Pastoral Letter March 2020 – coronavirus and St. Martin’s

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March 14, 2020

Dear St. Martin’s family and friends,

The spread of the coronavirus has caused a level of fear and anxiety in many of us.  As believers, we know that God is in control.  Yet, we must take this situation quite seriously and care for each other and move forward with wisdom. On Thursday evening, our bishop Jeffrey Lee has asked all churches to suspend public worship until further notice in order to be responsible and do our part in minimizing the spread of the COVID-19 virus in public spaces.  Bishop Lee has given permission for churches to hold worship tomorrow, Sunday March 15, with the precautions we outlined last Sunday, i.e., Communion in one kind, bread, and minimal contact with each other (hand waves over hand shakes) and much hand washing.  You may check on the diocesan website to access our bishop’s letter.

St. Martin’s will hold service tomorrow, Sunday, March 15 to be together, pray together, and discuss some ways to proceed.  Beginning on Sunday, March 22, we will not meet until we hear from Bishop Lee.  Therefore, we must be patient and creative in our use of technology to worship and be together as a community of faith.  The bishop will begin having services online next Sunday, the 22nd, and he will post a link on our diocesan website.  I’ve asked Arlicia, who has already begun videotaping parts of our service and placed them online via YouTube, to go over a few options (such as Google Hangout and Facebook Live) with us tomorrow (March 15).  This information will give us insight on how we may proceed to hold worship electronically.  Our good friend Rev. Sandra Castillo has also agreed to help us with videography needs, as well as clergy needs, during this time.

This is a new frontier, so I ask you to please be patient and always prayerful.  The Bishop’s Committee, assisting clergy and I will continue to plan ways for us to take care of each other during this time and will be checking in on members by phone.  Feel free to contact the Bishop’s Committee, or me, if you foresee any needs or have any concerns.  Trusting God, we will make it through this together.

Important Reminders….

OFFERING
It is important that we continue to share our pledges and offerings at this time.  Lisa has set up ways to do this online (via Tithe.ly or PayPal); or you can mail them to us.

PREVENTION
Stay informed.  Please pay attention to the news on updates on the coronavirus…visit the website of the Center for Disease Control.

And remember…

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, you should be at least 10 ft away from someone coughing.
  • Follow mom’s or grandma’s conventional wisdom, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, preferably with a tissue, and discard the tissue and wash your hands.
  • Clean, and disinfect frequently handled surfaces and objects with disinfectant sprays and wipes.
  • Again, wash your hands!!

PRAYER

The fervent prayers of the righteous availeth much…(James 5:16)
Always pray and do not lose heart… (Luke 18:1)

Our prayers matter.  Let us continue to pray for one another (especially those on our prayer list) and for those directly impacted by the virus.

Peace and Blessings

Father Chris