March 31, 2020

Dear Members of the St. Martin’s Community,

One of the things that seems to be an everlasting source of new insight–one of the things that strikes me afresh again and again throughout our faith–is that often, the things that “we” plan are not the things that God plans. What do we do in those moments? Perhaps nowhere is it more succinctly put than in Proverbs 3:5, “ Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” 

I am just south of 60 years old and I cannot think of a time that the human family has been called upon more to lean not on our own understanding, but to trust in the Lord. The Coronavirus has changed life for all of us. It is frustrating and, at times, maddening. As I shared during our virtual services this past Sunday, I am grieving; I miss being at Church with you . I miss you. I miss our smiles, our conversations, our prayers, our singing, our worship and–yes– our handshakes. Yet this is where we are– for now –not forever.

What I offer next is something I thought I would never share with members of this beloved Church family. Upon the advice of several medical professionals with whom I have personally spoken; upon the direction of our President to continue to practice “social distancing” at least until April 30; under the advice and counsel of our Bishop, who has been in touch with the members of our Clergy throughout this entire season; and, finally, after consultation with our Clergy and Wardens, we have agreed keep our campus closed until at least April 30. This means, for the first time in nearly 70 years, we will not hold Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter Sunday services on our campus.

I confess to you, I am terribly disappointed, but I have to trust in the Lord. This means we will keep our campus closed and continue to have “virtual worship” through at least April 30.

We have posted materials for all ages on our website. We have pulled together a team of more than 50 members (Parish leaders, Clergy and Pastoral Care folk) and begun calling every single St. Martin’s household. If you want to speak with a member of the Clergy, you can call the Church at any time at 713-621-3040. We invite you to visit our web page where we will be posting details on the following services:
Sunday, April 5
10 a.m.
Palm Sunday Liturgy
Monday, April 6
Holy Monday Service
Tuesday, April 7
Holy Tuesday Service
Wednesday, April 8
Holy Wednesday Service
Thursday, April 9
7 p.m.
Noon Day Prayer Service
Maundy Thursday Liturgy
Friday, April 10
Good Friday Liturgy
Sunday, April 12
10 a.m.
Easter Sunday Liturgy
Please pray. Pray for one another, pray for those infected with the Coronavirus and those caring for them, pray for those who have family members who have died, and pray that our Lord will stay close at hand. Pray that we will draw near to Him in this important hour, and that, in holding His hand and in His holding each of us, our trust in Him will bear the fruit of a deeper faith, a grateful life and an everlasting hope that carries us through this life unto the next.

Faithfully and Most Sincerely,
The Rev. Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr.