As the Restart Team continues to seek faithful, loving, and safe ways for us to minister during this time of the pandemic, we write to clarify protocols both for Holy Week and Easter and for the Easter season, as best we can at this time.
Our next opportunities for distanced Communion days will be Easter Day (including the Great Vigil of Easter) and the Day of Pentecost. Congregations wishing to share Communion on these days should do so according to the same protocols for distanced Communion recently used for the First Sunday in Lent (consecrated communion kits and online services only). We are continuing to celebrate Communion on these days as Communion Under Special Circumstances, using reserved sacrament. We realize there may be questions about holding reserved sacrament over Holy Saturday, but we believe a temporary suspension of our ordinary sense of liturgical time is called for and appropriate.
At this time the Restart Team also wishes to remind everyone that we are continuing to minister under the same general protocols we have been observing since Governor Scott’s order prohibiting all multi-family gatherings, both indoor and outdoor, went into effect. In terms of our Diocesan Guidelines this means that we are ministering according to the guidelines of Phase 2. When the Governor lifts the prohibition on multi-family gatherings the Restart Team will readdress possible implications of such action for our Diocese. Until then, there should be no in-person gatherings either indoors or outdoors, and other protocols of our Phase 2 should be followed.
We wish to reiterate that these decisions are made in a spirit of great love and care for the health and safety of all members of the church, as well as with great respect for the best interests of the general public’s health and safety. We deeply appreciate all the work and creativity that so many continue to put into the living out of their baptismal covenant and ordination vows during this time. We give thanks for the patience and faithfulness of everyone as we seek the future to which God is beckoning us.
We have been baptized into a hope so powerful it survives even death. We hope when lack seems to rule our days. We hope when we look at the powerful witness of Jesus who, when faced with temptations, always turned to the source of his hope. And we know, even as we sacrifice our Eucharistic practice to keep one another safe, that our God is a God of abundance, and that our fast will someday end. “Weeping may linger for the night,” as the psalmist wrote, “but joy comes in the morning.” On that morning, let us all prepare to greet one another, knowing that we persevered in faith and kept one another safe.