Statement by Archbishop Beach on behalf of the ACNA College of Bishops concerning COVID-19

"The College of Bishops is asking our congregations not to hold in-person worship services or gatherings until further notice"

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[18 March 2020] Dear Sisters and Brothers 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. 

I write to you after meeting with our bishops this afternoon. We considered the advice given by the President of the United States’ Coronavirus Team, the Centers for Disease Control, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and by governmental authorities in Canada, Mexico, and the United States strongly advising that no public gatherings of 10 or more people be held.  It is our desire to partner with our civic officials as they seek to exercise their duty to protect our communities. Therefore, the College of Bishops is asking our congregations not to hold in-person worship services or gatherings until further notice, but to offer, when possible, worship services on a virtual platform. We realize these are extreme measures that we had hoped to avoid, but for the health and welfare of everyone in our churches and communities, this is something we all must put into practice immediately. 

Each diocesan bishop will communicate to his diocese regarding the specifics of how this will be applied in each local diocesan context. Let us continue to pray for one another, the people we serve, and the communities in which we live. Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9, ESV). 

Faithfully in Jesus Christ,

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach

Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church in North America