The following is a press release from the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, dated March 11, 2020.
As you may have heard, today Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde directed that all parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington suspend worship services and normal parish operations for two weeks as the Washington region grapples with the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. That directive includes Washington National Cathedral.
As the world grapples with this virus and all that it entails, each of us will be called to make changes, adjustments and perhaps difficult decisions. This decision was not an easy one, but it is something for which Bishop Budde has our full support.
This decision was made for two reasons. First, the Cathedral and the Diocese are fully committed to following the guidance of health professionals, who advise against large gatherings of people in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19. Second, and more importantly, we are called to protect the health and wellbeing of our entire community, particularly the most vulnerable among us.
As Christians, and as Americans, we must do everything within our power to help stop the spread of this pandemic. That will mean decisions both large and small. It is our moral, religious and civic obligation to take whatever steps are necessary.
For now, through March 25, all Cathedral tours, programs and concerts will be suspended. Because we are committed to being a house of prayer for all people, we will continue to broadcast a “virtual” Sunday liturgy at 11:15 a.m., and we invite you to join us online at either cathedral.org, or our Facebook page. The building will be closed, but we will follow the Scriptural admonition to pray without ceasing.
After this two-week suspension, we will reassess the conditions and we hope to reopen on March 26, and welcome everyone to worship on Sunday, March 29. We are making decisions one day at a time, and will approach each decision with the health of our community as our foremost priority.
These are anxious and uneasy times. The tension is palpable, and everyone is desperate for certainty. The one thing that we know for sure is that God’s love is stronger, deeper and more life-giving than anything else that comes our way. The Psalmist reminds us that our help comes from the Lord, and that is what we cling to as we make our way through the world.
I encourage you to check our website for updated information. I also encourage you to check on your friends and neighbors, to be kind and generous of spirit and to rest in the assurances of God’s grace. We will get through this, and we will get through it together.
With every blessing,
The Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith
Dean, Washington National Cathedral
For more information about the Washington National Cathedral, visit our page here.