Dear friends in Christ, today I received a message from our Bishop Wright sharing his decision that our churches in the diocese of Atlanta will remain online until May 24th. As he said, “the church is not closed, she is adapting!” To this end, along with the vestry, the communications committee, the staff, the worship committee, and the LEV, I am working to discover ways to be church under these circumstances. Please remain connected with us, check in, tell us how you are during this time, your well-being is so important to me and to all our parish family. Here is the message from our bishop:
The Rev. Fabio Sotelo, Interim Priest
March 24, 2020
Beloved, two weeks ago we moved all worship and meetings in the Diocese of Atlanta online until further notice. Regrettably, now given the rapidly increasing amount of cases of Covid-19 in the state of Georgia and given the average age of our membership, it’s clear we should continue to worship and meet online until May 24.
This of course includes Holy Week, Clergy Renewal of Vows, and Easter. We establish this timeline with the full support of our Presiding Bishop.
Between now and May 24, we will be monitoring the situation regularly and updating the diocese as necessary relying on the expertise and experience of a diverse council of advice.
To be sure, there are a host of practical considerations and questions that are emerging as we adapt to this challenge. Know that my staff and I are preparing a list of resources, supports and initiatives to be sent out before the end of this week to assist you as you do the work of the church.
Finally, as I have said in other places, I continue to be proud of and inspired by so many of you. This is not the Lent that we wanted, but this is the Lent we have. And though God did not cause this virus, God and God’s church can use this virus!
So many are adapting to this extraordinary season of disruption and challenge with collegiality and imagination, with generosity and with grit. And I sincerely thank you! Also, I urge you not to simply endure these present circumstances, but to lean in.
Be on high alert for how this virus can help us more deeply live into being partners with Jesus Christ for the world. Know that I am right beside you in this and the Spirit is beside us all.
Now is a great time to remember that we as the followers of Jesus are “salt and light.” So let us season these times with a mature and public faith in God. And let us illuminate God’s trustworthiness even as we face a forest of daily question marks.
The church is not closed, she is adapting!
God bless you. Be encouraged.
Clergy, continue to be free to open churches to any recognized 12-step programs that still wish to gather. 12-step programs are life-saving and, wherever it is safely possible, they should be allowed to continue. Leaders and participants of such programs must agree to abide by the current health and safety practices that have been issued to the general public.
Also, if funerals have already been scheduled and cannot be postponed, they must be celebrated adhering to the current restrictions on attendance and physical distance. However, no new funerals or memorial services should be planned for this period.