May 21, 2020

Dear Members of the St. Martin’s Family;

As I shared with you this past Sunday, I want to give you some updates about reopening our campus for worship and other activities.

Our staff has been working very hard to determine how we will reopen when we receive permission to reopen for worship from our Bishop, the Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, and our regional Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Hector Monterroso.

The “when” will be determined after there is a steady decline of new COVID-19 cases in Greater Houston. This will be the primary factor in determining when we will begin to return with a phased-in approach for worship.
Our Bishop required that we submit our plan for reopening for his approval. Vice-Rector Marty Bastian, Vicar Chad Martin, Worship Services Coordinator Barbara Piana and Contemporary Worship Coordinator Beth Ollenberger worked very, very hard to create a plan for worship that best accords with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, the guidelines of our state and city and, most importantly, the guidelines given to us by our Bishop. With the comprehensive support of our Bishop, Clergy, Vestry and other Parish leaders , we now have a plan as to how we will open when we receive approval to do so.

When that happens, please keep a few things in mind:

  • We will begin slowly. Our intent is to begin by offering two services Sunday mornings. These services will include the “Liturgy of the Word,” but will not include Holy Communion.
  • We will begin small. With social-distancing precautions in place, the most we will be able to have at one time is around 125 worshipers. So, we will likely begin with two services of 125 people.
  • Virtual worship, fellowship and educational opportunities will continue. When we reopen for in person worship, we will (as many of you have requested) continue our virtual worship.
  • We will soon add a virtual Family Table service. This will give parents with young ones an opportunity to worship together in a Family Table style.
  • Plan for “Pray Day.” Soon after opening for worship, we will begin to open the Church one day a week for private prayers on a scheduled basis. We realize that you miss being here, and this will allow more of you to visit our holy and inspiring Church.
  • Our plan is flexible and we will likely require changes as we move ahead. None of us have experienced a pandemic. We are reacting to changing circumstances and our plan will change accordingly.
  • Even as worship opens, our campus will remain closed. We are not, at this time, prepared to open our campus facilities for events, nor will we open Café St. Martin’s, the Activity Center, the Gift Shoppe or any of our child care facilities. This will come, but we will begin with worship.

So friends, brothers and sisters, thank you for your patience and your prayers. We will get there. The good Lord will see us through this valley to the other side. In the meantime, continue to pray, worship and love those in your life and all those our Lord sends your way. And “ may the peace of Christ rule in your hearts .” Colossians 3:15

The Rev. Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr.