March 21, 2020
My Dear Spiritual Children,
Many of your hearts are wounded at this time. Many are sad and disappointed. Many are confused. Many are afraid.
Know that in these things I love you. Fr. David loves you. Your deacons love you. His Eminence loves you. And most of all, God loves you and cares for you.
For myself, for our deacons, and for His Eminence, we can all say that we too are wounded this day. We too are sad. We too are disappointed. Life is not turning out right now in a way that we would have hoped, and certainly not in a way we would have expected!
I am quite sure that His Eminence never would have expected to command his clergy to stand down from Sunday liturgy or to fail to observe the holy Feast of Annunciation. I surely never expected to receive such an order, and I would be lying if I did not confess that it hurt me to receive it.
But know that in this time we are still one family, knit together in love and in Jesus Christ. Christian history is filled with less-than-ideal times and less-than-ideal circumstances. Surely the Apostle Paul did not like the fact that he could not be with the Corinthian church when it was facing its struggles with heresy, perversion, and the corruption of the liturgical life. But Paul found ways: sending letters and emissaries so that even if circumstances prevented him from being with the Corinthians, he was still able to minister to them in some way from afar.
Sadly, this quarantine that the government has recommended for us, and which our bishop has reluctantly adopted for the diocese, will largely prevent the clergy from seeing the people face-to-face, and will prevent us from gathering together for worship and fellowship. Let us pray that the recommendations and restrictions are soon relaxed, even as we pray for the dissipation of the virus.
In the meantime, I intend to follow St. Paul’s example, and to write to you frequently, providing spiritual commentary and counsel in the midst of this epidemic, and sharing practical suggestions for how we might live out a life of faith in a quarantined world.
Please know that if you have a true emergency, I will be available to come to you and minister to you. Typically, as in more normal times, I would ask that requests for visitation be made through Dn. Alex. But if there is an emergency and he is unavailable, my direct number is 907-737-2200. Please pray for me and my family in this time, even as we will be praying for you. Dn. Alex has graciously made up a community prayer list for us so that we can better pray for each other and our loved ones at this time.
My brothers and sisters, do not live in fear of this thing. Love God. Keep the commandments. Love one another. We’ll get through this. In the end, God wins, and if we walk in faith, we will share in his victory.
With Love and Devotion in Christ,