As the response to COVID-19 in our nation and throughout the world continues to unfold, I am writing today to let you know that we will gather to worship together tomorrow, with some new restrictions, and to share with you the latest information from our bishop and some information concerning our life together over the days and weeks to come.
Many of you are aware that worship in several Episcopal dioceses, including the Diocese of Alabama, has been suspended for a period of time. This may yet be a reality we share. For the present, however, we will worship together this Sunday and share the Eucharist, receiving only the bread. As an added precaution, we will observe a Lenten fast from our time of hospitality. For this Sunday, our nursery will be open and Children’s Chapel will be held. Sunday School and the scheduled EYC event have been cancelled. Our Wednesday Lenten supper has also been cancelled.
We know that we prepare for a hurricane while the weather is still fine, hoping that our precautions are overabundant. In the same way, these precautions are being taken out of an abundance of caution, as a short-term sacrifice for the long-term health and wellbeing of our Cathedral Family. Out of this same caution, I would ask that any members of our Family whose immunity or health might be compromised—our elders, those who have special health conditions, those who feel unwell—please sacrifice being present for worship. I would encourage you to share remotely in worship this Sunday with our Presiding Bishop at the National Cathedral at 10 a.m. central time.
Our bishop asks in his message that we keep abreast of ongoing developments in our life together over the days ahead, and the Cathedral staff and I will be in close contact with his office to let you know how our life together will proceed during this time of special care for the health and wellbeing of all in our community.
Jesus stilled the tempest, and he is with us in this present tumultuous time, calming our fears and giving us hope and courage and strength. The living water of his grace flows within us all. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ or diminish our love and care for one another and for all our neighbors. I would ask you to hold each other—and our community, nation, and world—close in prayer and remain in touch with each other.
We will be communicating more information about the schedule of our life together in the days ahead, along with resources for worship and ongoing community life. I will be praying for you all, and the leadership, staff, and I will be here to serve you in the days ahead. In closing, I commend to you this prayer from the BCP for use in the morning:
This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen.
The peace of the Lord be always with you,