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(The State) Identified coronavirus cases in South Carolina reaches 2,417

South Carolina health officials identified 187 new cases of the coronavirus Tuesday, bringing the statewide total of known cases to 2,417.

Three additional South Carolinians have died as a result of the disease, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. All three were 60 years old or older, and had underlying health conditions. Two were from Lexington County and one was from Greenville County, according to DHEC.

Statewide, the death toll is now 51.

The actual number of S.C. cases is likely higher than what is being reported. As of Sunday evening, DHEC estimated the state had more than 15,000 cases of COVID-19, meaning about 85% of cases have not been tested or identified.

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Posted in * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, State Government

([London] Times) Nigerian General who said Boko Haram are winning is sacked

A senior Nigerian army officer has been relieved of command after a leaked video showed him saying that his forces were outgunned by Islamist fighters.

Major-General Olusegun Adeniyi was removed as head of the operation in the northeast of the country after he was recorded describing an ambush by Boko Haram, who fired hundreds of mortar bombs and rocket-propelled grenades, killing scores of Nigerian soldiers. Many of his colleagues believe that they are losing the wider battle against the militants.

The military claimed that 47 troops died in the attack near the village of Gorgi last month, but sources on the ground said the death toll was nearly twice that.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Military / Armed Forces, Nigeria, Politics in General, Terrorism

(Sightings) Lijia Xie–Patience in the Pandemic: Hurrying to wait in the time of COVID-19

“For time is the essential ingredient; but in the modern world, there is no time.”
–Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Less than four months after the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was first reported, public warnings and action have escalated quickly past their previously steady crescendo. Though early reports were uncertain about the extent of the contagion’s threat, the number of cases in the United States has since skyrocketed, and organizations around the country have responded urgently and dramatically. A wave of schools across the country—including the University of Chicago—asked students not to return following spring break, and students and teachers alike have been required to adapt quickly to online formats for the foreseeable future. Local, state, and even national governments have declared states of emergency or ordered lockdowns.

These large scale efforts at “social distancing” are grounded in sound epidemiology: slowing the rate of transmission is necessary in order to avoid overburdening healthcare systems and leaving doctors in the impossible dilemma of choosing which patients to treat and not treat, as is currently the case in Italy. History also offers its proof: public health experts note that in the 1918 flu pandemic, non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), like the ones currently being enacted, implemented at an early phase of the epidemic, drastically lowered peak mortality rates and total mortality. Moreover, given a new virus with even higher rates of transmission, each day that passes without intervention can result in magnitudes of difference in outcomes of infection. The urgency of this moment has required collective hurrying and quick response.

But now we must wait.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine

(CC) The coronavirus pandemic is exposing the myth of self-reliance

I’m writing from home, where I am blessed and forced to be, sitting in the same chair where this morning I led worship and preached over Face­book Live to a congregation that encouraged me as I became a televangelist before their eyes, taking breaks from the gospel to wave to my four-year-old and my husband as they ran in and out of the screen.

Church looks different. Family looks different. Home looks different. School looks different. I am not homeschooling, despite having downloaded about 200 lists of “fun learning activities for kids to do at home.” Mostly I am refereeing fights in between Zoom calls and trying to figure out where God is in the midst of coronavirus haze and anxiety. I can no longer take daily life for granted, even as I can’t take toilet paper for granted, even as my dear friend who’s a nurse in California can’t take having proper protection in the ICU for granted.

Our capitalist system and our individualistic society have long rendered faith as cheap and acts of selfless love as obsolete or even stupid. Now we are asked to sacrifice for one another. We need Easter more than ever, and we are stuck in a Lent where sometimes it seems like no one wants to carry their cross.

We’ve mistreated valuable people and made them invisible. Home health care and hospice workers are easily discarded in America, while stock traders are cherished and protected. Our prized possessions arrive in a box on our doorstep from halfway around the world, and only now that they might be carrying a virus do we care about the low-wage worker in Asia who sewed our new sweatpants or the Amazon worker who raced to get back from his three-minute bathroom break to tape the box together on time.

A gift of this pandemic is that we can no longer make each other invisible….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Health & Medicine

(NPR) Hindered By A Pandemic, Religious Leaders Prepare For Holidays

“Mayors have had to have sessions explaining that the doors are not open for the churches to gather,” said Jesse Rincones, Executive Director of Convención Bautista Hispana de Texas — a collection of over 1,100 Hispanic Baptist congregations in Texas.

