Pastoral letter to the people of St. Andrew’s for the Fourth Sunday in Lent during the COVID-19 pandemic

Announcement of virtual worship service March 22 at 10:00 am via zoom
Dear Friends in Christ,

As I and many others keep saying, we are certainly in uncharted waters these days. I want to assure you that you are all in my prayers. May God grant us grace, wisdom and courage in these anxiety provoking times.

Let us heed the call to pray deeply during this season – keeping on our hearts and minds on Jesus and on those affected and afflicted in a variety of ways, those who serve on the front lines in healthcare, and all first responders – pray for our community, town, nation and the world. Let us ask for healing and for peace.
I share a couple of prayers that bring me comfort –

“O merciful God, who has taught us in your holy Word that you do not willingly afflict or grieve us: Look with pity upon our sorrows – Remember us, O Lord, in mercy, nourish our souls with patience, comfort us with a sense of your goodness, lift up your countenance upon us, and give us peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Amen. (Book of Common Prayer p. 831 adapted)

“Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake.” Amen. (Book of Common Prayer p. 134)

And an antiphon
“Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.” (Book of Common Prayer p. 134)

I want to thank you for your patience as the wardens, vestry and I figure out how we can continue to serve you.

We want to gather in worship in a manner that works in this new landscape - and we seek to facilitate connection among us in novel and safe ways.

Some of you have been perplexed about decisions to cancel in person gatherings - I assure you discernment about that was both difficult and deliberate. Our moral, societal and civic responsibility for the welfare of all, and for the special protection of those most vulnerable remain paramount to our choices.

And to that end, I share some information –

1.       Our buildings are closed to all in-person gatherings. The office is closed, as is the preschool. However, mail is still being processed. Financial operations continue. And I am available pastorally by phone 203 245-2584 x 1 or 203 245-0613 and email shariya@standrewsmadison.org We can also make arrangements for virtual conversation.

2.      Beginning this Sunday, March 22 we will provide the opportunity to gather for worship (remotely) at 10:00 am . Bear with us as we retune our hearts to this virtual manner of being together – the goal is to connect with God and with each other in prayer. We will gather on zoom.

·         Join the Zoom Meeting using this link  https://zoom.us/j/277699116  at 10am on Sundays.  The meeting can be accessed by computer, tablet, or smartphone. A Zoom app is available from the Google or Apple app stores. 

·         To join by phone for audio instead of a computer, this call-in number can be used: +1 929 205 6099 US (New York) Meeting ID: 277 699 116 

·         If you have never used zoom before start early as you will need to download zoom.

3.      We will communicate with you regularly. Please reach out to each other as well. And do let me know if you need assistance or pastoral care.

I look forward to seeing some of you via the computer screen on Sunday morning.

May God protect and bless you!
Shariya+