The Bishop has released a tentative plan for re-gathering the Church; the link can be found below. It merits your careful reading. As our state government prepares its plan to slowly return Maryland to a sense of normalcy and productivity, so, too the Church prepares herself for a gradual return to what is familiar, what is treasured, and what is most vital to our purpose and mission.
You will find that much of the plan is a carefully thought out series of steps, each requiring specific criteria to be met before moving to it. Our Diocese will comply with the Governor’s standards at a minimum but may be more conservative in its approach. It is also important to appreciate that while the Diocese will move forward along such a path, each individual Parish will need to tailor its progress to its particular circumstances. Our Vestry is beginning this work and welcomes your thoughts.
This has not been an easy journey, nor will it be for many months. We have been asked to re-pattern our lives, to make sacrifices for our own safety and the safety of others. Such commitment will still be required. And, while it is true that we have responded during this crisis as we have so many times before – with courage, creativity and compassion – we still must cope with our anxieties and uncertainties, and - as our Bishop has stated – the sense of grief and loss that has also marked the passage of what seem endless days and strange new routines.
The journey back will be slow and deliberate. Whenever we begin, it will be comprised of incremental steps, not giant leaps. It will require patience and prayer. It will ask us to continue to re-define and rediscover ways to be community, to take care of each other and those who need us, to welcome others and to remember the lessons that we learn. And, most importantly, it must be our intent to do all of this without leaving anyone behind.
Please take a few minutes to read this joint statement the Bishops of Maryland, Washington and Virginia.
Fr. Ken Phelps, Rector
The Vestry of All Saints
Turning Toward the Future with Caution and Hope: A Phased Approach to Regathering as Church