Thursday, March 12, 2020

Bishop Goff and COVID-19: A New Wrinkle in the Pandemic


Bishop Susan Goff’s Brand of Christianity: No thanks, you can keep it.

There’s a new wrinkle in the COVID-19 pandemic and the decision to largely shutter churches in The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia for the new two weeks. That is that Bishop Goff is at high risk for the virus, and soon will be at even greater risk.

This issue, of course, is that Goff’s age places her at higher risk of infection.

Even worse, the news that she soon will begin chemotherapy for breast cancer exacerbates the risk. Chemotherapy is, by definition, immunosuppressive, thus compounding her risk profile.

Still worse, much of what Goff does involves crowds. Whether it’s ecclesiastical visits, meetings, or public events, self-isolation will be difficult.

While worrisome, the news may not be all bad. As Goff learns to adapt to a more limited in-person presence, we may see the diocese finally start to take social media seriously. For far too long, the diocese has maintained next to no online presence. Yes, it has a website and Facebook page, but it never engages with external audiences, and it has been years since Goff used her Twitter account. And forget Instagram or other emerging platforms.

It will be interesting to see what happens.