The decision to remain closed to in-person communal worship was made by our bishop in consultation with the best available experts and information. Though painful to us all, the restrictions were made in a spirit of loving sacrifice intended to protect our community and our most vulnerable parishioners.
As we move closer to re-opening, Bishop Stokes has called two special task forces of experts to help guide the diocese into the “new normal.”
Bishop Stokes has appointed the Re-entering, Re-opening and Re-imagining (RRR) Task Force to provide guidance to congregations on how and when to re-open. The Task Force includes approximately 20 members who represent the diversity of congregations in our diocese and bring skills and experience in public health, liturgy, and congregational life. The task force met for the first time this week and issued the following statement:
This team is committed to providing preliminary guidance by June 5th so that parishes may begin the planning process. Each parish will create its own plan and submit it for review to the Task Force. We anticipate that the time it takes each parish to create and implement their plan will vary greatly. While some parishes may be able to resume limited use of their buildings shortly after the release of the guidelines, others may plan to open months later based upon the unique needs, composition, staffing and location of each parish. –The RRR Task Force
A second group–the Learnings and Breakthroughs Task Force–has been formed to look at the lessons we’ve learned during this crisis and how we can keep the good parts happening. We’ve been amazed at the level of community we’ve been able to build online, bringing Christ’s word to people who haven’t been in church in years. We don’t want to lose those aspects when we return to “normal.”
The above was sent to all churches in the diocese. We will endeavor to follow the guidelines determined by the Diocesan task forces.
Looking forward with hope, certain that we live in God’s blessings,
See You All Soon!