Our First Gathering
Dear People of St. Paul’s,
We hope that you and your family remain safe and healthy during these days of pandemic. We are particularly grateful for your constant support as our church has begun to imagine new ways of connecting and living fully into our lives as the Body of Christ. We recognize that in a short period of time the church went from a lively, in-person place of gathering to a virtual community. The staff have been creative in developing on-line opportunities to worship God, inviting faithful ways of deepening our spiritual journeys and celebrating our congregation’s many blessings. We are grateful to them.
We have been carefully following the State guidance on when it might be safe to gather again in person. As we mentioned in an earlier Beacon, we have convened a re-opening team to help develop specific plans for our congregation and to be consistent with our Bishop’s recommendations. As always, our priority is ensuring the health of all our members, particularly those who may be more vulnerable to COVID-19. The Church’s re-opening team, the vestry and the rector have unanimously agreed that the church will begin outdoor worship in the Meadow on Sunday, June 21 at 10:15, the day after the tentative Phase 2 re-opening of the State.
To support those who would prefer to stay home, we will record the service and upload it to our YouTube Channel. In the event of rain, the service will be recorded in the sanctuary with only worship leaders. Details of the many logistics will be shared in advance of the service.We plan to continue outdoor worship until September, as we await further clarification and updates on the pandemic.
The church offices and sanctuary will continue to be closed throughout the Summer. However, clergy are always available for socially distanced conversations at home or outside on the church grounds. Staff will continue to work primarily from home and are available by email.
The tremendous blessing is that our church property offers beautiful, peaceful locations to pray.The Memorial Garden is in full bloom.The Meadow can be a lovely place for reflection. In the next few weeks, we plan to put-up the outdoor lighted labyrinth for additional prayer spaces.
Our first gathering together on June 21 will also be a marking point for the summer hiatus of our formation programs including weekly Bible Study, Godly Play, the Connect class and Discovery hour.We will look forward to joining you all in the Fall again for those programs.
We recognize that for some it is disappointing not to be in the beautiful church sanctuary again this summer. Yet please know that our love and care for each of you calls us to be extremely cautious in our gatherings. In Paul’s First letter to the Corinthians (3:9) we are reminded “We are co-workers in God's service; you are God's field, you are God's building.” In these uncertain days we will worship God in safety and in joy, recognizing that it’s not the physical space we inhabit that makes us a family of God, it’s our shared prayers and worship that binds us together in faith as God’s building.
With every blessing,
The Reverend Stephanie M. Johnson, Rector
Margaret Feldmeth, Senior Warden
Holden Sibley, Junior Warden