Dear Friends in Christ,
Tuesday afternoon, I met with Bishop Goff and other members of the clergy from across Virginia. Bishop Goff shared with us that all in person, physical worship is suspended until after Easter Sunday. Going forward, she is meeting with clergy weekly. The notes are posted sometime after on the Diocese website so that all within the Diocese (lay and ordained) may keep in touch with what’s happening. Bishop Goff has asked rectors to invite input and questions from our Vestry as well as congregants, directed first to the Rector, who then will bring them forward into the upcoming week’s ZOOM agenda.
Bishop Goff urges us to face this time with grace, creativity and compassion.
In keeping with that, I am encouraging all parishioners to go online – join Facebook and follow our page, set up a free Zoom account and of course, check our website. While we will not gather publicly, we will worship God together.
Virtual Worship and Coffee Hour
This Sunday, we are having a Morning Prayer service with music and homily beginning at 10 .m. After, grab your favorite mug filled with coffee or tea — we’ll have a virtual Coffee Hour! We can offer support, check in with one another and you are welcome to ask me any questions you may have. Parishioners are invited to attend the service via Zoom. (A link was sent in the Weekly Update email. If you didn’t get it and would like to attend, email Melissa.) Please invite any friends or family to attend via Facebook Live (you can even share via social media). The more the merrier as we embrace this chance to turn toward God during a time when we need God most. We are keeping the Coffee Hour after to parishioners only so that everyone can feel able to speak and ask questions freely without privacy concerns.
Sunday bulletins are going to be posted to our website. A Facebook post letting everyone know they’re available will go up each week.
Throughout the week, I am doing various services via Facebook Live following the schedule shared on our website.
Please forgive me if a scheduled time is missed, as technical glitches do occur and urgent matters do arise.
While this is undoubtedly an unprecedented time of difficulty, it is also one of blessings as we have technology available that allows us to stay connected while keeping our “social distance.”
Along with the services and Coffee Hour, every Thursday I’ll set up a Zoom Community Connection Event. These may be a time to ask me questions, a Bible study, having lunch together, or something else TBD – the sky is the limit. This is a time for all of us, so any ideas you have, please share them with Melissa and me.
Melissa is sharing a How To for setting up Zoom and joining Facebook on the new section of our website dedicated to COVID-19 matters. Both are extremely easy to do. If you have any questions, feel free to email her. She will do her best to help you. Of course, there is also always the option of phone visiting. Phone numbers are in the directory. If you notice an error with yours, please let Melissa know. An updated directory is in the works.
Please send to Melissa your favorite piece of scripture, hymn or psalm. We will be sharing these in the weekly updates.
Bishop Goff emphasized the need for self care as we navigate this new way of life, for however long it may last. We will be called to let go of things beyond our control. We are living in a time where things change not even day to day, but hour to hour. We need to take care of each other as community is vital to getting through this period in our lives.
Contacting Melissa and Me
For the foreseeable future, I am working out of St. Andrew’s while Melissa works from home. Please continue to use email to contact us, unless it is a pastoral emergency, in which case call my cell phone.
A gentle reminder to please be sure to send your pledges into the church, either via mail or electronically (remembering to include in the memo the church’s name and location). Mailing directly to the church is preferred, but please do whatever is easiest for you.
Food Pantry Update
The food pantry is planning to be open as long as we are safely able to run it. It is scheduled to be open again this Tuesday at the usual time with the modified process we implemented last week. Last week went very well, serving over 50 grateful people without issue. Bishop Goff has indicated that as long as we are using all safety precautions, it is vitally important to keep the pantry open to serve those who are vulnerable.
For now, the prayer list can be found online (scroll to the bottom of the page). Melissa is updating it as names are added or removed so it stays current.
So you are aware and add her to your prayers, Bishop Susan is having surgery for a diagnosis of breast cancer. Her condition was identified early and her prognosis is good; she anticipates surgery on March 27th.
I leave you with the words of Bishop Susan:
“As we move toward a new kind of Holy Week and Easter, do not be afraid. God is bigger than our fears, bigger than our sense of loss. God is present and at work in this pandemic, showing us renewed ways to be community. The truth of this time remains eternal:
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.
God bless you. God bless us all as we walk this road in hope, in truth and in growing faith – together.”
P.S. Apologies for having a number of links to our website instead of including the information. If it were all included, I fear we would be reading this for hours.
Visit our website for an archive of all COVID-19 info and weekly update emails.