Sunday Services Suspended Until May 10
Dear People of St. Paul's,
I am writing to share the news that St. Paul's will be suspending worship through May 10. I know how important the community we share is to everyone, especially in uncertain times, and your staff and leadership are working on ways to keep us connected for spiritual and tangible support.
In our own parish, I have been working with the Vestry and various leaders to find ways to allow continued gathering for worship in a safe and responsible way. In the past two days, we postponed our Tijuana house build, suspended choir rehearsals, and simplified and then suspended Coffee Hour. Yesterday afternoon I had a lengthy conversation with our Sr. Warden Bryan Vander Lugt and Dr. Wade Aubry, discussing the possible responses to the virus. We finally concluded that the responsible thing to do was to suspend all worship gatherings at the church until we knew more about the spread of the disease. We did this for a number of reasons:
Deep concern for our own parishioners, especially those vulnerable because of medical conditions or age.
A concern that we not become a place where the virus was spread through us to the larger community.
The concerns of many parishioners about the virus, and the continued day-to-day adjustments needed to keep our parish community and guests safe.
Minutes after we concluded that it would be best to suspend worship, we received a message from Bishop Marc asking all Episcopal congregations in the diocese to suspend all worship for the month of March. (diocal.org)
Our work ahead is to continue to be there for one another in what will probably be a difficult few weeks. A few ways to do this are in the works:
We plan to offer online streaming of worship each Sunday.
Work is underway to identify our most vulnerable parishioners, to contact them, and to create a web of care for those who need it.
The leadership is now discussing ways that we can strengthen community even while practicing social distancing.
I look forward to communicating more details in the coming days and will send a link to our online worship service tomorrow. Please know that your staff and leaders are still available and please don't hesitate to contact us.
Though none of us would choose this crisis, I am confident the Holy Spirit can work through us in this time to strengthen our community as a caring and healing place.