In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge…for you are my hope, O Lord God, my confidence since I was young…I have been sustained by you…
[from Psalm 72 read at Morning Prayer today]
Dear Friends in Christ,
I am writing you this morning to provide an update on how The Falls Church Episcopal is responding to the ongoing and evolving situation with the COVID-19 Virus. This email will let you know:
- How our services will be affected and how we will adapt
- How other activities at the Church are affected
- How to provide your offering to the Church online in lieu of a ‘live’ gift
As the world grapples with this virus and all that it entails, each of us is called to make changes, adjustments and perhaps even sacrifices. This decision was not an easy one, but one made prayerfully as we discern best how to model loving our neighbor as ourselves, especially the most vulnerable among us.
Your Vestry and Clergy met yesterday afternoon and again last night and are working to balance caution with commitment—how do we best protect our most vulnerable parishioners, while continuing to be a welcoming beacon of faith, hope and love through our care for each other and our neighbor. As we listen to health professionals, we are hearing that exacting hygiene and social distancing are the first line of defense. Of course, we add prayer, especially for those sick and most vulnerable, our healthcare professionals, and our leaders. We are guided by a strong sense of care, prudence, wisdom and generosity of spirit and action. So please note:
- All worship services are suspended on Sundays March 15 and 22 as is our mid-week Wednesday service at least through March 25 until we can reassess the situation.
- We are making plans to Livestream a simplified Sunday service from the Historic Church on Facebook and will let you know when and how to connect to this service that you may watch from your home–stay tuned for updates. It will most likely be at 10:00 or 10:30 a.m.
- Our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will be preaching this Sunday at 11:15 a.m. at the National Cathedral , and we invite you to join this liturgy online at either cathedral.org, or on the Cathedral’s Facebook page.
- Most parish meetings and events at TFCE are canceled until further notice, including the Evergreens today, Yoga on Saturday, Sunday School/children’s formation, Youth Group, Churchlings, and Centering Prayer. Where possible, ministry leaders will continue meetings and activities through conference calls and other media. If you are uncertain about a meeting or event, call the church or the leader of that event. The staff and other leaders are working on ways to make e-platforms available for meetings; more to come next week.
- We ask that during this time you continue to make an effort to contribute to the Church as you normally would. Although we are not having services the work of our parish, staff and clergy continues. If you are used to providing us a check or cash on Sundays, this is a good time to consider switching to e-giving. Using Realm is safe, easy, and convenient. For a step-by-step guide on how to do this, see the link here.
- For the time being, the church offices are open and your clergy and staff are continuing to work using caution and the necessary hygiene practices. Should anyone feel sick they are asked to stay at home. We are working quickly to try to create online learning and worship opportunities to continue to meet the needs of our parish family.
- The Day School will remain open unless/until the Fairfax County School System closes.
- At this time, outside groups like AA, the Scouts, and music groups, etc. will continue to meet at our facilities; they will decide the best course of action for their groups. If you are a part of any of these groups, please call your group leaders, and not the church office, to find out the status of meetings and gatherings. Should we fully have to close the church buildings, these groups will will not continue to meet at TFCE facilities.
- If you are feeling isolated or anxious, please do not hesitate to reach out to your clergy, Father Andy or Pastor Kelly. We are here to pray with and listen to anyone in need.
- We are continuing to monitor this fluid situation closely, following the recommended guidelines of the Diocese, CDC and health department, and adjusting as needed. We will continue to keep you updated.
These are extraordinary yet anxious times that call for extraordinary responses. Will you kindly continue to reach out to your neighbors. Support your local businesses. Check on loved ones. Act in love and patience. Pray without ceasing. The one thing that we know for sure is that God’s love is stronger, deeper and more life-giving than anything else that comes our way. Please do check this page for updates. Prayerfully, be kind and generous of spirit and rest in the assurances of God’s grace. We will get through this, and we will get through it together with God’s help.
Much love in Christ and Pax,