March 5, 2020
Dear friends in Christ,
I know that many questions are being raised about how best to maintain our health, as individuals, within our parishes, and as a community at large, in light of the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19. You may have heard of restrictions or adaptions that some denominations are implementing concerning liturgical practices and public worship, and some of our clergy have asked for guidance from my office. Since it seems as though COVID-19 will be a matter of widespread concern for some time, let me begin to address some of the anxieties being expressed, and to reflect on how we as the Body of Christ might be called to minister to our communities in a period when the potential of widespread illness exists.
By way of background, this past Monday our Director of Administration, the Reverend Canon Kim Karashin, along with the co-chair of our Emergency Preparedness & Response Committee, Tim Austin, took part in an informational webinar offered by Episcopal Relief and Development, Faithful Response to COVID-19. Additionally, we have been receiving input from many colleagues, including my fellow bishops who are addressing this issue in their own dioceses.
Based on the information we have so far received, I offer a brief guide to best practices for our Christian community in the Diocese of Pittsburgh during the epidemic.
You all will remain in my prayers for a healthy and holy Lent.
Faithfully your bishop,
(The Right Reverend) Dorsey W.M. McConnell
VIII Bishop of Pittsburgh