[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry issued a letter to The Episcopal Church on March 17 stating in his clearest language yet an unsettling truth that many Episcopalians already had begun to acknowledge: Lent, under the threat of global pandemic, will culminate in a Holy Week and Easter Sunday unlike any before – with churches closed and pews empty.
“It is reasonable to assume that some form of recommendations restricting public gatherings will continue for some time,” Curry said. “Considering this changing landscape, I believe that suspension of in-person public worship is generally the most prudent course of action at this time, even during Holy Week and on Easter Day.”
COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, had spread to 150 countries and was blamed for more than 6,600 deaths, with 168,000 cases worldwide, the World Health Organization reported as of March 16, and the numbers in the United States have been increasing rapidly in the past week. Curry, in his letter to the church, alluded to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation against gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, and the White House urged even smaller gatherings of 10 or fewer for the next two weeks.
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