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I would like to take a brief moment to address the current state of our parish's coronavirus guidelines, having reviewed directions given by our Archbishop and the Dean/Rector of our parish. The goal of this is simply so that there is a consistent understanding of what is expected. I am happy to answer any further questions that anyone may have. The Dean of the Michigan ROCOR parishes, Archpriest Gregory Joyce is also happy to discuss.
There are three principles undergirding these guidelines, which are all central to our lives as Orthodox Christians: Love, Obedience and Sobriety. We are called to love - God and neighbor. The essence of love is sacrifice for the sake of the other. Everything that we do, say and think must be rooted in love. As Orthodox Christians we are under authority. This does not mean we check our minds at the door. It does mean that we make decisions within the context of the life of the Church and the authorities over us in the Church. We are chiefly under authority to Christ, which we find expressed in the ministry of the Bishop and those priests he appoints to serve the flock. With the exception of heretical teachings or immorality, obedience to the ruling bishop of a diocese is expected of the faithful and understood to be an essential aspect of maintaining spiritual health. Finally, we are called to sobriety - which means stability and self-control. We seek to walk a disciplined and orderly path, not veering to the right or the left, but simply toward Christ. We must not give ourselves over to anything which leads us from this path to Christ. Fear, despondency, despair, conspiracy, violence - none of these have any place in our lives. That's not to say we never experience those things, but they are all things we must struggle against and ask for Divine assistance in our struggle.
Over the past 10 months we have received various communications from federal, state and religious authorities regarding "best practices" and "requirements" for how to respond to the coronavirus. Each person is entitled to their own opinion about these communications. For the past several weeks we have had posted guidelines regarding our parish and the coronavirus. I've had some questions recently about them, and some concern about the consistency of their application. I am posting them here again, with slight modification, and I ask you to read them prayerfully. To consider them in light of the foundation of Love, Obedience and Sobriety. To seek Christ in the midst of these frustrating times, instead of wandering to the right or to the left. Again, I am available to anyone with further questions regarding these guidelines.
I pray for the day that this is all behind us. In the meantime I pray that we can weather the storm together with love, patience and grace. Please pray for Archbishop Peter, for his health and that God would give him wisdom as he leads our diocese. Please pray for our Rector, Father Gregory, along with myself and all of the clergy, as we seek to walk a balanced road, guiding our parishes through these challenging times.
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