As the coronavirus pandemic rages around the world, the Diocese of Virginia, a part of the Anglican Church in the United States has asked members to stay at home in the next two weeks, skipping two Sunday worships.
Bishop Susan Goff, who announced the measure explained the reason:
“Why? The Coronavirus is now a pandemic and we are responsible for one another, especially for the most vulnerable among us. Mathematical models show that the virus is spreading exponentially. We can’t stop the spread, but we can slow it, thereby saving lives and helping ensure that our health care system remains effective. Social distancing is our best means of slowing the spread. The Diocese of Washington has made the same decision as COVID-19 cases increase in the DC urban and suburban area.
“This is not the first time that our churches have suspended public worship. One hundred two years ago, bishops cancelled visitations and churches closed for two to six weeks during the great flu epidemic. As it was then, these are extraordinary and unusual times. They require extraordinary and unusual measures”.
Bishop Goff, who is the Bishop Suffragan and Ecclesiastical Authority also composed a special prayer to ward off the coronavirus pandemic.
The prayer goes thus:
Holy, Gracious, Loving God; Our times are in your hands, and these times have brought us to a strange moment. We read the news. We hear the stories. We know of people who have either tested positive for the Coronavirus or have been in a room with people who have tested positive. And we wonder.
We know that there is fear out there, and we ask you to help us to turn this fear, our fear, into an opportunity for your love.
We pray for all who have been affected by this illness, for those who are afraid, for all healthcare workers, for our hospital system, for all leaders who are making decisions that affect their people.
Guide us all, because we haven’t done this before and we are figuring out how to do it as we are doing it.
Lead us, bless us, fill us with your peace and with your presence, so that our faith may always exceed our fear, and that we may be a part of the healing work that you are doing. And we pray it all in Jesus’ name. Amen.