By Kirk Petersen

Because of the coronavirus, the Episcopal Church has decided not to hold the in-person meeting of the House of Bishops that had been scheduled for March 10-13 in Navasota, Texas.

“I have decided to change and relocate our meeting from a physical gathering at Camp Allen to a series of virtual gatherings to be held within the currently scheduled time period,” said Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, in a letter to bishops on March 4. “You should therefore plan not to travel to Camp Allen but hold the days for a virtual gathering of Bishops via computer.”

The House of Bishops normally meets twice a year. “I have determined that the benefits of an in-person meeting do not clearly outweigh the potential public and personal health risks that could arise from gathering 130 people from around the U.S. and multiple other countries — who would travel through multiple airports, interact with personnel at the Camp, then travel again home,” Curry wrote.

In late February the church suspended all travel of employees to six countries that have been hard-hit by the virus: China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy and Hong Kong.

These precautions came shortly after the consecration of the Rev. Lennon Yuan-Rung Chang as the VI Bishop of Taiwan was held as scheduled on February 22. He succeeds the Rt. Rev. David J. H. Lai, who has led the diocese since 2001.

Curry served as chief consecrator. The archbishop and bishops of the Anglican Church in Hong Kong were unable to attend because of travel restrictions, according to Catherine Lee, a mission partner from the UK who works for the diocese. A banquet that had been planned for after the consecration was canceled, she said.