(To view a video message from Bishop about this latest update, click on the image above.)
The formal suspension of public worship and gatherings is extended through April 30, 2020, for the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaiʻi.
With the guidelines and statements from State officials, mandatory curfew for Kauaʻi County, the “Shelter in Place” order for Maui County, new restrictions by the City and County of Honolulu, statements from the Mayor of Hawaiʻi County, the move of independent schools (including our own St. Andrew’s Schools, Seabury Hall and ‘Iolani School) to “virtual” classes, and the extension of “spring break” by the Department of Education into April, I have decided that the Diocese (congregations, clergy, lay leaders, Diocesan Support Center staff, and Bishop) need to plan on the suspension of public worship and gatherings through the end of April. “Shelter in place” orders may impact office operations in our churches and for the Diocesan Support Center.
Word from governmental officials from the State and Counties suggest a longer period of social distancing including not meeting in groups (now of no more than ten). Extending the suspension allows clergy and lay leaders to plan for virtual worship and expanded systems of keeping in touch with parishioners.
As for Easter celebrations, we must remember that every Sunday is a celebration of Christʻs resurrection. This year, however, the first Sunday we can again worship together in our churches, will be a true “Easter” celebration (whatever the date on the calendar). I hope we celebrate our return as our “Easter Sunday” whenever it can happen. We continue to pray that before April 30, this suspension on public worship (and government restrictions) can be lifted.
The COVID-19 crisis has forced us – and much of the world – into introspection and taking our humanity into account. I have been delighted to see the new opportunities for prayer and care being taken up by our clergy and congregations. Thank you.
The 14th century English anchoress, Julian of Norwich, is most remembered for the phrase:
“All will be well, and every kind of thing will be well.”
The source of her confidence is the Love of God known in Jesus Christ. Her years of solitary prayer led her to love. She concludes her “Showings” with the reflection:
“So I was taught that love is our Lordʻs meaning. And I saw very certainly in this and in everything that before God made us he loved us, which love was never abated and never will be.”
In this time of “social distancing” and physical separation, I pray you know the love of God. “All will be well, and every kind of thing will be well.”