COVID-19 Update from Bishop Phoebe: August 5, 2020
To our Diocesan Family,
Coronavirus continues to negatively impact our community. I was hopeful that the summer heat and humidity would slow the spread of COVID-19 but unfortunately that has not been the case. In early June, our faith communities had the option of returning to in person worship after submitting reentry plans to Canon Sharon Alexander and complying with the directives of local health authorities and the State of Tennessee. About half of our congregations are gathering in person with the other half worshipping via Zoom or Facebook given concerns about the transmission of coronavirus.
Because there has not been a decline in COVID-19 numbers, we will continue our practice of Morning Prayer or the Liturgy of the Word as the permitted form of liturgy. The start of the program year in September brings additional opportunities for gathering. Congregations can conduct activities such as formation classes, Bible Study, youth group activities and exercise classes if these activities are held outdoors. We will reevaluate whether these groups can begin meeting indoors in September. The exception to this policy is that 12 Step and recovery group meetings can be held indoors while maintaining social distancing. Please inform Canon Alexander if your faith community will offer indoor recovery group meetings.
I ask for your continued prayers for all of those impacted by the coronavirus, as well as the leaders of our faith communities who continue to engage in ministry and mission under challenging conditions. On August 6 we celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord, so I conclude with the Collect for the Transfiguration:
O God, who on the holy mount revealed to chosen witnesses your well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; who with you, O Father, and you, O Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.