Brothers and Sisters,
I am writing to follow up on the statement we released yesterday. First, I want to assure you that prayers continue for you in this extraordinarily challenging time. I also want to update you on the situation, and what it means for our common life.
The vestry met by video conference today to discuss our plans for this coming Sunday and the days ahead. We met knowing that, yesterday, we received a strong recommendation from our diocesan bishop that the time has arrived, for now, to gather for worship online, rather than in person. Later in the day yesterday, the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, on behalf of the whole College of Bishops, released guidance that every parish in our province should suspend all in-person worship services and public gatherings temporarily. As a parish leadership team, we have committed to abiding by this guidance.
The decision to suspend gathering in person is a painful one. That being said, given the current circumstances, we believe that it is the right decision. The Bible calls us, again and again, to love our neighbors. Consequently, I believe that taking this step to reduce the risk of gravely endangering the health of our neighbors is helpful to our gospel witness to our wider community in this challenging situation.
Fortunately, we do not have to give up worship. We are going to be moving our worship to an online format temporarily, so that we are still able to gather together, even if not physically. You will be receiving instructions before Sunday about how to participate online or by phone. In light of this development, I want to be absolutely clear: We are not canceling worship. While we feel it prudent to make this temporary change to how we worship together, our gospel mission and our life together will continue.
Please know that we are still available for any pastoral needs. The leadership will continue to check in on our member households regularly. I would remind all of us to minister to each other, and especially to look for opportunities to bear Christian witness by being a blessing to our neighbors. We are not closing. In fact, this situation has presented us with new opportunities for ministry and mission.
Let's keep our eyes fixed on Jesus in the days ahead. May we be careful, but not afraid. In many ways, this is an uncertain time, but we know this for sure: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and he who began a good work in us will bring it to completion.