On Being Faithful embraces the key principles of effective communication, subsidiarity, sustainability, liability and advocacy – principles that are best summarized, if not better articulated and incarnated in the notion of accountability. As the community of faith in Southeast Florida we are called to love the God who has created us in God’s image to become God’s likeness, incarnated in the human face of Jesus, who commands us to love God and our neighbor, both the one we see and more importantly the one we cannot see. Distracted by the deadly virus, we may have lost sight of the fact that we are this year marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of our diocese under the banner of One Spirit, Many Faces. This almost forgotten celebration invites us to renew and revitalize our ministries and mission for new and what are now significantly altered circumstances, to courageous witness in the face of all that feels counter-intuitive, and to a new and mutual accountability which affirms that under God we are One Spirit, Many Faces.
This document serves two purposes:
- To offer Hope to our communities in this uncertain time
- To help us think through how we can imagine re-entry and gathering together again in our church buildings.
Our Diocese provides these guidelines that will govern how each church, school and special ministry moves forward through this time of COVID-19. Bishop Eaton will need to approve all plans at every stage.
We are encouraged to think of the process we will follow as a movement through a series of seasons.
These seasons are fluid. We might move into Season 2, and then back to Season 1 for a time. Even within each season, we’ll make incremental changes as the public health data evolves and as we learn from our experiences.
This will take time. We can’t simply open our doors and go back to the way things were. As the Church, our first priority must be to care for one another, especially the most vulnerable.
The process of re-entry will be local and data-driven. While we may be anxious to re-gather, we must be prudent and courageous in our leadership to witness to our faithfulness to love God and neighbor. One church might move into a new season sooner or later than its neighbors.