Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Episcopal diocese suspends Communion wine, drains baptismal fonts due to coronavirus

From RNS (Washington)-

After an Episcopal rector at a Washington church tested positive for coronavirus, the Episcopal Diocese of Washington is instituting a sweeping set of policies designed to help stop the spread of the disease — including suspending the use of wine during Communion.

This week officials announced the Rev. Tim Cole, a rector at Christ Church in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood, had tested positive for the coronavirus that causes the illness known as COVID-19. The cleric was the first confirmed case in the region, and the church’s organist, Tom Smith, has since tested positive for the virus.

The reaction was swift: Cole was quickly hospitalized, Smith is in quarantine, and health officials asked parishioners who attended services recently to self-quarantine due to their potential exposure to the virus.

But church officials expanded safety measures beyond Christ Church on Monday (March 9), when the Rev. Mariann Budde, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, distributed a letter outlining new diocesanwide policies meant to curb the spread of the disease.

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