The need and desire for prayer for our community and nation has never been stronger. The congregations across our diocese have been diligent in prayer around the needs of the pandemic from its beginning, in fact our prayer and petition and praise have only increased over these weeks. Our churches have never ‘closed’ – we have simply moved our gatherings online.
We will not re-gather in our churches this Memorial Day Weekend. The time for this to begin has not yet arrived, we have not met the criteria for safely meeting in-person.
But, in these weeks I have been so encouraged and amazed at the faithful and steadfast response of our clergy and many, many lay leaders. Thank you. Despite our difficulties the Holy Spirit of God has been present, drawing together new and old friends in streaming worship.
Re-gathering is a longed for, but complex, issue. Knowing this, it is useful to recall a few guiding principles for discipleship in a pandemic:
We are motivated by the love of God and the call to love one another as Christ loves us. (John 15:12-13; I Corinthians 13)
We are grateful for our rights as Americans and as Christians, but we put priority not on standing up for our rights, but rather to have the mind of Christ and become servants of God, of our congregation, and of our community. (Philippians 2:5-11)
We seek to protect, serve, and advocate for the most vulnerable among us. (Matthew 25:31-46)
Over the past few weeks, we have thoughtfully and carefully considered how we will re-gather in person. We recognize that our plans are not as simple as unlocking a door.
We have awareness of the realities of this new disease and the health needs of others. We are a hands-on kind of diocese and are eager to show up in our usual places of help and service; pausing until we can be sure we will not cause illness in others is just plain hard.
Therefore, holding faith with one another, acting under my guidance as your Bishop, informed by the wisdom from scripture and data from science, encouraged by the Presiding Bishop and living the life of prayer, we will walk together in The Way of Love.
Dear friends, our churches – the Body of Christ – are alive and functioning right now. They are already ‘open’; and we are loving God, loving our neighbor, and following Jesus, wherever we may be.
In Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Bishop Megan M. Traquair