The bishops of Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. have together issued a letter on religious services once in-person public worship is allowed. Read the letter here for the phases of regathering.
The Bishop’s Office of the Diocese of Virginia issued a follow-up letter today as well:
- Group One is drafting guidelines and checklists to support congregations in each phase of regathering.
- Group Two is creating Area Teams to support congregations in developing their strategies and plans for regathering. Each “Area” will include a cluster of Regions in the same general part of the Diocese. The Teams will be trained to support congregations.
- Group Three will develop and provide training for Area Teams.
- Group Four will develop a process for receiving requests from congregations to regather at each step of the phased journey. They will review the requests and submit them to a bishop, who will make the final determination.
- We can do this! We have experienced unexpected wonders and blessings as we have learned to be the Church when we can’t go to church in our accustomed ways. There is so much we have gained that we don’t want to lose by going back to the “way things used to be” too quickly. God is teaching us new things and new ways of being Church, and we are stronger because of it.
- All we do is shaped by Jesus’ command to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. We will continue to show love at each stage of regathering by exercising restraint and patience. Love for our neighbors, those six feet away and those on the other side of the globe, trumps everything else.
- We will live out our policies and processes in the light of our freedom in Christ, which is all about what we should do for the sake of love, rather than about what we can do or what we want to do. For this reason, while our phases will be linked with orders from the Governor of our Commonwealth, they come from a higher authority and may well demand more from us. The Law of Love governs all as we do this work together.