to Facebook live to keep faith and hold onto a sense of community worship.

More here-

http://www.kten.com/story/41912039/episcopal-diocese-of-dallas-suspends-church-services-amid-coronavirus-concerns



Wednesday, March 18, 2020

All Sydney Anglican churches to close, decrees Archbishop

From Australia-

All public church gatherings in Sydney Anglican churches have been stopped, by order of Archbishop Glenn Davies.

“In light of the Prime Minister’s announcement this morning, banning enclosed gatherings in excess of 100 people, I have decided that the Anglican Church in Sydney should suspend all public church gatherings until further notice,” the Archbishop said in a public statement.

“We are encouraging all our churches to consider providing their services online or by other communication methods.

“We shall make every effort to care for our church communities and the wider public, especially those who are isolated and vulnerable.

“Anglicare Sydney will continue its vital work of showing Christ’s love in ministering to all people, especially older Australians.

More here-

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/australia/all-sydney-anglican-churches-to-close-decrees-archbishop/

Coronavirus challenges affecting all religious denominations

From Pittsburgh-

“While I believe it is of great importance that we continue to worship on Sundays, to offer the ‘sacrifice of praise’ on behalf of the church and the world, I do not want our public gatherings to contribute to a public health crisis,” said Bishop Dorsey W.M. McConnell of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

McConnell said at least five Episcopal parishes in the Pittsburgh diocese are making plans to offer online services.

Among those canceling services for the time being is Cornerstone Ministries, a nondenominational mega church on Route 22 in Murrysville.

“After prayerful conversation with our church elders and staff, we are temporarily postponing all ministry events” through March 27, the church posted on its Facebook page, where it intends to livestream this weekend’s message.

More here-

https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/coronavirus-challenges-affecting-all-religious-denominations/

DC's first confirmed coronavirus victim, an Episcopal priest, 'feeling pretty good,' says church

From Christian Post-

An Episcopal priest who was the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Washington, D.C., is doing well while recovering in the hospital, according to his church.

The Rev. Tim Cole, rector at Christ Church Georgetown, garnered headlines earlier this month by becoming the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the District of Columbia.

In a message sent out to the congregation on Sunday, the staff at Christ Church reported that Cole was still hospitalized but he said that he was “fever free and feeling pretty good.”

The church also noted that other members of their congregation “with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are resting at home and continuing to improve.”

“Continue to reach out to your neighbors, particularly those whom you might not have contacted previously. Let’s care for one another and continue to hold our community in prayer,” stated the church.

More here-

 https://www.christianpost.com/news/dcs-first-confirmed-coronavirus-victim-an-episcopal-priest-feeling-pretty-good-says-church.html

OK Episcopal bishop takes test for COVID-19

From Oklahoma-

The leader of the Episcopal Church in Oklahoma has undergone testing for COVID-19.

The Rt. Rev. Ed Konieczny, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, said local health authorities administered the coronavirus test on Monday. He said he expected the results on Tuesday afternoon.

In a phone interview with The Oklahoman, Konieczny said he had been traveling overseas in the past few weeks to Zanzibar and Nairobi, Africa, plus Chicago and he had also visited different parts of the state.

He said he began exhibiting possible symptoms of the coronavirus on Saturday and called his health care provider. Konieczny said his doctor contacted local health authorities and they decided that he should be tested for COVID-19.

The bishop said he shared the details about his testing in a video emailed to Episcopal parishes on Monday evening.

More here-

https://oklahoman.com/article/5657847/ok-episcopal-bishop-takes-test-for-covid-19

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

ALABAMA CHURCHES ALTERING WORSHIP PLANS AMID VIRUS OUTBREAK

From Alabama-

Some Alabama churches are canceling services and moving worship online after confirmation of the first case of the new coronavirus in the state.

The Episcopal bishop for Alabama has told all the denomination’s churches to cancel their usual services, meetings and even postpone funerals for the rest of March.

The church has about 32,000 members and nearly 90 parishes in the state.

Several large Baptist and Methodist churches also canceled in-person services and plan to livestream worship online beginning Sunday.

