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-


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-

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.


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-

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-

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-

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- 

and here-

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-

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- 

and here-

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.


The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates

More here-

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- 

and here-

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-

House of Bishops’ online meeting kicks off with briefing on escalating coronavirus outbreak

From ENS-

This wasn’t what anyone expected the March meeting of The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops would look like.

When Presiding Bishop Michael Curry kicked off the meeting on March 10 with brief remarks, he did so in front of a web camera instead of in front of his fellow bishops. Their gathering this week originally had been scheduled to occur in person at Camp Allen in Texas, but days ago, Curry announced he was changing it to a virtual gathering due to the risks of bringing so many people together from all corners of the church at a time when the global coronavirus outbreak is spreading unchecked, including in the United States.

Curry acknowledged the drawbacks of this arrangement, including “for those of us who tend to be more interactive preachers” – that being Curry’s own tendency. “I can’t see your faces, so I can’t react to you,” he said. “I have no idea if you are asleep or awake, but nonetheless, I’ll give it my best shot.”

More here-

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.

Updated Instructions for Coronavirus Preparation

From San Diego-

Dear Friends in the Diocese of San Diego,


As the concern about the COVID-19 outbreak spreads, and as we begin to suspect that there are many more cases in our communities than are yet known, I would like our churches to update their preparations for this disease. Although for most people the illness poses low risk, for the elderly, vulnerable, and immunocompromised it can be deadly. We owe it to our congregations to take precautions to protect the vulnerable among us.


This week, I had the opportunity to talk with other bishops and with a group of clergy from our diocese to gather recommendations for how to respond to the disease. I have also talked with a distinguished epidemiologist at UCSD who has given me some important suggestions. I understand that there is no longer a strong hope of preventing the spread of the disease. Instead, we can work to slow it down, to mitigate its effects so that our health system is not overwhelmed. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Child sex abuse victim says Anglican Church fobbed her off, then offered payout in exchange for silence

From Australia-

Anglican Church officials wrongly told a woman who was sexually abused more than 60 years ago they had to hold off resolving her complaint, then offered a payout and an apology if she agreed to a gag clause.

The church's Brisbane diocese has admitted to again failing Beth Heinrich over her 1995 complaint, which culminated in then-governor-general Peter Hollingworth publicly blaming her for a priest sexually exploiting her as a 15-year-old.

Its apology for causing her "additional trauma and distress" through "unacceptable delays" came a day after the ABC questioned its latest missteps in the case, which led to Dr Hollingworth's public downfall but still fuels calls for him to be stripped of millions of dollars of public benefits.

More here-

Hundreds of DC churchgoers urged to self-quarantine after Episcopal priest who served communion tests positive for coronavirus

From Washington D.C. -

The new coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — officially came the nation's capital over the weekend with news that an Episcopal priest had tested positive for the disease, and now hundreds people who attended services at his church are being urged to self-quarantine.

"DC Health was notified of a confirmed case of COVID-19 at Christ Church, Georgetown Episcopal," a Monday statement from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's office said. "Through DC Health's investigation, in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all visitors to Christ Church, Georgetown Episcopal on February 24th, and between February 28th and March 3rd could have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, and DC Health is recommending that anyone who visited Christ Church, Georgetown Episcopal on those dates isolate themselves at home for 14 days from the last time they visited the church."

More here- 

and here-

Bishops Withhold Common Cup in Response to Coronavirus

From The Living Church-

Touching on centuries-old theological controversies, bishops across the Episcopal Church have issued pastoral letters recommending changes to worship practices to prevent infection from the novel coronavirus.

Bishops in the Dioceses of California, Dallas, Olympia, and Los Angeles ordered that Holy Communion be administered to the laity in bread only, although historically Anglicans have often insisted on administering the Eucharist in both bread and wine. The Bishops of Albany and Newark have banned the use of non-alcoholic juice, and others have warned against the practice of intinction, the use of leavened bread and ceramic vessels, and the passing of the peace.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the highly contagious pathogen spreads through respiratory droplets.

More here-

Monday, March 9, 2020

DC Episcopal Church Reports Its Rector Rev. Timothy Cole Tests Positive For Coronavirus

From D.C.-

A prominent Episcopal church in Washington suspended all activities Sunday after announcing that one of its senior leaders was the first person in the nation’s capital to test positive for the coronavirus.

The Rev. Timothy Cole, the church rector, was in stable condition after being hospitalized Saturday night, according to a statement from the Rev. Crystal Hardin, the assistant rector.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Christ Church has canceled all activities including church services until further notice. We recommend that concerned community members contact their health care providers,” the statement said.

More here- 

and here-

and here-

and here-