|16 March 2020
My dear friends,
Today is Day One of a new normal for the life of Saint Mary’s. The White House, the Governor and the CDC are all asking us to avoid in-person meetings of ten or more people where at least one person over 70 years of age is present – perhaps for up to eight weeks. In line with this guidance, Bishop Brown has asked us to cease all meetings for prayer and worship, although individuals and households are certainly welcome to stop by our Chapel or even the Church Sanctuary to pray during regular office hours. Clearly, life as we know it has come to a halt for a while.
I strongly encourage all of you to re-frame this time as a wonderful opportunity for Sabbath rest. After all, did you know that the word “quarantine” comes from the Latin word for forty (quaranta)? Forty days – sound familiar? Lent is a perfect time for quarantine. Make the most of this time by reading the Bible or one of the spiritual classics, brushing up on your music skills, creating something beautiful, learning how to chant the Psalms, learning a new language. Seriously, this quiet time is a gift. Don’t take it for granted or let it go to waste.
Our Saint Mary’s life of prayer and worship will continue virtually in the following ways:
Monday through Friday: NoonDay Prayer with Nathan+ on Facebook live. This is a free and simple way for us to meet virtually, to hear a word of scripture, and to share prayer requests. We will follow the simple outline as found in the Book of Common Prayer on pages 103-107 and also the commemorations of the Church Calendar.
Monday at 5 PM and Sunday morning at 9:30 AM: Be Still continues. If you would like to join either of these sessions for a time of prayer, inspirational readings, and meditation, send an email to email@example.com to receive a link to the online Zoom meeting.
Sunday at 10:15: The Holy Eucharist also on Facebook live streaming from the Chapel. We will post the bulletin on our website on Thursday where you can view it or print it out ahead of time. Then join on your phone or computer to hear the scriptures, to listen as Nathan offers his sermon, to pray together, and to be part of our Great Thanksgiving at the Lord’s Table. This is a way to participate spiritually in our “sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving” that we offer on each Lord’s Day to the glory of God.
Spring Clean Up! If you are going stir crazy at home, grab your rake and gloves and come over to help clean our campus whenever you can. This is a great way for individuals, couples and families to safely be together outside. All leaves can be raked to the edge of any driveway or parking lot, where a vacuum truck can pick them up later. Branches and sticks can be placed neatly in piles. Even if you only have one or two hours to give, please consider giving back to our parish family in this way.
Finally, please stay in touch! Expect to get a phone call from someone at Saint Mary’s just checking in to see how you are doing. Feel free to call the Parish Office to talk with Beth or me during regular business hours. Just because we cannot be physically together in groups, we can still remain connected and supportive of one another. If you need practical help with anything, let us know and we can rally the saints to help. If you become ill, let us know so that we can pray for you. Please, stay in touch. And I ask for your loving prayers for your parish leadership, and for Bishop Brown and his staff, as we all work to discern our way forward in this new reality. Thank you for your patience, kindness and support.
May the peace, joy and love of Christ be with you now and always,