Messages from the Bishop & Dean
From Bishop Mark Van Koevering

Dear Friends,

We face a significant challenge with the COVID-19 outbreak in our country. There is the virus and there is the fear. Yesterday, Governor Beshear recommended that churches cancel their worship services this week. In a conference call with the Governor, he told us that health experts are convinced that reducing social contact is an important tool in limiting the spread of the virus.

After reflecting on his words, speaking to our clergy and Bishop White of the Diocese of Kentucky, and spending much time in prayer, I wish to convey my support for the Governor’s intentions and suggest the following way forward.

Our journey together through the season of Lent gives us a unique lens in which to address this challenge. It is a time of self-sacrifice and exploration so that we might open ourselves to God’s presence in our lives in new and wondrous ways. Therefore, I humbly invite you to practice a Lenten fast from public worship, meetings, and social gatherings in our churches for the next two weeks as an act of love toward your neighbor, especially the elderly and vulnerable. For those who abstain from the sacraments during this time, I grant dispensation from your obligation and pray that our common worship can be restored very soon. Unfortunately, this means we will need to postpone the celebration of my Investiture and Seating. We will monitor the situation on a week by week basis and keep you informed.

I understand that common prayer is the lifeblood of our Episcopal way and acknowledge that this will be a painful sacrifice, but it could also be an opportunity to speak hope into the public square. I encourage you to imagine ways to reach out beyond the walls of our buildings to Be the Church in new and different ways. Please continue, with all due precautions, to provide the vital ministries of care to the needy and vulnerable. Clergy could invite one or two others from the faith community to say Morning Prayer this Sunday and live stream it on Facebook for your people. Mission House staff have produced a guide to enable this effort.

If you decide that in your context it is appropriate to hold services, I strongly urge you to follow the guidelines here.

My friends, we make this difficult journey together. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” 2 Tim. 1:7

In God’s grace and care, ever your servant,

The Rt. Rev. Mark Van Koevering

From Dean Carol Wade

Dear Cathedral Family,

Thank you for the steps you've taken to ensure the wellbeing of our community in this season of coronavirus. You have shared Christ's sacrificial love in many ways.

Following Governor Beshear's press conference, Bishop Mark is inviting the faith communities of our Diocese to take an additional step and to fast from public worship for the next two weeks. This prayerful call is out of a spirit of love for neighbor, particularly the most vulnerable, as we seek to limit the exposure and spread of this illness.

We know this affects our common life and prayer together; however, the Holy Spirit is offering us creative ways to stay connected in this season. We will provide online opportunities to engage with scripture and worship, and will remain in pastoral contact with our community.

Mimi Millward has already designed and executed a care plan for our members of the Greatest Generation. Those who live in senior facilities are regularly receiving cards and phone calls from our pastoral care teams. Thanks to Robert Fugate and Kathleen Imhoff, alternate plans are underway for our Room in the Inn guests and our Community Cupboard clients. We are a people of prayer and action!

All scheduled gatherings at the church, including worship services, are canceled for the next two weeks. The investiture of Bishop Mark will be rescheduled for a later date. If you have a pastoral emergency, as always, please call 859 699-2305.

Your clergy, staff, and ministry leaders will be working and look forward to staying connected with all the generations in many creative ways. By God's grace, we will move from strength to strength. "For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)

Yours in Christ,