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For those who were unable to be with us for our livestream, please enjoy our service archive here:
March 14, 2020
Dear St. John’s Community,
We know that you are following the emerging information about COVID-19 as closely as we are. Guidance from our Church and Government leaders is changing every day, and we are working hard to keep up - and to develop ways to stay spiritually connected. We have received guidance from the bishop to cease all gathering in our churches until further notice.
This is uncharted territory for us, but we are committed to discerning with you all what it means to be a Christian Community that cannot meet in person. We will be embracing a tool for virtual meetings called Zoom. Zoom is a video conferencing tool that lets us all see and interact with each other. With Zoom, we can hear each other’s voices and see each other’s faces as we pray. If you have never used Zoom before, you will want to log in a few minutes early in order to let the software settle in on your device. It works well on computers, tablets and smartphones.
So far, this is what we have in place:
- This Sunday
- Live Streamed Worship at 8am and 10am - Links will be available through our website. We will be using YouTube, which can be accessed from desktops, laptops, phones and tablets of all varieties. Go to our website on Sunday for details.
- We will follow the 10am service (about 10:45) with a short Virtual Coffee Hour via Zoom (or call in by phone +1 929 205 6099 - Meeting ID: 147 827 964).
- The National Cathedral Service is offering a service at 11:15 at which Presiding Bishop’s will be preaching. We invite you to tune in.
- Sunday afternoon at 4pm we are offering an online-only concert for the community. Brian Lindsay, a member of the St. John's community and his band Countercurrent will play contra dance and folk music, featuring driving guitar, lyrical fiddle, and harmony vocals. Go to our website for streaming.
- Weekday Offerings-
- Children and Youth - Confirmation Class will meet at its scheduled time by Zoom as well, with a link sent to participants. We are also interested in how we can continue to offer other children’s programming via Zoom as more and more schools are cancelled. Be in touch with Mary Beth if you are interested in this ministry.
- Ongoing Support - We are reaching out to our Caring Connections leaders and others about how we can best care for each other in this moment - both in potential illness and in isolation. Email Gideon if you’d like to be involved in this conversation or work. Join us for a conversation about mutual support on Wednesday at 11am - https://zoom.us/j/238612405
We will continue this schedule at least through March 26 and for as long as it seems like the best way for us to love our neighbor is to do so from a distance. Your clergy are still available by phone, email and text. Don’t hesitate to reach out.
Wash your hands. Love each other. Pray without ceasing.
The Clergy and Wardens of St. John's Church
March 12,2020 Letter
At this time so much is changing because of Coronoavirus concerns. I know that these times are confusing and many are looking to the church for leadership, direction, and support in the midst of this anxiety.
When the Vestry met on Tuesday night many voices of caution were brought to the vestry table and we decided that the minimum course of action was to cancel all shared meals at St. John's until further notice. Since Tuesday, many dioceses and priests have been waiting for clear direction from our bishops about the church's appropriate response int eh midst of this crisis. Some dioceses have canceled all public worship and have asked their clergy who are able to, to make accommodations for online worship.
I am of several minds on this issue. I remember the valiant saints of the past who ministered in the midst of plagues and natural and national disasters at great personal risk. I want to be a saint too.
But, I don't believe that that means we should put one another at risk of possible life-threatening illnesses - and it is increasingly clear that gathering in large groups increases the risk of spreading illness in the midst of this crisis. (https://www.flattenthecurve.com/)
So, after consultation with other clergy and our Senior Warden, St. John's will be moving our services online. We will endeavor to do the same for our discipleship classes including the rector's bible study and our Lenten series. Mary Beth and I will pray for you and hopefully with you virtually on Sunday at 8 and 10 AM and we will be available for supportive phone calls in the midst of this public health emergency. But, at this time it seems prudent to close the church for all activities through the next two Sundays (March 15 and 22.) Mary Beth and I are available to you all in this period.
To access the live stream and bulletins for the 8 am and 10 am services on Sunday, March 15, click HERE.
My colleague Matt Stewart recently wrote: "St. Paul writes in his second letter to the Corinthians, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God… Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our consolation.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, 7)
In this passage, Paul first reminds us that in all the challenges life throws our way, God does provide consolation. And, second, he reminds us that we all share our consolations and sufferings together. Those of us who aren’t at risk ourselves of suffering significantly from the Coronavirus are called to live attentive to those who are. Through God, we are all in this together. We share our sufferings and, more importantly, we share that consolation which comes from God and is ever with us, even in the darkest valleys."
As we traverse this and all the dark valleys of our lives, this church journeys alongside you and prays for you. Today is no different. More details of how to join us online will follow on our website and through Facebook.
Gideon L. K. Pollach