A Word to the Church Regarding Ordinations and Consecrations of Bishops from the Presiding Bishop
March 17, 2020
Patrick, Bishop and Missionary of Ireland
Beloved in Christ,
Several days ago I wrote to the Church regarding gatherings scheduled for the next two months with the promise that decisions regarding consecrations would be announced soon. Federal, state, and local authorities are issuing new guidelines on in-person gatherings, and the Church must lead with a gracious and faithful response. After consultation with the bishops and bishops-elect of the Dioceses of Georgia, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Missouri, and Alabama, I have rescheduled consecrations previously planned for April, so that all upcoming consecrations take place no earlier than May 30th. The updated schedule of consecrations is:
- May 30th for Georgia (original date)
- May 30th for Oklahoma (rescheduled from April 18th)
- June 6th for Minnesota (original date)
- June 13th for Missouri (rescheduled from April 25th)
- June 27th for Alabama (original date)
Furthermore, each diocese is developing additional plans and contingencies, with agreement to follow certain principles to balance concerns for participation and public health. These plans envision consecrations that:
- can be relocated to smaller venues, preferably church settings that nevertheless provide adequate space for appropriate physical distancing of participants and attendees;
- minimize in-person attendance and utilize live-streaming technology;
- limit, with flexibility, the number of co-consecrating bishops and presenters, yet still satisfy canonical requirements;
- forego social events; and,
- re-imagine media briefings and clergy gatherings as virtual interactions with the Presiding Bishop.
We live in hope that a miraculous end to the COVID-19 pandemic will occur. We must, however, recognize the reality of these extraordinary times and the burdens they place upon us. Our plans may need further adjustment as circumstances develop.
I ask your prayers for the Church, our suffering world, and all dioceses awaiting consecration of their next bishop. And now, may we give . . .
Glory to God, whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.
--- Ephesians 3:20, 21
God bless you and keep the faith,
The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church