To: Clergy and People
From: The Bishop
I hope you and your families are keeping safe.
“Strengthen Our Faith O’ God, For the Living of These Days.”
We are all creatures of the Divine one whom we call God. First of all, we are to acknowledge the existence of God who created all that exist; seen and unseen. The fulfillment of humanity, individually and collectively is fou.nd in God and are defined in the laws and the purposes of God, which are laws given not merely by words or commands, but in God’s creative designs/purposes for the human creature; in this way obedience to God becomes at the same time loyalty to who we are as human beings, in other words obedience to God fulfills the purpose for which we human beings were created. This point is made when we state that human beings are created in the image and likeness of God. Here we are speaking of relationship with God and each other. Emerging from this relationship with God and with other human beings is an obligation which was established by the very act of creation,in which humanity is “gifted” with an aptitude towards God, and.God appears as the ultimate “good” for which all human beings are made. This is to say that by nature we human beings are religious we are restless until we find our place in God. As St. Augustine says ‘You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you’
When we speak of faith we are not merely referring to things we know about God rather, we are speaking of a relationship through which we have come to know and believe that the fulfillment of humanity, individually and collectiveIy is found in God and is defined in the ways and purposes of God.
In Exodus 14 The Hebrew people found themselves in a very precarious situation, Moss was leading them on their escape from bondage in Egypt and suddenly they found that the sea was ahead of them and Pharaoh and his mighty army were pursuing them. So, they cried out to the Lord; and said to Moses: “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, in bringing us out of Egypt, ‘Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
The people in spite of what they had seen and experienced before were now in a situation in which they were terribly afraid, their faith was at an all-time low.
Moses said to them: “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be still.”
Then the Lord commanded Moses to move forward.
The journey from that terrible experience in Egypt to the promise lane was filled with challenges and on several occasions the people became frustrated and disillusioned. Through it all we observe the presence of God working God’s purpose out in the midst of all the difficulties, trials and frustrating experiences of the Hebrew people. Eventually, by God’s grace and providence they entered the promise land.
The COVID-19 Pandemic is with us and like the Hebrew people who could see no end to their challenges and frustrating experiences and were beginning to lose hope and turned to their own devices. Remember when Moses went up the mountain for forty days, how they led Aaron to make a molten calf and worshipped it as “God” the one who brought them out of Egypt. However, it was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who journeyed with them and brought them into the promise land.
We cannot see the end of the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the challenges continue to be with us and we are becoming frustrated. Like the Hebrew people God is journeying with us through it all, eventually, by God’s grace and providence, we’ll reach the “promise land.”
When we speak of faith we are not merely referring to things we know about God rather, we are speaking of a relationship through which we have come to know and believe that the fulfillment of humanity, individually and collectively is found in God and is defined in the ways and purposes of God.
“Strengthen Our Faith 0′ God, For the Living of These Days.”
The Health Authorities in the three states that make up the Diocese have all stated recently that the fact that there has been a period of 7 or more days and there has been no new positive cases, we should not become complacent but continue to adhere to the protocols and to take them seriously, for the Pandemic is still with us. In addition, the call by the Director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO} earlier this week for accelerated and expanded testing for CO.VID-19 in countries of the Americas:
“We need a clearer view of where the virus is circulating and how many people have been infected in order to guide our actions,”
The pandemic continues to impact our region, and it’s vital for all countries to actively embrace preventive measures, while preparing for more cases, hospitalizations and deaths.”
Further the head of the World Health Organisation has stated that the Caribbean has not reached its peak with regards to the COVID-19, In addition, locally, in the region and internationally the fact that there are persons who only knew they had the virus because they were tested but had no symptoms. I ask that all services in the church, for relay on social media platforms, television and radio be restricted to Morning or Evening Prayer and the numbers be restricted to five including the officiant and the technician and that the Protocols stated by the Ministry of Health be adhered to.
It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. I understand the urge to find creative ways and means to respond to the present situation. As well meant as they are, we have to ensure that these do not fall far outside the practices for services prescribed by the Church in the Province of the West Indies. These were formulated after much prayer, thought, theological reflection and collectively approved by body/bodies authorized by the church for this purpose. Therefore, if you are considering any innovations re- the use of technology with regards to conducting services, the liturgical rites of the church, church polity or the administration of the sacraments or any other related matter, please share it with me before implementing. We belong to a Diocese, a Province and a Communion.
With every good wish and God’s blessings!
The Rt. Rev’d C. Leopold Friday
Bishop of the Windward Islands