Dear Friend of All Souls Cathedral, March 13, 2020

This is a difficult email to write. After further consultation with clergy colleagues, staff, the Bishop, and your wardens, I have reconsidered my earlier decision to hold services on Sunday, and following the urging of medical professionals, specifically the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services guidance for mass gatherings which urges organizations to suspend events that draw more than 100 people, All Souls Cathedral is suspending public worship services for the next two Sundays.

I hate the idea of suspending public worship services. That is why we bent over backwards to try to make as many modifications as possible in order to make Sunday services happen.

But ironically, one of the things we learned after sending today's email is that it was having the opposite effect of what it intended: for many people, it was sending a message that “if the church is open, the clergy leadership must think that all’s fine, and everything’s safe, so we'll be there!” So it is the more painful, more difficult, but more prudent decision to follow the route of other organizations and simply suspend activities which create large gatherings in the first place. 

I apologize for this disruption, and for the mixed messages today. I also regret the disruption this causes. But the bottom line is, we want to set a good example of furthering the public good, and not be the exception to that effort.

We are working on our own capacity to live stream services. In the meantime, please know that you can be in "virtual" communion with others Sunday as our Presiding Bishop will be preaching Sunday from the National Cathedral -- that live stream is available here .

Most importantly, as I said in my letter earlier today, you can BE the church without going TO church. You can help others in our faith community (and wider community) who are in need of basic supplies, medicines, or groceries. (Please contact The Rev. Milly Morrow at milly@allsoulscathedral.org or on the pastoral care line, 828-273-0403.

As always, if you have concerns or questions or ideas, please don't hesitate to contact me at johnohmer@allsoulscathedral.org.

Faithfully yours,

John Ohmer, Interim Dean