The Bishop’s E-pistle: Coronavirus

If anyone had told me a month ago that most of our congregations would be able, within a week’s notice, to move their worship to livestream platforms, to set up phone trees and contact every member of their congregation, to gather members for Bible Study and prayer on Zoom and other apps — I would not have believed it.

And yet, here we are. An unexpected blessing of the past week has been witnessing the reality that while Episcopalians may not like change — and may rebel over the slightest changes in worship or furniture placement — when the change is radical and unavoidable: we roll with it.

Well done, good and faithful servants. 

The Diocese is going to highlight one English and one Spanish livestreamed service each Sunday. This Sunday, those services will be at 8:00 a.m. in Spanish from St. Mark’s, Mesa and at 10:15 a.m. from St. Barnabas on the Desert, Scottsdale. This way, if there are congregations who are finding livestreaming too cumbersome, you can direct your congregations to a general service.

Forward Movement has additional resources for members of your congregations to find prayer and Christian formation while they are at home.

This past week, I spent time with the clergy of each of our six Deaneries on Zoom. Next week, I am going to offer two times for clergy check-ins with me via Zoom: Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. and Thursday at 9:00 a.m. Links for those times will be sent out by Canon Nicole Krug.

From my time spent with the clergy, I can tell that food insecurity is going to be an increasing need in many of our communities. Those with food pantries all noted that the number of people who came to their food pantries had nearly doubled this week — and that their supplies of food had decreased. If you are able to make a financial donation to your local food pantry, please do so.

I chose “God of grace and God of glory” as the opening hymn for my consecration because I love how it embraces the challenge of living faithfully in a world that so frequently runs amok. The refrain “Grant us wisdom, grant us courage for the facing of this hour…” has been running through my mind particularly this week, and is my honest prayer for myself, for you, and for all those who are racing to handle every level of this crisis: the entire medical profession; local and national governments; supermarket employees; people who manage supply chains for food, medical equipment, and necessities; our whole world.

Grant us wisdom, grant us courage for the living of these days.