Like other clergies still working to serve their congregations, the organization is trying to preserve a sense of community amid a loss of routine, ritual and, at times, a sense of peace. Rincones, a pastor of 18 years, has been helping other churches’ leaders move their services online.

The technology aspect has been easier on the United Hebrew Congregation in St. Louis, says Rabbi Brigitte Rosenberg. UHC, which serves over 900 families, already had its livestreaming services set up for the homebound and college students, the rabbi said. Still, it’s a different experience.

“I know for many congregants it has taken some getting used to not being together and just sitting in their homes and listening and feeling like they’re watching as opposed to participating,” she said.

The virtual transition will be particularly challenging during the Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins on Wednesday. The St. Louis synagogue is encouraging its congregants to allow for some flexibility with normally strict traditions. This year, the United Hebrew Congregation will be hosting its Passover Seder online.

“Whereas we may not be utilizing technology on a normal Passover, we are going to be using it this time so that we can connect,” Rosenberg said.

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Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(NYT) How Will We Know When It’s Time to Reopen the Nation?

Gregg Gonsalves, a professor of epidemiology and law at Yale, said: “I’d feel better if we had serological testing, and could preferentially allow those who are antibody positive and no longer infectious to return to work first. The point is, though, that we are nowhere even near accomplishing any of these criteria. Opening up before then will be met with a resurgence of the virus.”
He added, “That’s the thing that keeps me up every night.”

Until we get a vaccine or effective drug treatments, focusing on these major criteria, and directing efforts toward them, should help us determine how we are progressing locally, and how we might achieve each goal.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence’s Palm Sunday Sermon at Christ Saint Paul’s Yonges Island

Morning worship including a sermon from Bishop Lawrence for Palm Sunday which starts at about 35:15ish….

Posted in * South Carolina, Christology, Holy Week, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(ACNS) Archbishop Geoffrey Smith elected Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia

The Archbishop of Adelaide, Archbishop Geoffrey Smith, has today (Tuesday) been elected Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia. Archbishop Geoffrey assumes his new responsibilities with immediate effect as his successor, the Archbishop of Melbourne Philip Freier, retired from the primacy on 31 March.

In a first round of elections, held on 14 March, Archbishop Geoffrey won majorities in the Houses of Bishops and Laity; and the Bishop of Tasmania, Bishop Richard Condie, won a majority in the House of Clergy. A majority was required in all three houses.

A second round of electronic voting opened yesterday and concluded today.

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Posted in Anglican Church of Australia

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Arthur McCheane

O Lord Jesu Christ, who as on this day of the Holy Week didst teach the people in the temple at Jerusalem, and also instruct thy disciples on the Mount of Olives: Grant us the ready mind at all times to learn what thou wouldest teach us, that thy word may dwell in us richly in all wisdom; for the glory of thy holy name.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Zion stretches out her hands, but there is none to comfort her; the LORD has commanded against Jacob that his neighbors should be his foes; Jerusalem has become a filthy thing among them. “The LORD is in the right, for I have rebelled against his word; but hear, all you peoples, and behold my suffering; my maidens and my young men have gone into captivity. “I called to my lovers but they deceived me; my priests and elders perished in the city, while they sought food to revive their strength. “Behold, O LORD, for I am in distress, my soul is in tumult, my heart is wrung within me, because I have been very rebellious. In the street the sword bereaves; in the house it is like death. “Hear how I groan; there is none to comfort me. All my enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that thou hast done it. Bring thou the day thou hast announced, and let them be as I am. “Let all their evil doing come before thee; and deal with them as thou hast dealt with me because of all my transgressions; for my groans are many and my heart is faint.”

–Lamentations 1:17-22

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(CT) Timothy Dalrymple–Joy Comes in the Morning

That’s what it felt like to have a heart attack. Then it felt like flashes of fear in the night as you wonder whether your heartbeat feels normal; a staggered coming-to-grips with the trauma of what occurred; concern your spouse should be provided for; grieving at the thought of your children standing over an early grave; taking more pictures than normal so they will have something to look back on.

