After re-gathering for in-person worship this Sunday at St. Andrew’s, we will be having outdoor coffee hour! We are also keeping our Zoom coffee hour, which has been moved to 12pm Noon.
A Special Message from Fr. Rich
My Dear Siblings in Christ:
I pray for you all several times a day. Even if you have not heard from me personally, I have been holding you in my heart as I stand before God. This is what Rectors do. The pandemic has changed me, it has changed you, and it has changed our parish community. The next few months will be interesting as we emerge from our pandemic cocoons and into some new and different norms. We may experience some bumps along the way. I encourage us to be understanding and gentle with one another as we navigate these uncertain waters.
I am excited, and a bit cautious, as we have resumed Sunday in-person Eucharistic services as of July 4th. We will have morning services at 8:00 and 10:00 am. Please be aware that we are still governed by the various, competing guidelines imposed by our local health authorities, our Bishop, and the Governor. These guidelines are ever-changing. The most important thing you can do to prepare, is to be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus!
Please be aware that a significant portion of our congregation cannot be vaccinated yet. These are our children ages 11 and under. St. Andrew’s is known throughout the local Episcopal world as a leader in ministry to children and youth. We hope to continue to be! As your Rector, I am responsible for the spiritual nourishment and formation of all our parishioners. I also endeavor to keep people safe as we encounter risks in these pandemic times. Our value of “All are Welcome!” includes being prepared for and hospitable toward those who are not or cannot be vaccinated. We also have an obligation to reduce their risk of being infected during this liminal time. My goal is “resuming without reinfecting.” I also desperately want our community to gather again for worship and fellowship and communion.
In this time of re-gathering, I invite us all to carefully use language that accurately reflects the reality of the current moment. I am grateful to Laura Stephens-Reed, Clergy and Congregational Coach, for these suggestions.
- Instead of “re-opening,” say “re-gathering in person.” We never closed! We have continued our worship services and the vestry, staff, clergy, and congregation have never stopped working.
- Instead of “getting back,” say “moving forward.” The former suggests we will spring back to pre-pandemic practices as if Covid was a nightmare we can shake off rather than a reality-altering event on a global scale. We will waste the pain of the past year if we do not learn from it and make changes based on what we glean.
- Instead of “normal,” say “a new way of being.” Normal conjures up nostalgia for a time that never will be again. Normal has left out too many people. Normal has been too stuck in its ways.
- Instead of “how soon can we lose the precautions?” ask “how can we continue to show care through caution?” Understandably, people are ready to shed masks and hug their church friends. But the numbers show that we are not past the danger, and we will be right back in the thick of it if we are not careful. It is an act of discipleship to continue to protect one another.
- Instead of “but I’m vaccinated” ask “who isn’t yet vaccinated?” While in some areas vaccine supply now surpasses demand, that is not the case everywhere. Many countries cannot get the vaccines they need. There are people with health concerns who are not yet willing or able to get their shots and younger children are not able to be vaccinated. It is important to keep asking who remains at risk and plan around those folks.
I ask for your patience and prayers for those who are guiding us on this path and attending to innumerable details. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know. I am,
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Richard C. Weyls+