The state health department is advising organizations to cancel any gatherings of 500 people or more.

More here-

https://wvua23.com/alabama-churches-altering-worship-plans-amid-virus-outbreak/

Episcopal Diocese of Rochester suspends Mass amid COVID-19 coronavirus concerns

From Rochester-

The Episcopal Diocese of Rochester announced Monday it is “exploring alternative ways to worship and meet,” amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

The Episcopal Diocese’s Bishop, Bishop Singh, announced that all 50 of the Diocese’s parishes must immediately “suspend the use of the common cup.” Bishop Singh has also asked the parishes to suspend in-church worship, and “move to worshiping online or with loved ones at home as soon as possible, but no later than Sunday, March 22.”

The statement released by the Diocese Monday also said that, “local church leadership should use their discretion and move all meetings online or on the phone and cancel/postpone gatherings.”

More here-

https://www.rochesterfirst.com/coronavirus/episcopal-diocese-of-rochester-suspends-mass-amid-covid-19-coronavirus-concerns/

Diocese of Georgia notified of successful canonical consent process

From Georgia-

The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia has received notification from Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry and Registrar of General Convention, the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, that Bishop-Elect Frank S. Logue has received the required majority of consents in the canonical consent process detailed in Canon III.11.3.

In giving consent to his ordination and consecration, Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction attest to knowing of “no impediment on account of which” Bishop-Elect Logue ought not to be ordained as bishop, and that his election was conducted in accordance with the Canons.
 

The Rev. Canon Frank S. Logue was elected Bishop on November 16, 2019. 


https://mailchi.mp/episcopalchurch/diocese-of-georgia-notified-of-successful-canonical-consent-processla-dicesis-de-georgia-notificada-del-exitoso-proceso-de-consentimiento-cannico?e=886295b85e&fbclid=IwAR2c7oqZo-00zKDfSV1xl0LIG3zc5TSvFULtdXDQoAoDtvIZFCKjVq0_7ms

Monday, March 16, 2020

A live-streamed Lent: Seattle cathedrals empty on Sunday morning due to COVID-19 guidelines

From Seatttle-

The shutdowns of worship were directed by Etienne and Episcopal Bishop Greg Rickel, in accordance with Gov. Jay Inslee's limit of 250 persons at public gatherings. "While I cannot disclose details we do, in fact, now have several of our churches affected directly with some of the people in quarantine," Rickel wrote.

Such services as the 10 a.m. Sunday mass at St. James draw a heavy turnout of elderly worshippers, who are especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Other places of worship in the Puget Sound area are likewise live streaming, Temple de Hirsch with its Shabbat services, Seattle's First United Methodist Church with its Sunday morning worship. The Cedar Park Church in Bothell is doing online worship. Likewise, Seattle First Baptist Church is having online worship only, and Sunday printed a sermon by Rev. Dr. Tim Phillips, along with Psalm 95 ("We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care").

More here-

https://www.seattlepi.com/coronavirus/article/A-live-streamed-Lent-Seattle-cathedrals-empty-15132901.php

Coronavirus Changes: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Streams Services On Facebook

From Pittsburgh-

Last week, the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg suspended the obligation for parishioners to attend Sunday mass and on Sunday, the Diocese of Pittsburgh canceled all masses

On Sunday, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Mount Lebanon held it’s usual Sunday worship service.
Except, there was one change. 

For the first time ever, the service was delivered before an empty church. 

“Everything in our world is changing right now but our god is not changing,” said Rev. Noah Evans.
There was nothing but sitting room during Sunday’s mass, which was streamed on the Church’s Facebook page. 

The pews were completely empty as Rev. Evans preached before the virtual audience while looking into an iPad. 

More here-

https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/03/15/st-paul-episcopal-online-church-service/

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Episcopal Bishop suspends Sunday worship

From Erie PA-

Bishop Sean Rowe, leader of the Episcopal Dioceses of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Western New York, has suspended Sunday worship and other diocesan events effective immediately.