Then it felt like—joy. Joy to be alive. Joy at the simple pleasure of drawing breath and feeling the sweet stillness of a moment. Joy at the way the sunlight feels when it lifts the water off your skin. Joy at the warmth of your beloved’s breath upon your cheek. Joy at how the glowing light dances across the embers of a fire, and the sparks tumble skyward.

Sometimes we need to view our lives through a mirror. In our sorrow we learn to appreciate joy. In loss we discover how much we have gained. Death reflects the sacredness and fragility of life.

One thing I have heard amid the pandemic is this: Is it okay to feel joy? Is it acceptable, when so many are suffering, that I am finding joy in additional time for stillness or for family? Is it wrong for me to discover that I am oddly joyful amid the isolation?

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Posted in Holy Week, Theology: Scripture

(CNBC) Are Body Temperature Checks before entry into Places of Business Coming in the Future?

Tyson Foods is using walk-through infrared body temperature scanners at three processing plants in an effort to keep coronavirus out of its sites and maintain the stability of U.S. food supply.

The scanners can check employees’ temperature as they walk into the building.

Tyson gave CNBC an exclusive first look at video of how the walk-through scanners work.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Theology

(The State) Governor McMaster toughens South Carolina coronavirus stance with ‘go to work or stay home’ order

Seeking to further minimize movement across the state, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued a more pointed executive order Monday telling people to stay at home if they are not at work or out tending to essential needs.

The executive order takes effect Tuesday, and follows a number of other mandates McMaster already has issued prohibiting large gatherings, closing access to beaches and lakes and closing many nonessential businesses to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, a potentially severe upper respiratory disease.

It also comes after days of McMaster urging South Carolina residents to use “common sense” and stay home if they can.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, State Government

(NYT Op-ed) Tish Warren–I Miss Singing at Church

…we believe that God came not as a book or a codex of laws or as a hologram or a creed or an idea, but as a person in a body, Jesus. In assuming a body, God redeems embodiment itself. Therefore, we believe in the resurrection not merely of the soul, floating away to some ephemeral mist, but also of the body.

Before two weeks ago, it was pretty easy to ignore the brute fact of our embodiment. We can habituate ourselves to noticing our bodies only when we are counting up their flaws or trying to improve them, as though they are a beast to tame or marble to sculpt. Or we can be tempted to embrace the digital revolution so wholeheartedly that we prefer the company of an avatar on a screen over the ordinary goodness of being a body with other bodies. Or we can ignore bodies altogether, focusing completely on the life of the mind. Or more often, on the bottom line.

This virus has exposed that we have whole segments of society that do not have paid sick leave, and human resource policies and cultures that depend upon overlooking the pesky reality that any worker has a limited and needy body that deserves care.

We must embrace social distancing, for as long is as needed, to protect our health care system and the very real, fleshy bodies of millions of people. But we also need to collectively notice that something profound is lost by having to interact with the world and our neighbors in mostly disembodied, digital ways. This is something to lament and to grieve. And like all grief, it exposes the value and glory of the thing that was lost.

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Posted in Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(The State) ‘Easter’s not canceled.’ As pandemic threatens sacred week, people of faith find hope

There won’t be choral cantatas and churchwide egg hunts and congregations gathered for sunrise services or sunset prayers.

There won’t be extended family dinners or traditional communion ceremonies.

Two of the most significant religious seasons of the year, Easter and Passover, collide this week with a historic season of illness, anxiety and widespread isolation, as the coronavirus pandemic bears down across the globe.

While traditions and ceremonies have been dampened, the significance and spiritual comfort of the holidays has been heightened. And while churches and synagogues across the nation and here in the Midlands will have their doors closed to most parishioners this week, their messages of hope and meaning will be spoken far and wide.

“I would say, in fact, the meaning has been magnified,” said George Wright, pastor of Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia. “This Easter, everybody is recognizing life is not normal. In that reflective mode, people are asking questions they normally don’t consider. They’re looking for hope and looking for some answers in all of this.”

