As Governor Baker offered guidelines for churches and places of worship to reopen in Massachusetts yesterday, the Reverend Tim Schenck said in an interview with MassLive that he is not willing to let his congregants serve as the “proverbial canaries in the coal mine”.
New guidelines for places of worship in Massachusetts have been released but some religious leaders are erring on the side of caution until the pandemic is better controlled.
The Rev. Tim Schenck at the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Evangelist in Hingham told MassLive that regardless of the state’s advisory, his church will continue to conduct services online.
“I’m not going to turn my parishioners into, you know, proverbial canaries in the coal mine. It’s just not worth it,” said Schenck. “We have a group that’s monitoring all of this. We’re looking at state guidelines were looking at diocesan guidelines and we’re looking at what’s best.”
Schenck has been proactive in setting up a task force to discuss what a reopening will be like not only for his church but the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. Schenck told MassLive that Bishop Alan M. Gates of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts said that there will be no in-person worship for their congregations before July 1.
As churches across the country consider whose timelines to follow when it comes to opening back up, many Episcopal dioceses are practicing caution even where state authorities offer permission to gather. And even when they do come back, these canaries may not be singing for a while yet.
Featured image: Canary – Project Gutenberg eBook 11921