Statement of the Presiding Bishop to the House of Bishops
March 12, 2020
“Opportunity is always to be given to every communicant to receive the consecrated Bread and Wine separately.” (BCP p. 407)
“The Rector or Priest-in-Charge shall have full authority and responsibility for the conduct of the worship and spiritual jurisdiction of the Parish, subject to the Rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer, the Constitution and Canons of this Church, and the pastoral direction of the Bishop.” Canon III.9.6(a)(1)
Neither the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer nor the Canons of the Episcopal Church address a public health emergency such as the one we are facing. My message to you sent last evening, which is being made public today, is designed to send a signal to the Church that the Presiding Bishop is supporting bishops who make decisions to suspend the common cup because of this public health emergency. My hope is that this will obviate or mitigate any effort to take canonical action directed at any bishop for these actions in these circumstances. This is to help uphold the good order of the Church in this context in which the moral primacy of Jesus’ command to love thy neighbor must guide us.
The next 30-60 days at the least are simply going to be unlike anything we have experienced in recent history, even including 9/11. The dilemma of what we know and what we don’t know will continue to complicate our decision making and our lives.
In an email to me last night our brother Mark Van Koevering of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington spoke of the decision to honor the Kentucky Governor’s request of religious leaders to suspend public worship with these words.
“I loathe to cancel services, but I do support the Governor’s recommendation and think that I must humbly ask our faith communities to practice a Lenten fast of public worship this week as a sign of love for one’s neighbor especially the most vulnerable.”
Obedience to the moral primacy of love for the neighbor must direct us. My hope is that this will enable us to do that while maintaining the good order of the Church for the sake of following Jesus in God’s mission for God’s world.
God bless you and keep the faith.
A message from The Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop Michael Curry regarding worship in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
March 12, 2020
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
We are facing an unprecedented challenge with the COVID-19 outbreak, which the World Health Organization has just deemed a pandemic (see link
). In this context, bishops having charge of a diocese have my support as Presiding Bishop if, in light of the public health situation in their diocese, they decide - for a designated period of time - to suspend the administration of the common cup to the congregation in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, and/or
to cancel in-person gatherings for public worship.
I encourage you, in the event of cancellation of these public gatherings, to use technology to offer worship.
God bless you and keep the faith.
The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
Presiding Bishop Curry: Statement on the coronavirus
March 10, 2020
In this time when we are all affected by the coronavirus, whether directly or indirectly, whether physically, biologically, psychologically, spiritually, and for many economically, it may be helpful to remember that we're in this together.
Jesus came among us in the first place, to show us the way to be right and reconcile with the God who is the creator of us all, and right and reconciled with each other as children of this one god who has created us all, and therefore as sisters, brothers, and siblings, one of another.
Jesus came to show us how to be in a relationship with God and in relationship with each other, came to show us how to live not simply as collections of individual self-interest, but how to live as the human family of God. That's why he said love the Lord your God, love your neighbor as yourself. Because in that is hope for all of us to be the human family of God.
I was in Cuba the last few days with Bishop Griselda and the good people of the diocese there as we received and welcomed them as a full part of The Episcopal Church. A while back when she spoke to the last diocesan synod before they became part of The Episcopal Church, she said, and I quote, “The reason we must become part of The Episcopal Church is so that we can be part of a big family.” She spoke by prophecy. We are all part of a big family. Bigger than our biological families, bigger than our immediate families, bigger than our congregations, bigger than our dioceses, bigger than our cities, our states, our nation.
We are part of the human family of God. Jesus came to show us that his way of love is the way of life. It’s God’s human family.
We are in a time when remembering that may be important for all of us.
We are in this together.
What affects some directly affects all indirectly.
We are part of a family. The human family of God.
Just over the weekend the head of the World Health Organization, said this, and I quote, “We have seen this coming for years. Now is the time to act. This is not a drill. This epidemic can be pushed back, but only with collective, coordinated, and comprehensive approach by us all.”
It takes us all. We are family.
And then one of the spokespersons for the European Union, speaking to the member states said this, and I paraphrase: We must share our resources and our information. It is not the possession of any one nation.
In each of those calls, and in the calls of many of our leaders, we have heard again and again, that we are in this together, we can walk through this together, and we will find our way in our life together.
So look out for your neighbors, look out for each other. Look out for yourselves. Listen to those who have knowledge that can help to guide us medically and help to guide us socially. Do everything that we can to do this together, to respond to each other's needs and to respond to our own needs.
Walk together children, don't get weary, because there’s a great camp meeting in the promised land.
Allow me to close with this prayer found on the website of Episcopal Relief & Development, where there are resources and where information can be found.
God of the present moment,
God who in Jesus stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to all
who wait or work in uncertainty.
Bring hope that you will make them the equal
of whatever lies ahead.
Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is health and wholeness;
you are God, and we need you.
This we pray in Christ our Lord. Amen.
God love you. God bless you. May God hold us all in those almighty hands of love.
Resources and information available here.