Thursday in the Second Week of Lent
Dear People of Ascension,
You are no doubt as troubled now as I was an hour ago, when our Bishop +Jeffrey wrote to all clergy directing a cessation of all on site-worship, meetings and events at or in conjunction with all Episcopal parishes in the Diocese of Chicago. The aim, as you may surmise, is safeguarding the health of all and reducing risks and incidents of Covid-19 infection.
I am hereby passing on his direction and making it effective immediately for Ascension.
Some of you may applaud the Bishop for proactive and prudent leadership; others may question if the church is needlessly taking part in hysteria. The clarity that hindsight will surely provide may take weeks or months.
These extreme measures raise more questions than I can even comprehend, much less answer, now. Can we make it possible to share worship in some form(s) online? What of financial matters? And, in addition to many other questions not touched on here: How can we be the Body of Christ, take care of one another, stay in touch with members who are most vulnerable, and reach out to our neighbors in need?
My apologies to key lay leaders, staff members and others who would normally receive advance notice about such a significant matter. The Wardens are aware that I am writing, and I felt that I should make a priority of communicating to as many of you as timely as possible.
I will be doing my best in coming days to compare notes with our Wardens, Vestry members and other key lay leaders and to timely communicate at least most important matters with you. Some prayers are included below, and, whether you use these or others, please do pray.
PS You will note that Bishop Lee's letter equivocates about gatherings for worship this coming Sunday, March 15. Please do not come to the church on Sunday. If worship takes place, it will not be according to the usual schedule or form.