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A message from Bishop Klusmeyer:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This morning, I packed my car and started the drive to the Eastern Panhandle for my official visitation this weekend.
Along the way, I stopped for lunch, and quickly checked my email. I saw that someone wrote to let me know that their county schools were now closed. How odd, I thought.
I got back in the car and continued my trek across the State.
Just a few minutes later, I received a phone call, saying that The Diocese of Wheeling Charleston was trying to get in touch with me, so I pulled over and made the call back. (I have to admit that at that moment, I was listening to The Catholic Channel, and hearing about all of the responses from the various Roman Catholic Bishops and their dioceses, with regard to the Coronavirus.
In speaking with Bishop Brennan’s office, it was clear that we are all struggling with the same issues. Initially we both called for the deliberate cautions that should be practiced: wash hands; avoid touch at the Peace; perhaps restricting the use of the Chalice…etc.
But it was then that I learned that the Governor of West Virginia had just called for the closing of all schools ‘for an undetermined time.’ For both Bishop Brennan and myself, that seemed to turn the tide.
In nearly 40 years in the ordained ministry, and nearly 20 years as Bishop of West Virginia, I have NEVER canceled a Church Service! (there was perhaps 1 or 2 that I could not get to due to weather).
But we appear to be in a new environment.
The COVID-19 appears to have many baffled. Responses are coming, but the one common aspect is that social gatherings should be limited. Around us, many Dioceses have already canceled all public worship services: DC, Virginia, Lexington and more.
So, I am writing to say that all public services are to be ceased for the foreseeable future…. I hope that this will be 2 weeks. But, we will revisit this daily.
I ask that you use the Holy Season of Lent to spend time in personal reflection. As the Book of Common Prayer says, in Lent we are invited to
The observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. And, to make a right eginning of repentance and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.”
I pray that while the Eucharist will not be available at our parishes and missions, that other means of corporate/virtual/electronic means of gathering will take place.
This is being done out of an abundance of caution, and for the health of our parishioners.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office.
God bless you!
The Rt Rev W Michie Klusmeyer
Bishop of West Virginia
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