March 12, 2020
To the Community of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church:
As we continue to live into the threat of the (COVID-19) Coronavirus, many public gathering places are now taking extreme measures to limit public engagements as one effort in curbing the spread of infection. These measures undoubtedly impact faith communities as public gatherings are integral to our life together.
By order of Bishops Sam Rodman and Anne Hodges-Copple, all public gatherings of worship within the Diocese of North Carolina are cancelled for the next two weeks, beginning this Sunday.
In a communication that was published this afternoon, our bishops declared, “It has been decided that for a period of at least two weeks starting this weekend, including the next two Sundays, we are directing all of our churches to suspend all in-person worship. The two-week minimum time span is significant as it matches the known incubation period for the virus following exposure. As we approach Sunday, March 29, we will evaluate the situation and determine whether it is recommended and advisable for public services to resume.”
You may find their full statement published online here: https://www.episdionc.org/blog/bishops-coronavirus-response-0312/
This moratorium extends to the closing of the church office and the staff working remotely as much as possible. Your staff and Sr. warden are making all necessary arrangements with groups that utilize our spaces as well as what may be anticipated for all of us during this moratorium.
In the coming days, you should expect to receive communications and resources online which will help you continue the journey of Lent. These will include scripture lessons, prayers and meditations for use in family settings in addition to your own private devotion. You will also receive resources to continue the good work started during our Wednesday Night Lenten Study Series. Finally, you will receive instructions on how you can continue to support our community via your financial gifts and other contributions.
The decision to shut-down services and temporarily close the campus to activities has been difficult, yet prayerful to make. The times we are facing are unprecedented and we have to respond in ways that are thoughtful, prudent and responsible.
Along with our bishops, we are holding all of us prayer as we journey in these days ahead.
In the peace of Christ,
The Rev. Tyrone Fowlkes, Rector
John Thoma, Sr. Warden