December 10, 2020

Dear Friends,

I am delighted to announce the whole Episcopal Church will be invited to worship with us this Christmas! Well, maybe not the whole Episcopal Church, but a good portion of it. This year, St. Bartholomew’s has been asked by The Episcopal Church to broadcast our Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Candlelight Carols services to the wider church.

Our worship services will be posted on The Episcopal Church’s communication platforms for everyone to access, and people from all over the United States and all over the world will join us in the celebration of Christ’s birth. As you may know, many smaller parishes do not have the capability to broadcast services on the internet. Our broadcasts will be for them a wonderful Christmas gift which we are happy and honored to share.

The pandemic has given us many opportunities to adapt, innovate, and overcome. We have learned to live with the disappointment of being unable to sing, pray, or worship together in our magnificent church, and we have become much more resilient in the process as we find innovative ways to know Christ and to make Christ known.

I am in regular conversation with a group of physicians who have been advising us regarding our responses to the pandemic since March. It is their judgement that when the positivity rate (as averaged over a 7-day period) is above 4%, we should suspend in-person worship. I concur with that judgement and we are above that rate in the City of New York. This means we will suspend in-person worship services for the time being. As soon as the infection levels go back down, we will reevaluate the possibilities of in-person worship. Unfortunately, this also means we will be unable to hold in-person Christmas services at St. Bartholomew’s this year, which is a disappointment for all of us.

No matter what, Christ will be born again this year and we will celebrate mightily the light which scatters the darkness. Please continue to keep our church in your prayers and please continue to support our parish in every way you possibly can.

The Right Reverend Dean E. Wolfe, D.D.,