Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I received notification earlier today from the Chairman of the Hearing Panel, Bishop Nicholas Knisely, that my Hearing / Trial, will NOT take place this Tuesday (April 21st), as originally scheduled. The Hearing Panel is trying to make arrangements through the Episcopal Church Center, for the Hearing to take place in a virtual online format. They are currently working through the logistical as well as legal requirements for such a meeting to occur. It is my hope and prayer that a new date will be set soon. I will keep you posted once I know more. In the meantime, I greatly appreciate your continued prayers for all involved.
In other matters, as you may have heard, Governor Cuomo (in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus) has extended the current New York State mandates regulating group-meetings and social distancing guidelines until May 15th. In cooperation with the Governor’s mandate, all public worship services in the Diocese of Albany will remain suspended until May 15th at which time we will reevaluate the situation in an effort to determine when it will be safe to lift the suspension and return to our home church buildings for corporate worship.
I realize how difficult and disappointing it has been not to be able to worship together in our home parishes, but I am so appreciative to all the clergy and lay leaders throughout the Diocese who are working so hard to continue the work of the Church during these very difficult and uncertain times.
I have been richly blessed and encouraged by all the livestream and online worship services, Bible Studies, and other Church ministries that are being offered via the internet as well as an ever-growing phone call ministry. I encourage everyone in the Diocese to take advantage of the wonderful online services that are being offered at the parish and diocesan level. Every Sunday as well as most week-days, there are ample worship and study opportunities to take advantage of.
While it is easy to focus on all the pain and suffering brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, it is important not to lose sight of many of the positive things that are happening as well. All the online services mentioned above are a very positive development. Though the online ministry, we are reaching countless individuals we would never have reached otherwise. It is my hope and prayer that many of these online worship services and Bible studies will continue even after we are able to return to our Church buildings.
I pray that despite all that is going on with the coronavirus and the suffering and hardship it has caused, that you and your loved ones had a blessed and joyful Easter Sunday. Please know that you are very much in my prayers. May the Lord bless you richly this Easter Season and use you to be a blessing to others.
Faithfully Your Brother in Christ,
Bishop of Albany