Bishop Stokes Announces Immediate Suspension of Public Worship Services

Bishop Stokes Statement on COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Guidelines for churches, staff and members
March 12, 2020
Sermon: LENT V – March 29 2020
March 29, 2020
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Bishop Stokes Announces Immediate Suspension of Public Worship Services

March 13, 2020 3:51 PM EST

From: The Right Reverend William H. Stokes, D.D.
12th Bishop of New Jersey

“’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40

Effective immediately, I am directing all churches in the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey to suspend public worship services and all other non-essential public gatherings until further notice. We will re-evaluate this decision as Holy Week approaches to determine whether it is safe and appropriate to re-open our buildings to our congregants and the wider public at that time.

In my previous communications regarding the COVID-19 Crisis, I stated that the situation was fluid and that we would evaluate and adjust our practices as necessary. After prayer and deliberate consideration, and in consultation with others, I have determined that we need to take more proactive steps to protect people and help stem the spread of the Coronavirus.

Read the full letter