A pair of Episcopal Church seminaries have launched a hotline in which clergy can give prayers and last rites to people in the hospital over the phone, namely for coronavirus patients for whom access might be limited because of social distancing.
Virginia Theological Seminary and General Theological Seminary launched “Dial-A-Priest” on Tuesday through their joint project, the TryTank Experimental Lab.
The Rev. Lorenzo Lebrija, director of TryTank, told The Christian Post that he believed the coronavirus pandemic “has brought out in many of us the deep desire to want to help.”
“When a call comes in, it rings at the same time to all of the volunteers currently logged into the system,” explained Lebrija, who noted that at present “Dial-A-Priest” had around 100 volunteers “on the system,” plus 70 who were on a wait list.
“A nurse or doctor will call, tell the clergy-person the name of the patient and then the prayers of ‘Ministration at the Time of Death’ are spoken.”
VTS Dean the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, who commented that “Dial-A-Priest” was a way to make sure the dying do not feel alone.
“In a season where hospitals are overwhelmed and where pastoral care is limited because of ‘physical distancing,’ the Seminaries step in to suggest a way forward,” stated Markham.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski