As you know from yesterday’s St. Paul FYI email communication, we have been considering the best ways we can be church in this time of pandemic. We wanted to respond thoughtfully and prayerfully, in a spirit of peace, not of panic. Early this week, after the Council meeting, we formed a small preparedness team to advise the Council.
Today, we decided to postpone physical gatherings including Sunday worship for at least the next two Sundays, March 15th and March 22nd. We made this decision after much deliberation and consultation. We all feel the sadness of this decision, but we feel it is the wisest and most compassionate decision based on what we know. We plan to experiment with various forms of virtual church. This Sunday, we will broadcast a Facebook Live service at 10:00 a.m. Theodore Stoddard and I will be testing this out. We look forward to seeing what will happen.
We know that not all of you are on Facebook, so we will be trying other online platforms next week. We will keep you posted. Virtual church has been around for several years, and I’m excited that we are going to try this way of being church, even as I mourn the loss of our physical gatherings for worship.
I will be updating you on other activities during these two weeks; for now, all our regular gatherings are postponed. We ask for your patience and your help, should you have ideas as we go forward. I will work on virtual bible study and weekly devotions. Robin Carlo is working on virtual Sunday School, and expects to broadcast Facebook Live Sunday School at 9:15 a.m. this Sunday, March 15th.
The Council and I ask that you please keep in touch with each other, and with those who might be in need. We hope to create a phone tree, and you all know that you can call or write me. I will be checking in with you as much as possible by phone or email.
Lent offers us a time to embrace simplicity. This year, that simplicity is imposed upon us by events and circumstances out of our control. We can, however, choose our response. One of my friends wrote that compassion is our seat-belt in troubled times. I agree. In all that we are doing in these days of social distancing, my prayer is we remain interconnected as much as possible. May we remember those who may need assistance. May we know God’s presence in the midst of us.
Pastor Anne Deneen