Subject: An Update from Bishop Love on Reopening Churches In Response to Governor Cuomo’s Recent Announcement
From: "Rev. John Thompson" <stjohnw@fairpoint.net>
Date: 5/21/20, 7:25 PM
To: "Rev. John Thompson" <stjohnw@fairpoint.net>

Dear members and friends of St. John in the Wilderness,

 

Below is a letter from Bishop of the Diocese of Albany William Love "On Reopening Churches In Response to Governor  Cuomos Recent Announcement."

 

Of note:

 

a)     It is not yet clear when SJITW can or should reopen from the letter. Members of the vestry and I will be working on reopening protocol.

 

b)     The Hudson Valley Deanery Clergy (of which I am Dean) met by Zoom with Bishop Love on Tuesday "to talk about how best to move forward in reopening our church buildings for worship services."

From the below letter: "There are still safety procedures that need to be put in place before we resume public worship services in our Church buildings. As I explained to all of those attending the Deanery Meetings on Monday and Tuesday, I will be issuing basic guidelines that each parish will need to follow in order to provide as safe an environment as possible, for all our parishioners and guests when they come to Church."

 

c)     "I will try to have the guidelines out to all the clergy by this coming Monday (May 25th)."

 

d)     "No parish may reopen before they have received the Diocesan Guidelines and acknowledged that they will abide by them."

 

e)     From the Bishop's previous letter: "If the clergy and vestry in any given parish believe the circumstances in their particular congregation require more stringent guidelines, they may add to the Diocesan Guidelines, but NOT subtract from them."

 

 

Peace,

John+

 

The Very Rev. John P. Thompson

Rector

Church of St. John in the Wilderness (Episcopal)

P.O. Box 180

Copake Falls, NY 12517

stjohnw@fairpoint.net

 

Truth and love must prevail over lies and hate

Vaclav Havel

 

 

 

 

An Update from Bishop Love on Reopening Churches In Response to Governor

Cuomos Recent Announcement

 

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

As many of you have already heard, Governor Cuomo announced yesterday during his regularly scheduled news conference, that starting today (May 21st), Churches can be open for business for groups of 10 people or less, provided they follow appropriate safety procedures. Prior to yesterday’s “surprise” announcement, Church leaders had been led to believe that Churches would NOT be allowed to reopen until their region reached Phase 4 of the Governor’s Four Phase Reopening Plan for the State.

 

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, I hosted eight deanery meetings during which time I was able to visit with all the clergy of each Deanery (and the Church Wardens of those parishes who are currently without clergy). During our meeting, we not only talked about how each parish is currently trying to meet the ministry needs of all its people during this difficult time of the Coronavirus Pandemic, but also spoke about some of the safety measures each parish would need to put in place in preparation for reopening our buildings for public worship services. Based on the original information given regarding Church openings, we were looking at the last week of June and the first week of July.

 

While I greatly appreciate the Governor’s recognition of the importance of the ministry of the Church and his willingness to allow Churches to open sooner than later, there are still safety procedures that need to be put in place before we resume public worship services in our Church buildings. As I explained to all of those attending the Deanery Meetings on Monday and Tuesday, I will be issuing basic guidelines that each parish will need to follow in order to provide as safe an environment as possible, for all our parishioners and guests when they come to Church.

 

I will try to have the guidelines out to all the clergy by this coming Monday (May 25th). In the meantime however, all of those attending the Deanery Meetings have a sense of the type things each parish needs to be working on in preparation for reopening. I would encourage you to get started if you haven’t already.

 

A major hurdle that will need to be dealt with in addition to all the safety and sanitation efforts, is the 10 person limit (placed by the Governor) on group gatherings. This not only has logistical, but also pastoral implications. All of this will need to be thought about and worked through before parishes can resume public worship services.

 

I know many of you, to include myself, are anxious to open our doors and resume public worship services as soon as possible, however, it is important that we do it right and don’t rush so much that we end up hurting people, rather than blessing them. It is conceivable that some parishes may be in a position to reopen on Pentecost Sunday (May 31st), provided all Diocesan guidelines have been met for reopening. Other parishes may take longer. Please take the time you need.

 

No parish may reopen before they have received the Diocesan Guidelines and acknowledged that they will abide by them. In the meantime, please keep doing all the wonderful ministry you are currently doing through online services (recorded and live streaming), as well as your phone call and letter writing ministry. I was richly blessed earlier this week during the Deanery Meetings to hear about all the Lord is doing in and through you, and the lives that are being touched during these difficult times. I am very proud of all of you. Please know that you are and continue in my prayers. We will get through this. God Bless!

 

Faithfully Your Brother in Christ,

+Bill

Rt. Rev. William H. Love

Bishop of Albany

 

 


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