It should come as no surprise, but true to form, Grace Episcopal has bollixed its response to Bishop Goff’s announcement regarding the suspension of church services.
Specifically, in its announcement, the church states that all Sunday worship services at all parishes in the diocese are suspended. As other churches in the area were quick to point out, that is absolutely and categorically untrue.
Here is the church’s announcement:
What the diocese HAS said is that all gatherings for public worship are suspended. That is a huge difference. Indeed, Bishop Goff is quick to point out that God will be worshipped and praised, and is encouraging parishes to offer online services. That is in keeping with what I and other have been pointing our for many years, which is that churches that wish to engage with young people must find young people where they are. That means offering interactive alternatives. Not half-baked alternatives, but joyful, engaging interaction in cyberspace.
This is confirmed in Bishop Goff’s statement, reflected below.
So rather than the usual chaos and misinformation, I believe parish leaders should get their backsides in gear, recognize that there are ways to hold services without physically meeting, borrow a tripod stand and an iPod, and get busy going about the business of the church.
For the record, church services are NOT cancelled across the diocese. Only parishes that cannot get their act together to stream a service will not be worshipping this Sunday. And given the times in which we live, churches and other organizations that survive will be those that move swiftly and respond to the changing times.
So far, Grace Church does not appear to be one of the churches that will survive.
PS Given the demographics of the church, it is stupid to continue with small group meetings. Feel free to quote me. And if you really want to worship God, service at the food pantry or homeless shelter is a good way to start.