The Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina
The Right Reverend Robert S. Skirving, Bishop
Friday, April 24, 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
This Sunday, we will be hosting a service of Morning Prayer designed for the whole Diocese to share. Clergy, worship leaders, musicians and tech supporters have been working so hard to prepare online worship opportunities each week, that it seemed right to give them all a Sunday off! Close to thirty members of the Diocese have recorded readings, prayers and music that have been blended together into a video that will be available from our website on Sunday morning, in time to share “live” at 10:30am. Please visit our website to find the link and information about how to share it.
Our gospel reading this Sunday offers the story of two disciples walking the seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus, later on the day that Jesus’ tomb had been found open and empty. Not to give my sermon away, but I’ll share this affirmation: Just as Jesus joined the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, so he joins us on the journey we are taking through this time of COVID-19.
Today, I write to tell you that the journey will continue for some time yet. In my last letter to you, I directed that the suspension of public worship in the Diocese of East Carolina would continue through the end of April. Now I write to say that this suspension will last even longer. Yesterday, Governor Cooper extended his “stay at home” order until Friday, May 8. At that time, if our situation in North Carolina has improved enough, we will enter the first phase of a three-phase approach to “reopening” our state. During that first phase, which will last at least two additional weeks, public gatherings will continue to be limited to no more than ten people. So, in reality, we will not be able to begin our return to public worship until at least the Memorial Day weekend, and perhaps much later.
When the time comes, I will offer a clear statement about our return to public worship. With the support of Diocesan leadership, resources will be provided to assist congregations in modifying worship to accommodate limited capacities, physical distancing and other measures that will be critical to our safe return.
In moments when we are angry about the constraints we face, fearful about our own wellbeing, or anxious about our ability to continue in the midst of great challenges, let us remember the one who walked with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The same resurrected Jesus walks with us today.
Yours in Christ,
Telephone 252-522-0885 Facsimile 252-523-5272 www.diocese-eastcarolina.org
Post Office Box 1336 Kinston, North Carolina 28503