From the Rector's Desk
The Rev. Ledlie I. Laughlin
Rector, St. Columba's Episcopal Church, Washington, DC
Dear Ones,
As incidents of COVID-19 spread, I want to share decisions that your staff and I had been anticipating, that have been made by our bishop, Mariann Budde.
Bishop Mariann Announces
Two-Week Cancellation of Public Worship Services
To be clear, at the direction of the bishop, St. Columba’s Church and Nursery School – with all worship, programs, and other activities – is closed. Full stop. Effective at 6 pm today, for two weeks, through March 25, at which time, there will be a reassessment. This applies to all churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.

Our intent is to do what we can to deter the spread of the virus, to support one another in love, and to reduce the risk for all. 

To spell out some of the implications of this:
So we can continue to be connected with and support one another I am asking all classes, committees, and small groups to develop options to meet via teleconference, Zoom, Skype, or alternate medium. We will provide committee and ministry leaders with support, access, and guidelines. Truly, church is the people, not a building.

With this announcement, I ask that we all take time to reach out to others, to offer your support and prayers, first to those whom you know through church, then to your neighbors and beyond.

On Sun., Mar. 15, our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, and on Sun., Mar. 22 the Rt. Rev. Bishop Budde, will be live-streaming a sermon and prayers from Washington National Cathedral. All Cathedral worship services can be accessed via  www.cathedral.org , or on the Cathedral’s Facebook page In the coming days, St. C's clergy and staff will put together creative ways to equip you for worship at home or with neighbors. Stay tuned.

In consultation with the Mayor’s Office and the Department of Human Services, our Water Ministry leadership team will determine how best to care for our guests while our property is closed. It is essential we care for the most vulnerable among us.

All church staff will work from home. No member of St. C’s staff will receive a reduction in take-home pay even with decreased activity. 

These measures have not been undertaken lightly. The truth is that the vast majority of people at St. Columba’s will either not get the virus or, if they contracted it, would only be mildly ill. The problem lies in the risk of a healthy person spreading the virus to someone who is not. And that concern, that love for neighbor, is what is motivating these changes. 

Know that all our clergy and staff are available to you and that we are holding members of St. Columba’s, as well as people worldwide, in our prayers.  
 
God of the present moment, God who in Jesus stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart, 
bring hope and courage to all who wait or work in uncertainty.
Bring hope that you will make them the equal of whatever lies ahead.
Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is health and wholeness; 
you are God, and we need you.
Amen.
The Rev. Ledlie I. Laughlin, Rector