In Person Public Worship Suspended Until Further Notice
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Covid-19, in January, a number of countries, and now the U.S., have put in place a number of policies to restrict the spread of infections by this novel virus, including banning or restricting foreign travel., recommending the cancellation of large group events, increasing the testing for the virus, and promoting social distancing practices. Steps have been taken to alleviate the economic consequences through provision of temporary paid sick leave, and extension of unemployment benefits.
Churches, non-profits and schools have responded with closures, cancellations of meetings and services, adoption of social distancing and strict hygiene for essential activities, and substituting online meetings and events for in-person gatherings. A number of dioceses of the Episcopal Church have decided to suspend worship services for the time being, including the Dioceses of California, Chicago, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia and Washington (D.C.). Others are adopting stricter protocols for the administration of Communion, and conduct of worship. The Bishop of the Diocese of Fond du Lac is now directing congregations of the diocese to suspend in-person public worship as well recommending that no in-person meetings or gatherings be held. In his March 16 letter, Bishop Gunter said it was not a decision he took lightly:
“It is about balancing our need to gather for worship over against our need to love our neighbor and not spread the disease.”
As Bishop Gunter stated in his earlier letter of March 13, we need to be prudent but not panic. The nation and world are facing a serious pandemic that is evolving and will have an impact on the shared life of the church. “Let us remember first of all that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. . . . The essentials of the Christian faith never go away, no matter how challenging the times, give thanks to God in all things, love God, love your neighbors, say your prayers.”
NOTIFICATIONS FROM THE DIOCESE AND PARISH
The bishop will be presiding at live-streamed liturgy at Grace Church, Sheboygan on Sunday 10:15 am. The liturgy will be streamed on the parish’s YouTube channel. And St. Thomas, Menasha and Intercession-Beloved Community in Stevens Point are live streaming liturgy on their Facebook pages: Intercession St. Thomas.
Liturgy of the Word will be filmed at St. Luke’s each week and posted by Sunday on the parish’s YouTube channel. The readings will follow the lectionary for the given Sunday.
NEWS BRIEFS (click here)
Governor Evers issues stay-at-home emergency order effective March 25
Door County YMCA program centers closing March 18
Tax filing deadline extended 90 days
For information on the pandemic: