Dear Holy Communion,
Jesus emphasized love of neighbor and care for the vulnerable as central values in the life of his followers. Out of that love, and out of care, I share with you the following news:
For the foreseeable future, Holy Communion will continue to worship and gather exclusively online and over the phone. After June 1, a small group of clergy and musicians will broadcast Sunday Morning Prayer from the church. Some readings, sermons, and music, will continue to be streamed from homes. Small groups will also be convened online and on the phone. This decision will be revisited before mid-July, as the situation with the virus develops.
There are minor but important exceptions to the rule. Groups of less than 10 will be allowed to gather for outreach work, in our parish garden, food ministry at Trinity, and for Laundry Love. Sacramental needs will be evaluated on a case by case basis. We may need to host a small funeral in the church. Clergy may officiate a small wedding in a park. And the clergy may make pastoral visits to folks who feel a strong need for Eucharist. In all cases, these gatherings will carefully adhere to guidelines around mask-wearing and other safety practices.
I made this decision after receiving results from our survey, and after consultation with our Worship Committee and Vestry. The decision was informed by prayer and input from our bishop-elect; and our other clergy and staff. It doesn’t make the decision easier. I long to stand together, to sing together. I want to be able to exchange the peace, and hugs, and share food. We simply can’t do this safely at this time. So we will walk forward slowly, and carefully. We will trust God will continue to be with us.