His jurisdiction includes the Erie and Buffalo metropolitan areas, including the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Bradford and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Olean, N.Y.
“The COVID-19 epidemic is spreading so quickly that I cannot in good conscience permit gatherings that could easily hasten the spread of the disease and contribute to the collapse of our health care system,” he wrote in a letter to the two dioceses on Friday.

More here-

http://www.bradfordera.com/news/local/episcopal-bishop-suspends-sunday-worship/article_28208b31-55fb-52fb-9dc0-0ba15f56080a.html

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Episcopal Diocese of Virginia cancels gatherings at all churches over outbreak

From Virginia-

The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia announced on March 12 that they would be canceling services at all their churches for the next two weeks as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus, which has been confirmed in at least 18 patients across Virginia.

In a letter to the public, Bishop Suffragan wrote,"We can't stop the spread, but we can slow it, thereby saving lives and helping ensure that our health care system remains effective. Social distancing is our best means of slowing the spread." 

The diocese will reassess the situation at the end of the two weeks and adjust as necessary.
According to that letter, churches may remain open, unless told otherwise by local health officials, and staff may come to work. 

You can find the full letter from the diocese below:

"Dear People of the Diocese of Virginia,

As the Coronavirus spreads, we are called as people of faith to protect one another, particularly the most vulnerable among us. As a step toward doing this, Bishop Brooke-Davidson, three diocesan staff members and I met virtually with 185 of our clergy this afternoon and conveyed to them the decision that we will not physically gather for worship in our church buildings for the next two weeks, between now and March 25. Toward the end of the two weeks, we will assess the situation and adjust as necessary."
More here-

https://www.whsv.com/content/news/Virginia--568756741.html

 

St. Paul’s Episcopal reveals Father Whitaker diagnosed with COVID-19

From Tennessee-

Tennessee health officials announced the first case of COVID-19 in Hamilton County on Friday.
They are not offering any other details on the case.

But St. Paul’s Episcopal church posted today that Father Brad Whitaker has now tested positive.
The rector told church members last week that he began feeling bad after returning from a church conference in Louisville in February.

Father Whitaker was treated for pneumonia. But after learning that another conference attendee was diagnosed with COVID-19, he took the test himself.

More here-

https://wdef.com/2020/03/13/st-pauls-episcopal-reveals-father-whitaker-diagnosed-covid-19/

Catholic, Episcopal Churches Are Suspending Services

From West Virginia-

Leaders of both the Roman Catholic and Episcopal churches in West Virginia have taken the “unprecedented” step to suspend services due to concerns over the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the Rt. Rev. W. Michie Klusmeyer, Episcopal bishop of West Virginia, said his church was “struggling with the same issues” and discussed the situation with Brennan. It was after learning that Gov. Jim Justice had closed schools in the state’s 55 counties that they agreed the right choice was for both religious organizations to suspend services because of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

More
here-

https://www.theintelligencer.net/news/top-headlines/2020/03/catholic-episcopal-churches-are-suspending-services/

RIP: The Rt. Rev. Barbara C. Harris, 1930-2020

From Massachusetts-

Dear Friends,

It is with deep sadness that I write to let you know that Bishop Barbara Harris died on the night of March 13, 2020, at Care Dimensions Hospice House in Lincoln following a hospitalization in Boston, faithfully attended throughout by dear friends and upheld by the prayers of so many.  She was 89.

Our hearts are truly heavy at the loss of one who has been a faithful and altogether irrepressible companion, pastor and inspiration to us in the Diocese of Massachusetts for 31 years.  At the same time our hearts are truly buoyed by the hope which she preached and the conviction she embodied for us throughout all these years.

Barbara once wrote, "If we can believe that Jesus, who died, rose again from the dead, ... then we can, in peace, give over those who have died—known and unknown—to a loving, compassionate and ever-merciful God who has prepared for us a better home than this Good Friday world."  
With regret but with confidence, we entrust our beloved sister Barbara to that merciful and compassionate God, just as she invited us to do.

Our prayers are with Barbara's brother, Thomas, and his family, the loved ones and friends she leaves behind and all who mourn.

