Bishop Susan Goff has made the following decision for the Diocese of Virginia:
- All Sunday worship services at all parishes in the Diocese of Virginia are cancelled on Sunday March 15th and Sunday, March 22nd.
- Effective immediately, Grace will also cancel all weekday services, including the Lenten Monday series and Simple Supper, through Wednesday, March 25th. After that date, Bishop Goff will re-evaluate the situation and make further decisions about worship going forward.
- Following the guidelines of the Diocese, we hope to be able to resume Sunday services on March 29th – we will keep you updated as soon as we have new information.
- Small group activities and meetings on weekdays will continue as scheduled at the discretion of the leadership of each group. Please check with your group leaders to find out if meetings will still happen as scheduled.
Bishop Goff sent this statement out to the Diocese this afternoon:
“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.
While we won’t gather in our churches for worship these next two Sundays, God will be worshipped and praised. By the end of the day tomorrow we will send you resources for virtual worship with a variety of options for churches of every size. We’ll also include links with answers to questions that clergy of the diocese asked this afternoon during the ZOOM meetings, and other questions we receive.
Do not be afraid. God is good. God is leading us and guiding us even now. God is teaching us how to be Church in ways that might not be comfortable, but in ways that will be faithful. God bless you and God bless us all as we care for one another, especially the most vulnerable among us.”
We know that this decision is very difficult and even heartbreaking for so many of us. The health of everyone in our parish and in our community is the most precious gift from God, and protecting it is so very important during this time.
The parish office will still operate during normal business hours – call the parish office at (703) 549-1980 if you need pastoral care. You may also call the after-hours number in the event of an emergency: (443) 414-1582.
Father Michael, Father Jason, the Wardens and Staff of Grace Church