A Statement from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Friday, March 13, 2020
Father Brad Whitaker, rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, has this afternoon been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Last week, Fr. Brad sent a letter to the members of the church sharing that he began to feel ill shortly after returning from the annual conference of the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes in Louisville in February. He was diagnosed and treated for pneumonia, which included a long period of recovery at home. Since that time, it has been reported that an attendee of the conference was diagnosed with the COVID-19 coronavirus. Upon receiving this news, Brad elected to be tested as well. Shortly after his email to our parish this morning, Fr. Brad received word from the health department that he, too, has tested positive for the virus.
Earlier this week, St. Pauls had already begun taking steps to respond to concerns related to COVID-19: Our parish has suspended in-person Sunday worship and other gatherings, groups, and meetings for at least the next two weeks. We will be continuing to sanitize the church facility during this time, and fully cooperating with the recommendations of the health department who will begin a full investigation.
As this continues to unfold, please continue to follow the recommendations of the health department and the CDC. Hamilton County Coronavirus Hotline may be reached at (423) 209-8383. If the health department gives us more detailed information, we will pass it along to you.
The Rt. Rev. Brian Cole, Bishop of East Tennessee offers:
“Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest.’ (Matthew 11:28) The news that the Rev. Brad Whitaker has tested positive for the coronavirus is a burden that Brad, his family, St. Paul’s, and the people of Chattanooga do not carry alone. We are committed to bearing one another’s burdens.”
Please pray for Fr. Brad’s continued recovery, for the health of our community, and for peace and courage in our faithfulness as disciples of Jesus.