More here-

https://www.diomass.org/news/diocesan-news/rip-rt-rev-barbara-c-harris-1930-2020

Friday, March 13, 2020

Alexandria’s First Coronavirus Case Linked to Spread Through Faith Community

From Virginia-

Alexandria, Virginia, has reported its first "presumptive positive" coronavirus case in a resident who likely had contact with a patient at a Virginia seminary.

The patient is doing well and recovering at home, the Alexandria Health Department confirmed.

Officials believe the case was spread when the Alexandria resident met another patient who lives in D.C. at the Immanuel Chapel of the Virginia Theological Seminary, which describes itself as the flagship seminary of the Episcopal Church. Health officials have contacted several people who may have been exposed there.

Church officials said a D.C. patient, an organist at Christ Church Georgetown, played at the chapel and attended another event there. Anyone who visited Immanuel Chapel from February 26 to March 4 is asked to self-quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days. Several people voluntarily isolated themselves upon learning the news.

More here-

 https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/alexandrias-first-coronavirus-case-linked-to-spread-through-faith-community/2238510/

New coronavirus infections tied to Louisville church conference

From Louisville-

Four people have now tested positive for the novel coronavirus after attending a February conference at Louisville’s Omni hotel.

On Wednesday, Episcopal churches in Beverly Hills, Calif., and New York City announced that their rectors had confirmed cases of the COVID-19 respiratory illness.

The Rev. Roy Cole of the Church of the Epiphany in New York had "recent direct contact with someone who is also confirmed as having a case of the virus," his church said in a message to parishioners. Cole attended the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes meeting in Louisville Feb. 19-22, according to the consortium.

More here-

https://www.wdrb.com/in-depth/new-coronavirus-infections-tied-to-louisville-church-conference/article_60172fd8-647b-11ea-94e0-372ed21089fc.html

Raleigh Diocese not canceling Mass; NC Methodist Church, Episcopal Diocese suspend service for 2 weeks

From Western North Carolina-

The CDC and Gov. Roy Cooper have warned against large groups of people as the COVID-19 outbreak spreads, prompting many religious groups within the Triangle and Sandhills to halt services or take precautions.

Catholic Diocese of Raleigh
The Catholic Diocese of Raleigh said that based on Cooper,'s directive, Bishop Luis Zarama is "waiving the obligation for the faithful to attend Sunday Mass" but is not issuing a diocesan-wide cancellation of all Masses.

Zarama asked the congregation to follow the guidance of public health professionals and to stay home from Mass or work or any public space if you are sick or are experiencing "symptoms of sickness."

"The celebration of the Eucharist is the life and foundation of our Church," Zarama wrote in explaining his decision not to cancel all Masses. "As priests, we are obligated to celebrate the Eucharist just as we are obligated to be joyful shepherds and servants of the faithful. My brother priests and I will continue celebrating Mass in union with our Lord. We welcome the faithful with the understanding that, in the interest of their own health and that of their brothers and sisters, many may not be able to join with us in prayer during this time."


More here-

https://abc11.com/religion/congregations-suspend-take-precautions-amid-covid-19-concerns/6007599/ 

and here-

https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article241140611.html

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Beverly Hills Pastor, Sister Of Actor Matthew Broderick, Tests Positive For Coronavirus

From Los Angeles-

A pastor at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills has tested positive for novel coronavirus and has been hospitalized after attending a conference in Kentucky, the church confirmed Wednesday.

All Saints Episcopal Church has notified congregants after Rev. Janet Broderick tested positive for the virus. The reverend and parishioners also confirmed that the pastor is the sister of actor Matthew Broderick.

The church released a statement saying in part,

“As you may know, our Rector, Janet Broderick, took ill shortly after returning from the annual conference of the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes (CEEP) in Louisville, Kentucky, which was attended by more than 500 Episcopalians from around the country. As you also may know, it was reported last Sunday that the rector of Christ Church Georgetown in Washington, D.C., an attendee of the conference, was diagnosed with the Covid-19 coronavirus.

