Parish Update 19 March 2020
Summary: This is an opportunity for the glory of God to be seen in and through the Church. We are working to find a platform in which we can share our needs and our ability to help. We will not be meeting in person for the next two weeks. This Sunday, we will gather through Zoom for worship. I am available by phone, text, e-mail, or zoom. Please know that each of you remain in my prayers. I am confident that God will be glorified in ways that we are not able to ask or imagine.
Dearest Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Grace and peace be with you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This ancient greeting seems particularly appropriate as we prepare to navigate a difficult period in the life of our community, our nation, and the Church. As the impact of both the disease and the measures enacted to prevent disease in vulnerable populations and to prevent overwhelming the capacity of our health care system become more apparent, we as a parish will need to consider the ways in which we act as the Body of Christ caring for one another and the community around us.
We have already seen shortages in stores. Soon we will begin to see the economic impact of closures in restaurants, hotels, and other businesses on employment. This is an opportunity for the glory of God to be seen in and through the Church.
Luke describes the early church in this way, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” While these actions of community will look different in our current age of supermarkets, automobiles, and digital communication, I think we have an opportunity to love and serve one another in community by sharing both our abundance and our need.
We are working to find a platform in which we can share our needs and our ability to help. For example, someone might have peanut butter and another jelly to offer, someone might need help with childcare or with shopping.
We will not be meeting in person for the next two weeks. We will do our best to utilize technology to maintain community and worship. This Sunday, we will gather at our regular time (4 PM) through Zoom for worship. We will also attempt to stream the service on Facebook Live so that those who are not able to participate by Zoom as well as those outside of our community can participate in worship. I value your feedback and suggestions regarding how to make this unusual and less than ideal process the best that it can be.
I do not talk about money very often because it is usually not necessary. We are a low expense church. However, this seems to be a good time to share a bit about how we work. Offerings by check or online go into the general operating fund which pays for nursery care, music, rent, housing allowances, our contributions to mission, and our tithe to the diocese as well as other operating expenses. Offerings that are received as cash go into the Rector’s Discretionary Fund which is disbursed according to need to assist those in a crisis. As we come into this season, we are committed to providing for our missionaries, our staff, and the other operating expenses which others depend upon. We are also committed to providing as much as possible to those in need through the discretionary fund and other funds. Please consider continuing your regular giving through our online portal (https://tithe.ly/give?c=932854). In this portal, you may also select “Rector’s Discretionary Fund” if you would like to make an additional donation during this time of crisis. (Please note that the fees we pay for online giving are greater for credit card donations than for ACH (bank draft) donations).
For non-social distancing reasons, I will not be in my office this week (a pipe burst and flooded the building last week). I am available by phone, text, e-mail, or zoom. Please know that each of you remain in my prayers. I am confident that God will be glorified in ways that we are not able to ask or imagine.
Grace and Peace,