Dear clergy and wardens,

Thank you for your thoughts and recommendations about when and how to celebrate the eucharist safely. As I have thought and prayed about this, I have listened closely to you, both in last week’s Zoom meeting and in individual conversations. 

I acknowledge that opinions on this matter differ greatly. The practical issue here is public safety. At this time I do not see how public safety — itself a moral obligation of the church — can be served by a premature return to the celebration of the eucharist. However, I recognize that a tentative date for that return will help us all to wait. Therefore, I am designating Sunday, October 18, as a tentative date to resume our full sacramental life. 

I realize this sounds like a long time off. With the help of my staff I will continue to closely monitor the situation and possibly revise this date, either sooner or later, depending on the status of COVID-19 in the coming months.

In any case, Sunday, October 18 is the Feast of St. Luke, the Healer. Normally we would transfer his festival to the following day, but I request that we use the readings for his day on that Sunday, and that we take that opportunity to pray for healing for our nation and for those who have died from COVID-19 around the world. 

I make this request not knowing where we will be on October 18. Even then, we may not be in a place where we can share Holy Communion safely. In the mean time, let’s continue to feed on the word.