More here-

 https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2020/03/11/coronavirus-beverly-hills-pastor/

Episcopal Rector In Fort Worth Has First ‘Presumptive Positive’ Tarrant County Case Of COVID-19

From Ft. Worth-

Episcopal church leaders deliver unsettling news, with unshakeable faith: the Trinity Episcopal Church rector, Rev. Dr. Robert Pace, is Tarrant County’s first ‘presumptive’ case of Covid-19. He remains hospitalized in isolation.

“Father Pace is much better,” says Rev. Janet Waggoner, assistant to the Episcopal Bishop.
“He’s on the mend… and we can’t say enough about the medical care he has received.”

According to a timeline provided by the diocese, Father Pace most likely contracted the virus while attending a church conference in Louisville, Kentucky in February. When word spread that a rector in the D.C. area who had attended that same conference had tested positive, Father Pace again contacted his physician. He had visited the doctor on February 27 because he had been feeling ill and tested negative for the flu, twice.

Meanwhile, those in the surrounding community seem to be keeping the risk in perspective.

More here-

https://dfw.cbslocal.com/2020/03/11/episcopal-rector-in-fort-worth-has-first-presumptive-positive-tarrant-county-case-of-covid-19/ 

and here-

https://www.dallasobserver.com/news/tarrant-county-resident-tests-positive-for-coronavirus-bringing-north-texas-total-to-six-11887514

March 11 update regarding Bishop Barbara C. Harris

From Massachusetts -

Dear Friends,

This is just a brief note to let you know that Bishop Barbara Harris has been transferred to a residential hospice facility.  She is comfortable and receiving excellent care there, and has friends in regular rotation at her side.  I thank you for your prayers which continue to uphold her, her loved ones and her caregivers.

In lieu of visits, your cards and notes are appreciated and can be sent to her in care of The Office of the Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, 138 Tremont Street, Boston MA 02111.

Faithfully,

The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates

More here-

https://www.diomass.org/news/diocesan-news/march-11-update-regarding-bishop-barbara-c-harris?fbclid=IwAR2YallsBF4439xMlndLnHlC9cyogG2pkScAT8GVWoChDF590HmRMzK1hVY

Washington, Virginia dioceses cancel worship at all churches, including National Cathedral, over outbreak

From Washington D.C.-

The dioceses of Washington and Virginia announced March 11 that they are closing or canceling services at more than 250 churches in the nation’s capital and suburban Virginia and Maryland, including Washington National Cathedral, for at least two weeks, as a sweeping precaution to help stem the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, which earlier in the day was declared a global pandemic.

Washington Bishop Mariann Budde explained her decision in a letter to the diocese, first reported by The Washington Post. The “health, safety and well-being of our people” is her first concern, she said, and congregations will be encouraged to explore online worship alternatives.

“Two things are now clear: Social distance is needed to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, and the populations most at risk are highly represented among our congregations and clergy,” Budde’s letter says. All 88 congregations in her diocese will close effective March 12, and she hopes they will resume worship services by March 29.

More here-

https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2020/03/11/washington-virginia-dioceses-to-close-all-churches-including-national-cathedral-over-coronavirus/ 

and here-

https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/national-cathedral-hundreds-of-dc-area-episcopal-churches-close-due-to-coronavirus/2237928/

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Royal saint's relics found in Anglican church

From The Tablet-

A skeleton hidden for centuries inside the wall of a church in Folkestone, Kent, is likely to be that of one of the first English saints.

After carbon-dating of teeth and bone samples and historical research, researchers have judged it “highly probable” that the remains belonged to St Eanswythe, a Seventh Century Kentish royal who became a nun in her teenage years.

Locally renowned for her piety, Eanswythe set up one of the first monastic communities in England, and reputedly the very first such community for women, in around 660 AD.

Her grandfather, King Ethelbert, was one of the first Anglo-Saxon kings to convert to Christianity as a result of St Augustine’s mission from Rome in the late sixth century. The Kentish royal family was therefore strongly committed to Christianity; both Eanswythe’s uncle Earconwald, a Bishop and her Aunt, Ethelburga, an Abbess, were declared saints during the medieval period.

More here-

https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/12568/royal-saint-s-relics-found-in-anglican-church