I have heard some of you joke that you are giving up church for Lent. Well, here we are, friends! As your rector, along with our clergy team and staff, we have decided that out of our love and concern for you and the community around us, the most responsible thing for us to do is to suspend public worship through the end of March. All regular church programs and building-use gatherings are also cancelled through March 31 (from March 15 forward), and the building will receive a thorough cleaning.
I know this community and I know that if we continue to keep holding services, you will want to come. I love you for this and also feel a responsibility to not put anyone at risk. We are taking cues from our Diocese and the Dioceses in Washington and California to make the most prudent choices and will reassess our choices every two weeks. We hope that we will all be back together by Holy Week, but we must take this one day at a time.
We will livestream our worship service on Sunday at 10:00 am in English and at 1 :00 pm in Spanish. Please note that this is a growing edge of our technology and a creative opportunity for us to learn of new ways to worship. We anticipate that we will get better at this over time and encourage you to check it out and see how we continue to improve. The worship livestream will be a Facebook live event. If you have a Facebook account, you can tune-in live at 10:00 am to participate in the service. If you do not have a Facebook account, you will be able to watch the video recording at 11 :00 from a link on our website. Please note that if you gave up Facebook for Lent, Sunday is a feast day and doesn’t count in the eyes of God:). This is an opportunity for everyone to explore new ways to engage in social media to stay connected in times of isolation. If you have not already, sign up for Facebook and like our St. Michael’s Facebook page. We also encourage you to familiarize yourself with things like WhatsApp and Marco Polo as we will be finding creative ways to stay connected.
As a staff, we are currently working on creating “Angel Groups,” or “Grupo de Angeles,” which will sort all of our active membership into small groups within our most current directory. These groups will be emailed out to you, and each of these groups will have an “archangel” who will convene conversation about how the group can best check in with each other daily. This could be done via text, Skype, Google Hangout, Marco Polo or good old fashioned phone calls. Each group can decide for themselves which works best. It will be the role of the group to be sure no one among us is left without contact, check-ins and help, if help is needed. The Archangels will be in regular contact with our clergy and pastoralsupport team so that if people need calls, prayers, groceries, extra support, etc., we can activate our community to help. We know that the precautions we are taking can feel harsh, and we want to be sure to balance it with new chances for deeper connections.
We did not invite this disruption into our lives, but I want us to remember that we can continuously hold on to our faith that God is walking with us. Even though we will not be having public gatherings, your clergy and staff are still hard at work and available for support of any kind. Social distancing does not mean that people have to feel isolated or alone. The staff will continue to meet to create ways to support the congregation through this unique time.
The Rev. Christopher Craun, Rector
Be present, 0 merciful God, and protect us through the hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ. Amen.