Bishop Kee Sloan has asked that all the communities of worship in our diocese cancel church services for the next 3 weeks. We are canceling all other church activities as well, including the Food Pantry, Communities of Transformation, Fitzgerald Backpack Program, EFM, Chair Yoga and any other activities that normally take place at Holy Comforter.
Your clergy and staff will keep our regular work schedule during the week. We are moving forward to start using the phone tree I mentioned in our previous newsletter. You can expect us to test it on Monday. I will also work with the staff to see how we can provide spiritual support to the congregation on these next Sundays. Options I am considering are: live streaming on Facebook, posting a homily manuscript weekly, and starting an Instagram account.
Your leadership team has one particular request that they asked me to convey to the whole parish: If you get sick, please call the office. If you call after hours and weekends, please leave a message on my office voice mail. I will check it often and get back to you as quickly as I can. We have already begun to put together a response team that will be able to help our parishioners who may no longer be able to go out shopping or have essential needs met. Keeping as safe as possible, we will do what we can to help you.
The New Zealand Book of Common Prayer has a collect I have shared with many of you when you faced times of significant distress, and which Randy Woodland forwarded to me this morning. It has helped me through terribly difficult times; I share it with you because we need to put our trust, hope, and faith in God:
God of the present moment, God who in Jesus stills the storm and soothes the frantic heart; bring hope and courage to all who wait or work in uncertainty. Bring hope that you will make them the equal of whatever lies ahead. Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided, for your will is health and wholeness; you are God, and we need you. Amen
God is with us, and though I will miss seeing you, laughing, worshiping and serving with you in these next few weeks, I am grateful for our Bishop’s prudence and care in making this decision. Stay safe and remember to wash your hands a lot!With blessings of joy, hope, and peace,