March 14, 2020
To all Clergy, Wardens and Parishioners of the Diocese:
As I write to you, most counties in our diocese have declared states of emergency and announced plans to close schools. Therefore, after services on Sunday, March 15th, please make plans to temporarily suspend in-person worship and gatherings and begin or continue digital or phone-based worship and gatherings. Beginning Sunday, March 22nd, the Diocese will offer online worship on Sundays at 10:00 a.m. for those who may want to participate.
We will host a Zoom meeting for clergy on Tuesday, March 17th at 4:00 p.m. and will continue to meet weekly at that time (instructions to join will be sent separately by Tuesday morning). In Tuesday’s meeting, our conversation will focus on planning for the temporary move away from in-person worship and gatherings, and ways in which to explore ministry in different contexts. Even though there are to be no in-person gatherings, online or phone-based worship, Bible study, prayer, and other offerings may offer comfort and lessen isolation. I have also instructed the Rev. Canon Carrie Schofield-Broadbent to be in touch with all parishes in our diocese currently without clergy.
At this time, diocesan staff plan to transition to working from home beginning Friday morning, March 20th.
As you have been doing so well, please continue to abide by all guidelines and instructions of our state and local authorities, and again I encourage you to be creative with life-giving alternatives to in-person gatherings. Resources and updates are available for you at cnyepiscopal.org/faithful-response-coronavirus.
As I look around our Diocese, I see, in each of our communities, people reaching out in love, trying new things, and seeking the welfare of our neighbors. The Church’s mission is often realized most clearly in moments such as these. I am so proud of this Diocese and I am so grateful to share in this ministry with you. Truly, we are one Body, Christ’s Body, formed to bring healing to our world as we learn to love God, one another, and all God has created.
Let us pray:
you taught us to pray.
So, in a moment of silence
we pray for all known to us
who tonight need to know you are near.
We thank you,
for all engaged in the ministries of healing and reconciliation,
for those who work in hospitals and hospices,
for doctors and district nurses,
for carers and counsellors,
for peacemakers and peacekeepers.
God our maker,
Jesus our healer,
Holy Spirit of love and life,
hear our prayers.
To those who seek you,
to all who need you,
to the world you cherish
bring peace. (The Iona Abbey Worship Book, p. 123)
Our help is in the name of the Lord, who has made heaven and earth. Blessed be the name of the Lord, now and for ever. The blessing, mercy, and grace of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you, and remain with you always.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe
Bishop of Central New York