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Posted in * South Carolina, Easter, Holy Week, Religion & Culture

(EF) Gilbert Lennox–Keeping our heads above water

But then the ‘ghost’ spoke. This was no trick of the light. They weren’t imagining things. There were words, real communication that all could hear: “Take courage. It is I. Do not be afraid.” This was no ghost: it was Jesus. The storm did not cease when Jesus spoke but what a difference his words made: “It is I.” Jesus was walking through the storm with them. And what a difference those same words can make to us as our current storm hits deeper each day: “Take courage. It is I. Do not be afraid.” The Lord is with us in the storm, just as he promised his disciples as he commissioned them to take the gospel to the world: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). In the final weeks before his death, the Lord repeatedly referred to the fact that he was going away, preparing his disciples for the time when he would no longer be physically present with them. “I will not leave you as orphans”, he said, “I will come to you”. They would no longer be able to see him, have a meal with him, go for a walk with him. But he would be present. The Lord is with us in every storm, whether we feel he is or not. In a storm our emotions are as unstable as the sea. We must expect that. In our house we have experienced anxiety, tears, fear and frustration and we are just in the early days of this crisis. But we can make the truth of Christ’s presence with us more real by doing what the disciples did that day on the Sea of Galilee: listening to his words and following what he says.

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Posted in Christology, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Scripture

(NYT) The New Jersey Nurse Was Holding Up. Then Her 3 Close Relatives Were Brought In.

Twelve doctors at her hospital and the chief executive were sickened with the coronavirus. A colleague had died. Patients as young as 19 were being placed on ventilators.

But Michele Acito, the director of nursing at Holy Name Medical Center, in the hardest-hit town in New Jersey’s hardest-hit county, felt like she was holding up.

Then her mother-in-law, sister-in-law and brother-in-law arrived.

The disease that has crippled New York City is now enveloping New Jersey’s densely packed cities and suburbs. The state’s governor said on Friday that New Jersey was about a week behind New York, where scenes of panicked doctors have gripped the nation.

Hospitals in the state are scrambling to convert cafeterias and pediatric wings into intensive care units. Ventilators are running low. One in three nursing homes has at least one resident with the virus.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

A Palm Sunday Sermon 2020 from Bishop Mark Lawrence

Palm Sunday Sermon 2020 from Bishop Mark Lawrence from The Anglican Diocese of SC on Vimeo.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Holy Week, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the American BCP

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother.

To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Acha”²ia:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

–2 Corinthians 1:1-7

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Coronavirus: The Queen’s broadcast this afternoon in full

Across the Commonwealth and around the world, we have seen heart-warming stories of people coming together to help others, be it through delivering food parcels and medicines, checking on neighbours, or converting businesses to help the relief effort.

And though self-isolating may at times be hard, many people of all faiths, and of none, are discovering that it presents an opportunity to slow down, pause and reflect, in prayer or meditation.

It reminds me of the very first broadcast I made, in 1940, helped by my sister.

We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety.

Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

American Hero Burnell Cotlon–one of the ordinary people helping to hold our country together in this difficult time

Take the time to watch it all.

Posted in Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Care, Urban/City Life and Issues

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry

A Prayer for Palm Sunday from the Church of South India

O Christ, the King of glory, who didst enter the holy city in meekness to be made perfect through the suffering of death: Give us grace, we beseech thee, in all our life here to take up our cross daily and follow thee, that hereafter we may rejoice with thee in thy heavenly kingdom; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God, world without end.

Posted in Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in.
Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle!
Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory!

–Psalm 24:7-10

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Paul R. Hinlicky–Why Virtual Communion Is Not Nearly Radical Enough

Now to return to virtual communion and the recommendation for Eucharistic fasting during this divine judgment on our social greed. Let’s take an exemplary proponent, Lutheran theologian Prof. Deanna Thompson, who is now at St. Olaf College. She is a personally credible interlocutor on the question of “virtual” ministry, as she writes out of her excruciating experience of life-threatening cancer in the prime of life. She’s published a book, The Virtual Body of Christ, in which she makes the case for employing the new social media technologies just as the Lutheran Reformation employed the Gutenberg press. I agree with much of this, as I said above. Nevertheless, I respectfully and yet sharply disagree with her urging in the present pandemic crisis that people at home should set up bread and wine, as if to participate via the Internet in the live streaming of the Lord’s Supper liturgy. As I’ve listened and pondered the arguments being made in favor of this proposal, I have come to a certain realization which I would like briefly to argue here.

