Important Coronavirus Update - Sunday Gatherings

Dear Rectors and clergy in the Gulf Atlantic Diocese,

Greetings in Christ.

Many of us are under local and state declarations of emergency, and all of us are now under a national state of emergency. As you know, the school systems in many of our areas have just announced closures, the trigger decision point that I shared with the diocese this morning.

Therefore let me strongly urge you, for those of you who have not done so already, to cancel your Sunday services immediately. 

I realize not all of you in the next 24 hours may be able to communicate a cancellation decision to your whole parish. Therefore I recommend that in such a case you be at church to talk to those who arrive, and perhaps be prepared to lead simple Morning Prayer services, with people sitting well apart.

Some of you could continue to stream a skeletal service in the weeks ahead to the rest of the parish. Or point them to churches that do, as I shared with you yesterday.

I realize this is stronger than what I said to a few of you earlier, but the weight of the crisis is growing.

In case you do not already know, many of the churches in the diocese have already announced that they are cancelling services. This is also happening throughout other parts of the ACNA. The Falls Church and St. Stephen’s in Sewickley, PA are two examples.

Let me encourage your vestry members, other leaders, staff and yourself to call the households of your congregation in the days ahead. This will model the love of Jesus and be a sign that laity as well as clergy share in pastoral ministry. Ask those called how they are doing, what are their needs that the parish should be aware of, and what prayer concerns they have.

If you have any questions, please call me. 

Be assured of my prayers.


The Rt. Rev. Neil G. Lebhar