In place of writing a meditative piece this month, I have decided to use my space for a newsletter article that informs you all the ways we at Christ Church are finding to connect with you. The COVID-19 virus situation has caused our Parish Staff to think “outside of the box” to be a vibrant church community.
First, let me give you a bit of recent history. After our Governor instituted a ban of gatherings of greater than five people, we closed down our worship services during the week and weekends. In the two weeks following, our services were filmed and presented on Facebook Live and Instagram. But last week, our Bishop, in an abundance of caution, mandated that our church building to be closed during the current crisis. The Bishop’s decision rightfully ensures that the COVID-19 virus would not be passed among people as they visited the church building during our live services.
However, we are undaunted! We will continue to film our online services and meetings, but not in the church. The Bishop has allowed priests to film services from home, presenting them online. So, for Holy Week, we have the following schedule:
- 10 am Palm Sunday (Watch for a special video tape reading of the Passion play by the confirmation kids.)
- 7 pm Maundy Thursday Service (Deacon Anne Burke preaching)
- 7 pm Good Friday Lit urgy (Fr. Erik Larson preaching)
- 6 pm Holy Sat urday Com pline 10 am East er Sunday Service (Fr. Chandy preaching)
In addition, “Food for Thought” with Fr. Chandy is at 12 noon on weekdays on Facebook and will be also aired on our YouTube channel.
Our staff is also connecting to our church through our Parish Telephone Tree. Through this connection tool, our Parish Secretary Dorothy Adams and Deacon Anne Burke, with the help of the Pastoral Care Committee led by Shirley Andrews and Wendy Hyde, are reaching out to each member of our church during this time of crisis. You should be receiving a call from one of our members to see how you are doing. If you have not received a call, please let us know. We might not have an active phone number in our parish data base.
Our Director of Religious Education, Kristy Allardyce, has been hard at work with her Sunday School teachers. This fantastic team is hard at work as well. So far, they have set up Zoom conversations with Sunday School students, parents of Sunday School students, and the Confirmation Class. The results are amazing! I have not seen this much joy, even without a crisis!
Father Erik is not only helping lead our online services and our confirmation class, but is also creating content for our next online Episcopal 101 course, which will be offered on Wednesday nights after our evening Compline service.
So, my friends, although we do not have “normal” church services in our church building, we are finding that God continues to be active in our lives. I have come to realize that “Church” is much more than a building or a particular way of worship; it is the people of God doing whatever they can to connect, in love, to each other and our God and then sharing that love to the world.
Fr. Chandy+, Rector
Christ Church Westerly