Alleluia, the Lord is Risen!
The Lord is Risen, Indeed!
I hope this letter finds you safe and healthy during these unique and unprecedented times. The COVID-19 virus has affected and challenged the health and economy of our nation and world. Our church, as many in our society, face new realities and challenges, forcing us to do
ministry in new ways. And yet as we face the challenges of the moment, I discern the signs of God working in innovative ways in our community. Through this letter, I hope to communicate and update you on the state of our church at this moment.
Over the past month, we have undergone significant changes in response to our current crisis. Under the direction of Bishop Nicholas Knisely, the Wardens, Vestry, and I have stopped in-person services at the church for the time being Our Bishop has suggested that
we anticipate at least a 90-day suspension of in-person services for all churches in our diocese.
Our Bishop and Diocesan staff have ensured that they would help provide support to all churches of the diocese during these challenging times. However, they have asked and encouraged stronger and well-resourced parishes to be as “self-sufficient as possible” while the Diocese helps support churches with fewer resources to survive past this present crisis.
At Christ Church, we have appointed a small subcommittee of our Vestry, made up of Vestry members and parishioners, to make recommendations and give action steps to our Vestry. So far through this crisis, we have done the following:
- Created a 90-day contingency plan for our church, prioritizing the finances of our church and ministry during this crisis
- Sought to reduce parish expenses where possible while committing to retain all current staff of our church
- Redefined some of our staff job descriptions to sustain our ministry efforts
- Offered services through our online platform Facebook Live and accessible through our Website. We have a daily noontime “Food for
Thought” program that continues to grow and connect our community.
- Our staff has been hard at work to help create telephone trees, and Zoom Sunday school classes and Adult classes to encourage learning
and keep our parishioners connected through this crisis.
- We have been approved for a loan which we expect will be converted to a grant from the Federal Government through the Cares Act.
- Continued to ask and have received support from our Parishioners.
As a result of the actions outlined above and the heartwarming financial support of our parishioners our financial outlook appears to
be strong. The financial support we have received from our parishioners and non-parishioners humbles me, sometimes giving even more than their pledge! Thank you
I see God’s hand guiding our parish in new and beautiful ways. Our church’s resilience, creativity, and love for each other inspires me. I am excited by the ways our parishioners, older and younger, are embracing technology to connect, to worship, and to learn of God’s ways. I revel in seeing how that challenge has caused our parish to extend our reach and ministry of Christ beyond the confines of our region. We now have parishioners who are connected and support our church in Florida, Tennessee, New Jersey, and around the globe. I am grateful for the creativity and leadership of our Wardens, Vestry, and the members of our small task force. I am grateful for our dedicated hard-working staff. I thank God for the work of our various committees. Christ Church has always been a light in our town and region, and through this challenge, our light and hope have not dimmed; we have become a stronger light, witnessing to the presence of God. Although I would never have wished for us to be in this present challenge, I believe that God is helping us be the church of God for our time!
Friends, I know that when the day comes when we can worship together as a community, it will be a joyous one! I look forward to that great day! It will be a wonderful Easter celebration!
Alleluia, the Lord isRisen!
He isRisen Indeed, Alleluia!
The Reverend Sunil Chandy
Christ Church Westerly, RI