URGENT MESSAGE from Father Keith
FROM THE RECTOR
Thursday, 9 July 2020
REOPENING FOR IN-PERSON WORSHIP DELAYED
First of all: I hope all of you and your families are staying safe and healthy, and managing to navigate these strange and uncharted waters with some degree of sanity.
And now, the primary reason behind this urgent email message . . .
I need to notify you of a change in plans: As stated in our reopening plan submitted and approved earlier by the vestry and the Bishop, Church of the Messiah was scheduled to resume in-person services this coming Sunday, July 12th. For a variety of reasons, but mostly in response to a gnawing gut feeling (and several sleepless nights!) on my part, and comments from congregation members that indicated that the vast majority of people were unwilling to return this soon, the wardens and I have made the decision to delay our reopening until after Labor Day. I also spoke with a medical doctor from the congregation, who strongly advised us not to resume services at this time, but wait until a more sustained downturn and leveling of COVID cases has been documented. While this is a disappointing development for many of us who are missing the Eucharist sacrament and fellowship of our faith community, this seems the safe and prudent route under the current circumstances. So, for the foreseeable future, we will maintain the precautions and restrictions currently in place, including online worship services, sermons and musical offerings.
From the Bishop’s latest guidelines to the clergy, received earlier this week:
“As you continue to discern what re-entry looks like in your church please remember that until we have widespread testing, tracing, treatment, and the vaccine, the safest option is always not to gather. Therefore, clergy and vestry should continue to cautiously and carefully weigh their options and not rush to lift any restrictions until they truly feel both called and fully prepared to do so. Center yourselves in Jesus’ commandment to love one another. Ask yourselves, can we do this without putting someone at risk?”
I ask for your understanding and support in this difficult decision. Should you have questions, comments, or critiques, I do hope you will contact me with your concerns.
As an aside: Last week’s “V.B.S. in a B.O.X.” offering was very well-done by Tiffany and her volunteers, and quite well-received, with most all of our parish children, along with several others, participating. If you have not yet checked out the daily videos posted on the website, I highly encourage you to do so. Based on this success, I anticipate that we will now be looking into this model as an option for Church School in the fall, should we not be able to hold in-person classes.
Please continue to pray for all those who are infected with this deadly virus, remembering especially those who must battle this disease alone, without the comfort and support of family and friends; as well as the family members and friends who cannot accompany their loved ones as they walk the final steps of life's path.
Sending you my love and hoping you and your family continue to stay safe and healthy!