August 5, 2021
Dear Clergy and Wardens in the Diocese of Tennessee,
“Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem’ (This is a wilderness road)” (Acts 8:26).
I write to you once again, as leaders in the church, to encourage you in your ministries, and to share a further update to the protocols of “The Wilderness Road: Acts 8,” our diocesan response to the Coronavirus.
In keeping with recent public health advisories issued by the Centers for Disease Control, I am again recommending general mask wearing in our churches, as provided for in our diocesan protocols.
If we know anything about travelling on the “Wilderness Road,” we know it has many twists and turns. We are in a changing environment in regards to the pandemic, with increasing numbers of cases in many places. Our diocesan response acknowledges this reality.
This communication is addressed to clergy and lay leadership rather than to the membership of our diocese as a whole, in order to allow you as leaders, in consultation with your people, to make considered, prudent, and timely decisions for your congregations. We have many different contexts and situations in our diocese, and the grace to exercise good judgment. My intention is to support you in your work, and to exercise care for our congregations.
The members of our diocese have shown ourselves in the past to be resilient and flexible in the face of the unexpected. I know we will continue to move forward in our mission and ministry. You remain in my thanksgivings and in my prayers.
The Rt. Rev’d John Bauerschmidt, Bishop of Tennessee