By Kirk Petersen
Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry has announced an immediate, six-week moratorium on all meetings and gatherings sponsored by the Episcopal Church (TEC). Meanwhile, priests and diocesan bishops around the Church are issuing restrictions of varying stringency regarding worship at individual churches.
… the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) of The Episcopal Church has reached the following determination with regard to Churchwide/DFMS sponsored meetings and gatherings: Effective today (March 13, 2020) and continuing through May 31, 2020, all such meetings will be conducted remotely, or postponed, or canceled. Decisions regarding meetings after May 31 will be made by the ELT as the days progress. Decisions regarding scheduled ordinations and consecrations of new bishops will be made on a case by case basis, in consultation with the various dioceses.
(Boldfacing is in original text. DFMS, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, has been the official corporate name of the Episcopal Church since the 19th century.)
In consultation with local health authorities, bishops and priests have taken steps such as:
- Canceling in-person worship services;
- Live-streaming worship services over the internet;
- Banning or restricting the use of the common cup at Communion;
- Canceling coffee hours and other gatherings.
The Episcopal News Service has been aggregating links to all of the diocesan instructions on a web page that is continually updated. The same page provides links to all of ENS’s coronavirus coverage, and to a robust resource page on the TEC website.
The Living Church Foundation, which publishes TLC, has indefinitely postponed a pilgrimage to the Holy Land that was scheduled to begin March 20. Episcopal Communicators, an organization for communications professionals that is independent of TEC, has postponed its annual conference that was planned for April 27-30 in Savannah, Georgia. The conference has tentatively been rescheduled for August in the same location.
The decennial Lambeth Conference, which brings together bishops from throughout the Anglican Communion, is still scheduled to begin July 22 at Lambeth Palace and other venues in the greater London area. In a message dated March 3, the conference website states “at this point, we have not had official health advice to cancel the event and are currently proceeding with our conference planning.”