March 13, 2020
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Bishop Eaton Closes Churches
Due to COVID-19 Virus
Dear St. Paul’s Community, 
 
Today, Bishop Eaton announced that church services in our Diocese are cancelled through the end of March. Our diocese joins many in the Episcopal Church that have announced this decision, including, Washington, Virginia, Southern Virginia, Easton, Olympia, California and Indianapolis, to name only a few. We have all also seen Disneyworld close, college and universities cancel classes, sports tournaments and even whole seasons cancelled. We have never seen anything like this before in our lifetimes. 
 
Therefore, all services and in-person activities of St. Paul’s are cancelled until March 31, including:
 
  • Sunday services, beginning this Sunday 
  • choir practice, starting tomorrow
  • the Lenten series on Tuesday evenings
  • the Southernmost Chamber Music Society concerts including this Thursday’s concert
  • the Organ recitals on Fridays

In addition, given the number of people from all over the world who pass through our church, St. Paul’s will be closed to the public for now beginning today. We will revisit this decision soon to determine when the church can be open again for private prayer and meditation, even though group worship is suspended. However, the gardens, including the Memorial Garden, will remain open daily for prayer and meditation.
 
In our Baptismal Covenant, in the Summary of the Law, and in the New Commandment that Christ gave his disciples the night before he died, the fundamental principle that guides all we do is love. Love one another. Love leads us, at times, in surprising directions. Those most vulnerable by age include the clear majority of our own congregation. It would be devastating if any member of our community were to become sick with this virus from our inaction. These measures are surprising necessities in order to care for and protect one another. 
 
Even as we care for each other by creating social distance, we will work to ensure that no one becomes socially isolated. We are already working to begin using digital media as new ways to be connected as the body of Christ. Look at our email notices, website and Facebook page in the coming days. 
 
Let us pray that this pandemic comes to an end. Let us commit to taking all necessary action for the welfare of the most vulnerable among us. Let us discover new ways to follow the new commandment that Christ gave us, to act out of love at all times. Do not hesitate to reach out to any of us. We are open to your good ideas and constructive feedback. 
 
May the mercy, grace and peace of Christ dwell with you, 
 
Steve Carlsen
Interim Rector
 
Ray Warren
Senior Warden
 
Greta Ford-Phillips
Junior Warden