Almighty and gracious Father, we give thee thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we beseech thee, faithful stewards of thy great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Our bishop, Marty Stebbins, issued what is known as a pastoral directive on November 14 regarding in-person worship in the diocese. Simply put, she ordered all Episcopal Churches in Montana to cease in-person worship until at least November 29, 2020. This did not change anything for St. Stephen’s because we have been closed for some time due to much higher rates in Yellowstone County.
After this pastoral directive, the bishop went further by establishing a new metric for reopening churches for in-person worship. The new measurement is the level of active infections of COVID-19 in a county. The cut-off is 2%. As of November 18, 2020, Yellowstone County has 4,844 active infections with a population estimated to be 161,300. That means that 3% of the county currently has COVID-19.