The Diocese of Perpetual Fear

As most of you know by now, I am an Episcopalian without a church.

The tiny church that I was a part of split in two during the Year of Corona, along a fault line that lay between those who were afraid and those who were not afraid. The former group, although they were in the minority, got the church building by calling on the bishop for help. The latter group, the majority — the Bolsheviks, as it were — went into exile. Our little congregation includes the priest, the organist, the lay reader — that’s me — and several other members of the congregation. We meet clandestinely on Sundays in the living room of one of our number, and have lunch afterwards in the adjacent dining room. We never wear masks or social distance from one another, take communion in the normal fashion, and sing joyously without worrying about contagion.

However, the leadership and the bureaucracy of the Diocese of Southern Virginia — what Dymphna used to call the “Winter Palace” — are very much on the fearful side of the dividing line. They became officially afraid in March of 2020, and have remained afraid ever since, refusing to release the churches of the diocese from bondage even after Governor Coonman cancelled the state of emergency and let his people go.

Today the Winter Palace sent out the following advisory to remind the sheep that they must remain very, very afraid. I used to think Christians put their trust in the Lord, but now we are commanded to place our trust in Fauci, and in Him alone.

You’ll note that the call to alarm in this missive is based on “cases”. Not on whether more people are getting sick or dying from the dreaded Corona, but on instrument readings generated by notoriously inaccurate tests that purport to detect the presence of Lucifer COVID-19 in the bodies of the faithful.

Emphases are in the original:

Health Advisory Panel Update

The coronavirus is not receding. In the first fourteen days of the month, the number of cases nationwide increased by 49%. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the number of new cases surged by over 80%. Tragically, the number succumbing to the virus nation-wide surpassed 800,000 deaths. Spiking hospitalizations are constraining hospital services to non-COVID patients.

We are all accustomed to the need for additional precautions each winter as temperatures drop and cases of the flu and the common cold rise, but this is not an ordinary year. The presence of the coronavirus, the rise in hospitalizations attributable to the delta variant, and the speed at which the omicron variant is spreading reinforce the importance of being vigilant in safeguarding our own health and the health of others.

Our Health Advisory Panel met again on Monday of this week and in light of these developments urged caution, particularly when holding public gatherings, including worship. Accordingly, I am issuing my strongest statement this calendar year regarding safe worship practices. COVID protocols matter. While decision-making about congregation-specific protocols remains with parish clergy and vestries, congregations must revisit their protocols and reinforce measures to mitigate the risk of transmission including mask wearing at worship and physical distancing. Readiness for effective contact tracing also merits consideration. This is not the time to relax safe practices, even though all of us are more than ready for the pandemic to recede.

Congregations must assure that their designated Health Coordinator or Health Equity Team monitor developments and adjust protocols based on local health indicators, and in particular, the number of cases per 100,000 people in their city, county, or health district.

That information is accessible here.

Currently the 7-day average number of cases per 100,000 has risen to 29.9 across the Commonwealth, but local numbers vary. Accurate data is essential to sound decision-making.

As I wrote to you just two weeks ago, “together, we are ‘weathering the storm’ of this pandemic, and together we put our trust in God who is guiding us to re-emerge.” Let’s persevere and take heart.

Psalm 91:1-4a:
You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress; my God in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence;
he will cover you with his pinions and under his wings you will find refuge.

21 thoughts on “The Diocese of Perpetual Fear

  1. and from the deadly pestilence; AMEN!
    and do your part by taking Vitamins C & D so your body that God created has what it needs to answer the virus when it comes a knocking.

    • A more complete immune-boosting regimen would also include vitamins E, D3, and K2, plus zinc, quercetin, and elderberry extract.

      • and don’t forget magnesium and Vitamin C (which was very effective against the Spanish Flu and as a result put orange growing SoCal on the map)

    • What, with a commie pope who gets his cut of anything I put in the collection plate? No thanks!

      • Try the Anglican church.
        When his Episcopal Church split they went Anglican (not British Anglican, but Ugandan!) and no one has ever looked back.

        • I’m familiar with the (non-Episcopalian) Anglican Church, but there aren’t any of them anywhere near me. In my immediate area there are dozens of Baptist churches, maybe 5 or 6 Methodist churches, a few Pentacostals, one Presbyterian church, one Church of the Brethren, and one Episcopal church — the one I used to go to. There are no Anglican, Orthodox, Lutheran, or Catholic churches, nor any synagogues. And no mosques, thank the Lord!

          • The Red pope is on his way out, as for his successor, it depends if the traditionalists can overcome the commie jesuits and lavender mafia. I predict more than a few deaths on the part of some Cardinals during conclave.

      • Yes, Francis Bergoglio may be Catholic (in the broadest meaning of the term), but he is definitely not Christian! I would even affirm that he is definitely anti-Christian (remember him worshipping Pacha Mama in the Vatican?)

      • Baron,

        You know that there is a home for Anglicans inside the Catholic Church? It’s called the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter (covers the US & Canada). We have parishes everywhere & celebrate the Mass like a proper High Anglican (with Catholic tweaks).

        Check it out:

        • Thank you, but as I said up above, the commie pope gets his cut of anything I put in the collection plate. The Catholic Church, as an institution, is thoroughly corrupt.

          Furthermore, as I also mentioned, there are no Catholic churches of any stripe anywhere near me. If I don’t want Baptist or Methodist, my choices are very limited. Our little church is the only Episcopal one for many miles around.

  2. I really enjoy the music of the Anglican church.
    Maybe it’s because the British have such good choirs, where Anglicanism originates, and maybe it is because they draw on (and vice versa) the rich liturgical music of the Catholic Church as well as other protestant denominations.

    An example of a beautiful hymn is this three minute hymn 6:29 into the service of St. Catherine’s in Gorseinon, Wales:

    It was written by a man named Stuart Townend in 2011 who grew up in West Yorkshire as the youngest son of an Anglican vicar, although he is now a worship leader of Christ the King in Brighton, which belongs to a popular protestant movement in the UK. He’s written some other fantastic music. I found St. Catherine’s when my church shut down for covid, and I still take in the 40 minutes or so to watch their service every Sunday no matter how much church I get in, both for their worship music and because their priests and lay members offer such a good, meaningful service. (That’s in spite of my being a yank (American, although I may be considered a northerner too, I’m not sure how westerners who are not from the southwest are considered these days in those terms.)

    I can hardly wait till they turn the Lords prayer from “Our Father in heaven” into”Our Fauci/Drosten/Lauterbach in heaven”.

  4. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I do believe that one of the goals of the mass hysteria around Covid-19 was to deal a heavy (if possible, mortal) blow to Christian faith.

    • Seems to me it’s just been one big, drunk on power/importance by most of those in Government – enjoying the ride. A convenient, panic driven, mass hysteria to help usher in this, “Great Reset” global blobby whatever it is they want. Whatever falls by the wayside, who cares, right?

      Who tried to maintain some semblance of rationality, to create safety for the vulnerable, yet not “imprison” healthy people? Sweden, some small towns America, a couple Governors. Not sure who else?

  5. Not religious, and have been against the shutdowns from the beginning – I felt very suspicious, and very alone in that experience.

    Why can’t the churches just say, hey, if you are afraid, don’t go to church. If you aren’t, come to services. Makes sense to me.

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