COVID-19 Message from the Bishop
March 14, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter. As from March 15th to March 31st
regular public worship in the Diocese of Edmonton is suspended. I do not take this step
lightly. All the dioceses of the ecclesiastical province of Ontario have cancelled worship
as has the Diocese of Rupertsland and the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of
Mishamikoweesh. I anticipate more will follow very soon.
We are living in an extraordinary time and we need to put the needs of the most
vulnerable members of our churches before all else. As you may know, the Government of
Alberta has asked all organizers of events with over 50 people which include seniors to
cancel those events.
I ask you all to think about how you might be able to live stream a service or a
message each week through social media. We will share through the diocesan website
resources that will help.
Now is the time to divide the parish lists into phone groups so you and vestry can
make sure everyone gets a weekly call to see how they are doing. Your pastoral care will
be appreciated now more than ever.
Churches can have prayer stations open each day at which clergy or lay readers are
present, but I am asking that the numbers gathering are kept to 10-15 and that people
socially distance themselves from one another. Please adhere to the guidelines around
washing hands and using hand sanitizers.
Please do not have face to face meetings such as vestry or corporation or even Bible
studies for the next two weeks. Skype or other platforms can be used if you would like to
continue to meet in that way. Bible study reflections could be posted on Facebook or other
such media for people to keep going.
If you serve meals to vulnerable people or are food bank depots you may keep those
ministries going, but please be extra vigilant around hand washing and hand sanitizing. To
cancel those ministries would cause more difficulty for those in greatest need. Be mindful
of your volunteers and their own health and well being. Consider using ‘to go’ packaging
for meals and where possible spread tables and seating out over a greater area. Please use
the utmost care.
My brother and sister clergy please take good care of yourselves and your folk.
I know this is a very hard thing to be doing. Please bear in mind that more details will
follow next week but I wanted to get this to you today. I am available on 780 9889105 to
answer any immediate questions you might have.
with my love and prayers
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.