Suspension of Public Worship
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The guidance from public health officials is changing by the hour. Yet our call as Christians is clear: We are called to love our neighbor, and right now one of the best ways we can do that is to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Therefore I am suspending all public worship services within the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina through the end of March.
I invite clergy and lay leaders to think creatively about how we might offer opportunities for our congregations to gather in new ways for worship and formation. Many of you experimented with online worship this past Sunday. Please respond to this email and let us know what worked, what didn’t work, and what resources would be helpful. We are planning to host diocesan-wide roundtable discussion on online worship at 11am this Wednesday.
I hope to be able to lift this suspension on public worship by Palm Sunday, April 5. This, however, cannot be guaranteed at this point. I expect to notify clergy of the status of the suspension by Friday, March 27, (if not sooner) in order to begin preparing for worship as soon as possible.
We are still holding the ordination of Caitlyn Darnell to the transitional diaconate this Thursday at St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields, Columbia. The ordination will be livestreamed and shared from the diocesan Facebook page, and I invite you to attend the service online rather than in person.
However, starting this weekend, all diocesan events will be postponed or moved online for at least the rest of March. Those impacted by these changes will be contacted as appropriate. Your Diocesan Executive Committee will be meeting via Zoom this Saturday. At this time we do not plan to close diocesan offices, so you may reach me and our staff through the usual contact information.
As I stated in my letter Friday, all congregational meetings and social events should be postponed, rescheduled or conducted by Zoom or other electronic means, unless an in-person meeting is absolutely necessary.
I am reaching out to our clergy today, and I have instructed my canon staff to be in touch in the coming weeks with those congregations for which they serve as liaison. We also will begin hosting conference calls with clergy and wardens, organized by convocation, later this week. Information on these calls will be sent to clergy and wardens with further instructions.
In the midst of the changes and chances of this life, our call as Christians remains. As Presiding Bishop Curry reminded us in his sermon yesterday, “love working through each one of us can help and heal in small ways, but add them up and they make a profound difference."
“’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Waldo, Bishop
The Episcopal Church in Upper South Carolina