|LETTER CONCERNING THE CORONAVIRUS 2019 (COVID-19) OUTBREAK|
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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On Thursday (March 12), the religious leaders of Austria were summoned to the Chancellor’s office. There they were invited by the government to share in efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus by closing their churches for worship and other activities as of Monday, 16 March. The reason for the government’s request is to reduce social contact, to protect the most vulnerable and as stated above to stem the spread of the virus. The church leaders led by the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, all agreed to comply.
At this time we at Christ Church must play our part. We do not want to endanger anyone or to contribute to the spread of the virus. This is not a time to have regard only for oneself. It is a time to have regard for the well-being of others.
This Sunday (March 15) there will be services at the usual times of 8am, 10am and 6pm, but I urge you to take into account, and act on, the following: I discourage you from attending any of those services, especially if you belong to one of the vulnerable groups. There will be no Kids Church. There will be no coffee after 10am or supper after 6pm service. There will be no Sunday morning Bible study.
As of Monday, 16 March, we will only open the church for private prayer at the usual times, but not for communal worship (and especially not for socialising). The centre is closed, and will only be opened for the purposes of the washing of hands and/or using the toilets. This includes any other activities that we had planned for the foreseeable future.
The measures being taken by the government and now the churches are drastic and unprecedented. They alert us to the seriousness of the situation we are facing. Be assured that they have not been taken lightly, but now that they have been taken I strongly urge all of us to adhere to them with purpose of mind and to the best of our ability, so that we can put this specific crisis behind us sooner than rather than later. That must now be our aim.
Last night I heard form “reliable sources” that other measures will be announced today. The situation changes at least daily and sometimes even hourly. Keep a look out for updates and announcements.
I am reminded, as I write this letter, of a verse from Psalm 121. It is one of the Psalms of Ascents. It was recited as the Jewish pilgrims went up to the Temple in Jerusalem, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” Let us continue to put our trust in the Lord, while using all the resources that God has gifted us with to act prudently, wisely and for the common good.
Revd Canon Patrick Curran (Chaplain)
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.
You can download a copy of this letter here [pdf, 99kb].