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.


More here-

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.

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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-

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.

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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.

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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.

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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-

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-

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-

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-

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-

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-

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-

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-

Tuesday, March 17, 2020


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-

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-

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.

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-

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-

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-