Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ, in the power of the Spirit. Amen
I write this message to you in a time of anxiety in our world that is at a communal level many of us have never experienced before. The reach and risk of the Corona virus is something that is having an unprecedented impact on our newsfeeds, emails, conversations and peace of mind. And this comes at a time when we are already, as a society, anxious and divided. The threat of the virus becomes a focus for and unwelcome stimulus to that preexisting anxiety.
As your Bishop, I acutely feel concern and care for all of you. At times like this, it is difficult to think clearly, to “keep calm and carry on.” And, indeed, simply “carrying on” is not the best course of action. This email and its recommendations come to you after much thoughtful conversation, consultation and prayer. This is unprecedented advice for an unprecedented challenge in our generation. At the very time when we are yearning to be together as God’s people, it seems counter-intuitive to recommend staying apart! But one thing we know, amidst all the uncertainties surrounding the Coronavirus, is that maintaining safe distances the most effective way to stop the spread of the disease. Jesus reminds us to be wise…
…and gentle. As the Office of the Bishop, we are trying to set the model of safety and care. But we are still Church, TOGETHER. And though that will look and feel different for a time, we have faith in the power of mutual love and God’s gracious Spirit to sustain and encourage us through this time.
The fact that this challenge comes during Lent, a season in which we learn to “do without” in order to know more deeply the presence of Jesus, is not lost on me. Please know that my staff and I are praying for all of you and are looking forward to a season of realized hope and Resurrection.