A Message from the Priest in charge...
Dear Members and Friends of St. John's:
Yesterday morning, our regular SW Atlanta Convocation Clericus meeting was held via Zoom (isn't that the 'norm' these days!) and Bishop Robert Wright was our guest. Of course, the main question on everyone's mind was "When can we re-open the churches?" Well, in short, not that quickly!
Next week, June 17, during our regular call with the Bishop and his staff, we (clergy) will be given the guidelines for a Phase One re-opening. That document has been circulated and vetted by the Bishop's own task force on COVID-19 as well as all the Deans of the convocations. The Bishop anticipates a lot of discussion around that document, both on the call and then within each parish community. There will be certain requirements to be met by each community and decisions to be made. The decision how/when to re-open will be a choice for each parish - not a mandate. As we learn more, we will share those details with you.
Several things everyone has recognized is this: "hybrid" services and group gatherings will most likely be the norm going forward (some in-person and some on-line) and worship/fellowship/ministry as we have always known it will not be the same. Bishop Wright urged us all to "stop dithering with the details around the edges" and start thinking about how to start things anew, re-imagining why and how we do things, often letting go of practices that are just still hanging around and continuing to do new things in the ways we have found work just fine in this pandemic world. He urged us to think about a "parish" in a new way - what should it be in terms of worship and fellowship and ministry - in terms of geography and connections?
There is so much work to do - so much to think about - so much to consider. But it all gets back to the fundamental question: Who are we as St. John's and what is our role in the life of our parishioners and in this community? From that understanding, we can figure out where we need to be going, what we need to be doing and how to get there. Much to ponder... and pray about.
Rev. Terri +