Let me begin, by affirming that Christ is “really” in the preached word which can be conveyed through these media. He is really present to offer himself in his righteousness, life and peace for the auditor’s sin, death and disease. Long ago, however, I discovered that in the Lutheran confessional writings what was at stake was never this so-called “real” presence but rather the “bodily” presence of Jesus Christ according to his word and promise. What difference does this apparently subtle distinction make? Answer: historically it excluded the so-called “spiritual” (or “real”) presence as the specific blessing or benefit of the Lord’s Supper just as it excludes notions of “invisible” church as the “real” church as opposed to the visible assembly gathered around Word and sacrament. By the Holy Spirit the word of the gospel awakens faith and if we want to speak of “spiritual presence,” we are talking about this ministry of the Holy Spirit who makes Jesus Christ “real” to us. But what differentiates the Lord’s Supper is the promised presence of Jesus Christ personally in his own body-and-blood, so that the blessing is not merely privative, the forgiveness of sins, but also positive: life and salvation on account of this specific union with Christ that consists in physical eating and drinking in the common meal of the Lord.

Why does this specificity of Jesus’ bodily presence matter? For one thing, it concerns the identity of Jesus Christ as the very body born of Mary and crucified under Pontius Pilate but vindicated and exalted to be present in his glorified body for the gathering of his faithful. This act of identification is precisely what the Lord’s Supper liturgy depends on, the specific act in the gathering as the church when a specific loaf is picked out with the words, “this is my body given for you….”

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Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Eucharist, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Science & Technology

(NYT) Holdout States Resist Calls for Stay-at-Home Orders: ‘What Are You Waiting For?’

A stretch of Interstate 40, which runs from downtown Memphis across the Mississippi River into Arkansas, has come to illustrate the patchwork of rules restricting movement in the United States. On the Arkansas side of the river, where the governor has resisted a statewide mandate, some “nonessential” businesses remain open. On the Tennessee side, a stay-at-home order went into effect this week, closing stores.

Now, the owner of a chain of clothing stores called Deep South located on both sides of the Mississippi is operating under two different sets of rules. The company’s owner, Munther Awad, a 47-year-old immigrant from the Middle East, said he owned two stores in Arkansas, which are open, one in West Memphis and another in Little Rock. And he owns a third store in Memphis, which is now closed because of a local mandate last week.

“I feel like if you would have just went ahead and put the whole nation at the same time on a lockdown, we could have got some control over it,” said Lavanda Mayfield, 33, who was waiting to serve takeout to customers at the Iron Skillet restaurant at a truck stop near I-40 in West Memphis on Friday.

“But now it’s just out of control,” she said, “because you did state-to-state.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, State Government

(The State) Calling South Carolina ‘unique,’ Governor McMaster resists calls to issue state stay-at-home order

Gov. Henry McMaster continued to resist the idea of issuing a stay-at-home order after he was peppered with questions at a Friday news conference about why he chooses to issue incremental orders closing businesses and restricting residents’ movement while refusing a broader rule.

The questions came as more than 40 other states have issued broader shelter-in-place orders.

South Carolina is the only state in the southeast that has not issued one yet.

“The measures we have taken are both mandatory and voluntary about staying home,” McMaster said on Friday. “We are taking a deliberate approach. Our state is not like everyone else’s state.”

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, State Government

(AP) At funerals in virus outbreak, mourning is from a distance

Lexington, South Carolina— No one stands in line to embrace the widow and share memories of her husband of 50 years. No rows of family and friends file toward the flag-draped coffin to pay their last respects. No symphony of sniffles is heard across the room as the minister gives a final prayer.

Instead, a handful of people are scattered across one chapel row as if they’re strangers, not blood. White roses are pinned to empty chairs, representing those who couldn’t be there. An iPad on a tripod livestreams the service for people stuck at home across state lines.

“This is going to be a different experience for all of us,” the minister tells the half-dozen people gathered at a South Carolina funeral home to celebrate the life of J. Robert Coleman, an Army veteran, husband to Gloria, father to three sons and grandfather to three children. “But one thing that will be common is that as we conduct this service today, we’re going to open with a prayer….”

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Posted in * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day from A Procession of Passion Prayers

O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who didst devote thy life and thy death to our most plenteous redemption: Grant that what thou hast wrought for us may also be wrought in us: that, growing into thy likeness, we may serve and share thy redeeming work; who livest and reignest in the glory of the eternal Trinity now and for evermore.

–A Procession of Passion Prayers, ed. Eric Milner-White (London: SPCK, 1952)

Posted in Lent, Spirituality/Prayer