Coronavirus Information for Diocese
Dear Gulf Atlantic Diocese,
I do not need to tell you that we face a pandemic. No one yet knows everything this will mean for our country, churches included. I believe that as difficult as this may be, the Lord has purposes for us and our neighbors if we seek him.
Let me share three things briefly:
- The Lord is in charge, and loves us as his own. We need not fear even death itself. We have a hope in Christ that those who are without hope need to see in all of our responses to this crisis. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35,37-39
- Your worship services as well as other programs will be incorporating temporary changes while this crisis persists. In some places, you may stop worshiping together for a season. If schools in your area close, I have encouraged the clergy to follow your community’s lead and likewise have people stay home.
- Many of you should already seriously consider worshiping at home, particularly if you are older or vulnerable. Archbishop Beach has placed those over 60 in the older category. Likewise if there is any chance that you have been in contact with a COVID19 patient, you should stay home and not infect others. If you stay home, please pray for your congregation and worship the Lord during the time you would normally go to church. And please continue giving. The Enemy would love to derail the Lord’s work among you in any way possible.
Let me close with this challenge. Please pray for the Lord to use this season to expand his Kingdom. We worry about saving people’s lives physically, which is well and good, but our greater concern should always be to bring the gospel to those who are perishing. Perhaps you could shop or pick up prescriptions for those vulnerable. Or create a fund at your parish for those who are out of work, neighbors as well as parishioners. Or call and share the hope of the gospel with a friend or relative who lives without hope.
Pray that the Lord would use this time for his glory!
In Jesus the Messiah who died that we might truly live,
The Rt. Rev. Neil G. Lebhar