Fr. Steve’s May 16 Update
Bishop Ed announced the diocesan plans for reopening the Episcopal churches in Oklahoma, and he set Sunday, June 14th, as the earliest date that churches can meet again for in-person worship.
One of the things to note is parishes are permitted to reopen on June 14th, but parishes are not required to reopen on the 14th. The Bishop has given rectors and congregations latitude to reopen at a later date if there are reasons that the local parish cannot reopen safely.
Additionally, the Bishop has laid out a prudent plan for reopening that includes a number of health and safety requirements that minimizes the possibilities of spreading the COVID-19 virus through corporate worship at our churches. At St. Luke’s, I will review the diocesan plan with our parish leadership and we will make a decision together on when to reopen St. Luke’s for in-person worship.
St. Luke’s will reopen once our leaders are convinced that the spread of the virus has abated here in Washington County, and we can implement all elements of the diocesan reopening plan. We will make this decision in consultation with community health experts who are using accurate data on viral spread and hospital occupancy in Bartlesville and Washington County. Our top priority is the health and safety of our most vulnerable members.
Additionally, St. Luke’s will continue to offer online worship indefinitely. I believe this is an important extension of our mission and ministry, and it will allow vulnerable members of our community access to our worshipping community without risking their health or safety.
In the next few weeks, parish leadership will present our plan for restoring onsite worship at St. Luke’s, and we will announce our date for reopening. In the meantime, please continue to pray for one another, and join us online for worship at 10 a.m. each Sunday.
Blessings, stay safe and pray for the good health of all, Fr. Steve