To my Sisters and Brothers,
As I have mentioned in my previous communications, the current situation is developing swiftly and we are adapting.
Late last night and early this morning, I have been on the phone with public health experts. They have pleaded and asked for our assistance to flatten the curve for transmission. The pressing need is to stop the rapid transmission of the virus.
At this time, it is my counsel and strong encouragement that all parishes in the diocese move to digital-only services for March 15
and look for other innovative ways to ensure our communities can worship from home. For those churches that make the sacred decision to continue worship during this time period, I have been advised that 10 people gathered should be the limit for worship and I ask that this be the limit if you continue common worship at this time. In speaking with the health authorities, aside from quarantine, this is the ceiling for gatherings.
The larger the gathering, the higher the risk.
In both cases, we must reiterate that the church is not closed. God’s people are still here, responding to the needs of our community and praying for the life and health of the whole world.
Many of our churches are live- streaming services on Facebook and YouTube (
for a full list go here
) If you church cannot live-stream tomorrow, encourage the faithful to watch another live-stream. For priests - holding to our deeply ingrained liturgical tradition - please have someone with you while celebrating the Eucharist.
I am asking clergy to continue to make space accommodations for Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and all feeding ministries
– sharing our recommendations with those groups so they are aware of our commitment to keep them and the rest of our communities safe. (
There are guidelines for feeding ministries on our web site.)
We must continue to tend to the sick, the lost and the isolated. If possible, I will ask each church to set aside time during the week for private prayer, reflection and solace in your worship space. Measures will need to be taken for cleaning of high-touch surfaces in spaces that are used for this purpose, and again, gatherings of more than 10 people need to be strongly discouraged. (
The CDC offers guidelines here for space where infection occurs
More importantly, I humbly ask that each day our priests and deacons spend their hours on the phone with members of the churches so we do not lose the personal connection of a sacred community.
I am offering time for clergy to meet virtually with me
starting this Tuesday, 3/17, at 11 a.m and continuing every Tuesday for the next three weeks. This is a time for you to share your concerns and creative solutions.
Meeting ID: 774 368 017
We must prepare and be innovative. If we remain faithful, then when we come out of this initial period of restriction, our churches will be stronger.
Your brother and shepherd,