Worship Suspended until 5/10/2020
I am deeply grieved and sorry to have to inform you that the Episcopal bishops of Michigan have issued a pastoral directive (see below) to all clergy that effective immediately all churches in the state are to be closed through May 10. This means that we will not be able to gather for worship physically under any circumstances, including during Holy Week and Easter.
I have deep convictions about the value of public worship in the context of the difficult challenges we are currently facing, and strong feelings about the need for the church to be engaged in ministry, especially through the ministration of the Holy Eucharist, in such times. Nevertheless, I am under obligation to obey a pastoral directive of the bishop. And I intend to abide by the directive, despite my personal apprehensions.
These are extraordinary times; we must be sustained by our faith in God, even in the face of death. I pray that this decision will not be perceived by those looking in from the outside as a failure of nerve.
I am working to find ways to facilitate gatherings online and will communicate these plans to you as soon as possible.
All church meetings and gatherings should either be held on-line or via conference call, or cancelled, effective immediately.
The vestry will meet this Thursday via Zoom (a video conferencing program) to discuss these developments and specifically ways that we can continue to keep in touch and foster connections with each other during these challenging times.
Be assured I will continue to offer prayer daily for you, for our community, and for all those who are affected by this pandemic. I hope you will join me in these prayers, and I hope that we will soon be gathered together again in person to celebrate the presence of Christ in our midst in Word and Sacrament.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Fr. Brian Coleman
A Pastoral Directive
from the Episcopal Bishops of Michigan
With heavy hearts and hope-filled spirits, we are compelled to offer a new Pastoral Directive in response to COVID-19. These new directives are in line with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
In addition to continuing to forgo all public, in-person worship services, we direct you to cease all other Sunday, Saturday and weekday in-person gatherings, including weddings, funerals, memorial services, and non-emergency baptisms, and place all of the groups that gather at your congregation on hiatus for the CDC’s recommended eight weeks, or until May 10th, including both Holy Week and Easter. We encourage you to make arrangements to offer your education classes or other meetings by video or phone conference call as you are able. Food pantries and feeding programs should operate in a “curbside only” capacity.
As Bishops, we make these directives so that the Episcopal Church across Michigan may lead our state in caring for our communities by embodying pastorally sensitive physical distancing practices. The more physical distance we place between ourselves and our neighbors, the more we help to mitigate the spread and impact of this virus. At the same time, we are called to reach out to each other in love, so that while we are physically separated, we are spiritually and relationally connected. The Body of Christ is more than what happens inside of our buildings - it is a people living the Way of Love wherever we may be.
God of Life, you give us life and hope. Be with us in the chaos of this time. Calm our fears, be the light for our path, and strengthen our trust in your promise never to leave or forsake us. We pray through Christ, in the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.
- A Prayer for Chaotic Times, Enriching Our Worship
The Rt. Rev. Whayne M. Hougland, Jr.
Bishop, The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern & Western Michigan
The Rt. Rev. Bonnie A. Perry
Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan
The Rt. Rev. Rayford Ray
Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan