The Reverend Thomas Skillings, Rector
Dear Friends at St. Paul’s,
We are living through extraordinary times. Everyone and every area of our lives have been changed in some way to deal with the worldwide pandemic. Plans for the future are tentative and what the next weeks and months will look like is still very unclear. I want to share with you briefly where we are, and what we probably know about where we are going.
I have been so gratified by the people, leaders, and staff of St Paul’s in responding to this time. We have found engaging ways to worship at a distance and to stay connected. Members of our community continue to offer their gifts by serving at our online services, reaching out in caring ways, and serving the larger community.
Our professional and support staff continue to work offsite to lead and support the varied ministries of our church. I am so grateful for the ways each of them has learned new ways of using their gifts and equipping all of us to be church together.
We’re learning a lot that will help us be more effective even when things return to “normal.” Learning to teach, offer music, pray, and meet online has allowed even more people to connect. Our virtual services are attended by almost twice as many people on a given Sunday as our usual attendance. Even in the difficulty, there are many gifts we’re receiving at this time.
In the next few weeks and months we’ll build on what we are learning, and hopefully create many opportunities to connect, learn, and pray. For the time being, these will be connections made through technology. We are all hopeful though that the process of being able to meet and worship in person will come. Gov. Newsom has said there is no set date, rather when we are ready to manage the pandemic we’ll slowly re-engage in our active lives.
When that happens St. Paul’s will follow healthy guidelines and gather as we are able. We’ll find ways to worship and care and serve. Perhaps in smaller groups at first, and then as safety allows in larger groups. And for me, this is the key for the next few months as a church. While we can’t plan in a long-range way, we can adapt and adjust to constantly emerging new realities. We can continue to learn to be agile, and try new things, and adopt a kind of patient innovation. Also, we can continue to be Christ’s people, even in the midst of a pandemic.
In a couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing more news about the roof construction at St. Paul’s, new outreach opportunities and ways to go deeper in Spirit. Your Vestry will have a better idea of how we’re doing financially, and I’ll share that as well.
Lastly, I am so grateful to you for all the ways you are showing up. Engaging in worship, praying for each other, reaching out in love, and serving our community. It is such a blessing to serve such a vibrant community.
See you Sunday (virtually)!