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March 18, 2020 Message from ADOTS Archbishop and Bishop Foley Beach: 

Dear Friends in Jesus Christ,

We serve a faithful and loving God and he has called us to serve him in challenging times. The coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, and while many despair and are living in fear, we have hope and peace because in Jesus Christ we know how the story ends. This has not taken the Lord by surprise, and it gives us an incredible opportunity to live in faith toward God, in love toward our neighbors, and in service toward our communities. We are motivated by love, not fear.

I write to you today after meeting with the ACNA bishops this afternoon, and after our President’s Team, the Center for Disease Control, and our own local and state authorities have strongly advised against gatherings of 10 or more people.

Therefore, I am asking all ADOTS churches to offer your worship services on a virtual platform rather than hold in-person meetings. I realize these are extreme measures which I had hoped to avoid, but for the health and welfare of everyone, this is something we must put into practice immediately.

This is not the normal practice for the church in most times. However, we believe that in these exceptional circumstances we can minister to one another and receive the grace of the Lord, even if our ministry takes a different form.

We are being encouraged to practice social distancing, but it doesn’t mean we have to be socially disconnected. Here are some opportunities for you during this new normal in all of our lives, at for the time being. Below this letter we have included information to assist you in all of these areas.

1. Socially connect by participating in daily virtual corporate worship.

We have created an online platform at www.fb.com/ADOTSdailyprayer for Morning Prayer at 8:00am, Noonday Prayer at 12pm, and Compline at 9pm (Eastern time, Starting Monday, March 23). Holy Cross Cathedral is providing noonday prayer and clergy from around ADOTS will be providing Morning Prayer and Compline.

2. Socially connect by participating in Sunday virtual corporate worship.

A. GATHERINGS: Our government and health officials are asking us to be responsible and love our neighbors and not meet in gatherings of more than 10 people. Most of our congregations have already chosen to worship through some kind of online worship so as to slow the spread of the virus infection.

B. SPECIAL PRAYER FOR WORSHIP: For those who worship online, I recommend including the following prayer from the Book of Common Prayer 2019:

Dear Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Holy Sacrament. I love you above all things, and I desire to possess you within my soul. And since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, I beseech you to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself with you, together with all your faithful people (gathered around every altar of your Church), and I embrace you will all the affections of my soul. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen. — p.677.

C. PRAYERS FOR THIS TIME: Please use one or more of following prayers during the service in the coming weeks:
Almighty God, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ went about doing good, and healing all manner of sickness and disease among the people: Continue in our hospitals and research centers his gracious work among us especially those ministering to people affected by the novel coronavirus; console and heal the sick; grant to the researchers, physicians, nurses, and assisting staff wisdom and skill, diligence and patience; prosper their work, O Lord, and send down your blessing upon all who serve the suffering; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty and immortal God, giver of life and health: We implore in your mercy to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus; healing for all infected by the novel coronavirus, that by your blessing upon them and upon those who minister to them with your healing gifts, they may be restored to health of body and mind, according to your gracious will, and may give thanks to you in your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

D. REMEMBERING TITHES AND OFFERINGS: Please remember that, even though you are not able to meet together for worship like a normal Sunday, your congregation’s and the diocese’s expenses continue. It is, therefore, very important that you continue to faithfully worship with your tithe and offerings to your local congregation. This can be done with mailing your check to the church, online giving through the website, or online giving through your bank.

Many of members will be out of work or lose income for unforeseeable future so those of you who can give extra, please do so, but more importantly, be on the look out how you can help your brothers and sisters in need.

E. CHURCH MEETINGS: All church meetings (vestry, women’s ministry, children’s ministry, etc.) should use some kind of online platform, or in some cases phone calls, rather than meeting in person.

3. Socially Connect by going to one or more of the websites we are linking to at www.fb.com/ADOTSdailyprayer. Also, remember you can listen to A Word from the Lord with Archbishop Beach at www.awordfromthelord.org.

4. Socially Connect by enjoying the gift of time with your spouse, family, and close companions. Turn off the TV, computer, and phone for a period each day, and spend time together. Play a game. Go for a walk. Get outside. Do things together.

5. Socially Connect by calling the elderly and the sick in your congregation on a regular basis for fellowship, prayer, and to offer a helping hand with shopping, etc.

6. Socially Connect by helping those who help the poor and needy. We cannot forget these during this time of crisis.

7. Lastly, please pray for those on the front-line – our police officers, EMTs, nurses, doctors, hospital workers, firemen, and clergy who will be working and serving those who are sick. And of course, let us be in prayer for those who are sick.

Again, more information is included below to help you navigate these times.

The Lord exhorts in 2 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. During this time of National Emergency and global Pandemic, keep your focus on things above, loving your family and neighbors as yourself, and doing all to be faithful and responsible.

Yours in Christ,