In the midst of the Spring 2020 outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), NAES has compiled a list of prayers and other resources to help schools address their community’s spiritual and liturgical concerns.
- A Prayer for Graduates
- Prayer for this Time of Challenge and Concern
- A Collect for COVID-19
- Prayer for a Pandemic
- A Sample Pastoral Email
- Video: An Episcopal School Litany
- A Collection of Letters from Heads of School
A Prayer for Graduates
The Rev. Timothy J.S. Seamans, Associate Chaplain, The Episcopal School of Los Angeles
God of journeys, endings, and new beginnings,
through the highs and lows, the twists and turns
this class has faced along the way,
we have faith that your love has guided them
from the moment they began up to graduation day.
We give you thanks and praise for the goodness that shines
in the relationships formed, knowledge learned, and memories made through this school.
Bless the body, mind, and soul of every graduate,
that they may celebrate your glory in themselves and all creation,
and use their education to build your kingdom of peace.
Prayer for this Time of Challenge and Concern
The Rev. Dr. D. Stuart Dunnan, Headmaster, Saint James School, Hagerstown, MD
Sustaining God, loving Father, we ask for your presence and guidance as we respond to the spread of the novel Coronavirus in the world, our countries, our communities, and our school.
We ask your blessing upon all in authority over us, that they may make wise decisions and act decisively to protect us and maintain the good order of the societies and economies in which we live and work. We ask your blessing upon our armed forces, police and first responders, and especially upon all who are called professionally and vocationally to give of themselves so bravely and selflessly to heal and care for us should we fall ill: our doctors and nurses, and all who support them.
We pray especially for those who are more vulnerable: the elderly and the infirm, the poor and the homeless, and for all who live alone. We pray for all who are now seriously ill and for the souls of those who have died. May they rest in peace with you.
During this time of physical isolation and continuing distance, help us to keep our relationships and our community strong; bless the love which binds us together and make it stronger. Bless our alumni, families, friends, and all who support us; guide our teachers and our students in their new adventure of “distance learning;” keep everyone safe at home and at school; and give us your gifts of faith – of perspective, gratitude, and courage – so that we may face our own challenges gracefully, and respond generously to the challenges of others. Save us from pride and selfishness, and from the panic and fear which act against your love for us.
And help us to use this time of uncertainty to grow closer to you, to acknowledge our need for you and our need for each other, so that we may live with the unanswered questions which confront us with the hope and confidence that come from believing in you – as your Spirit inspires us, and as your Son has shown us, even on his Cross, which redeems and saves us all.
So, may he walk with us on our new path in this dark forest, and may we see with him your light shining before us, your angels as they guard and care for us, and may we pray with him as he has taught us:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
A Collect for COVID-19
The Rt. Rev. John Taylor, Bishop of Los Angeles
God of all creation, whose people prepared a tabernacle for you and carried it with them through the wilderness so they would never be alone: If we must venture into a landscape transformed by crisis, may we be living vessels of your mercy, grace, and love. Remind us to carry our treasure gingerly, with a respectful four cubits between ourselves and all the other tabernacles. Make of us big cans of friendliness, patience, and forgiveness in parking lots and the marketplace. May we be balm for the sick, isolated, and overlooked and a bitter pill for those in power who do not promote what is best for all your people. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Prayer for a Pandemic
by Cameron Bellm; contributed by St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Austin, TX
May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country, let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.
A Sample Pastoral Email
The Rev. Nate Bostian, Chaplain, TMI – Episcopal, San Antonio, TX
The following is the text of an email I sent out to the faculty, staff, and families of my school community. I post this as a resource to other pastors or chaplains who may want to send a similar email and resources. Feel free to cut-and-paste and adapt as needed.
How can I be praying for you?
As we enter into uncharted territories personally, culturally, and pedagogically, I want you to know that I am praying for you all, and for your families, and for our broader school family.
All of us will feel many different things as we go through the next few weeks together: Uncertainty and anxiety for the future; Frustration as we try and find a new normal; Worry for vulnerable loved ones; Cabin fever that gets deeper as time stretches out; And a number of other feelings and concerns.
Please know that you are not alone. We are going through it with you. Please know that you are loved, and that we have the strength and wisdom and compassion we need to make it through this together. And regardless of what faith you come from, I believe that the Love of God will continue to sustain us and uphold us during this time. One of the Scriptures that brings me great comfort during times like this is:
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword [or even COVID19]? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8.35–39
With this unending, unconquerable, undying Love in mind, I will be praying for you all. If you are so inclined to pray, but may lack the words, I will include a couple of resources below my signature. I will also be going online soon with daily chapel, and will share those resources as I develop them. I hope they help you find comfort and peace, and add structure to a time that can feel both incredibly hectic, but also awfully boring.
If you have any prayer requests, or need pastoral assistance, I am with you during this time. Please don’t hesitate to email, text, or call me [contact info deleted]
May you grow stronger and wiser and kinder each day,
Video: An Episcopal School Litany
The Rev. Dr. Andrew Armond, Chaplain, Episcopal School of Acadiana, Lafayette, LA
The text of the litany can be found here.