From the Rector's Desk
The Rev. Ledlie I. Laughlin
Rector, St. Columba's Episcopal Church, Washington, DC
Dear Ones,
My wife Sarah and I live not far from St. Columba’s. In the four-plus years we’ve been here, we’ve gotten to know all the neighbors on our block enough to say hello in passing and, with a few, enjoy getting together socially. We joined a local email list – just 25-30 of us – and occasionally chime in on important news like pick-up days for old Christmas trees. 

Last week, a neighbor wrote, “ Don't panic. There is no coronavirus in the neighborhood. But the virus' spread in other cities and countries suggests that now is the time for us to think about how to take care of each other if the virus comes here. I propose we let each other know if someone among us needs help. Please think about who is living on her or his own, or who might have trouble coping with a serious illness. If you know someone who needs our help -- from shopping to paying bills to running errands to cooking meals -- please let the rest of us know. We can take turns helping out in various ways. The burden on any one of us would be small but collectively the impact could be huge.” Before days’ end, everyone affirmed their eagerness to help if/as needed. 
I find myself inspired, grateful, heartened, and eager to pass this message on to you.

Friends, there is much fear among us these days. We are wise to be cautious, but as Christians we are called to love, mindful of the teaching that “perfect love casts out fear; there is no fear in love.” (I John 4) At the Last Supper with his disciples, Jesus said, “ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”

Even as we take precautions for ourselves, let’s actively seek out those whom we can support. I feel fortunate that my neighbor started that email chain. What if we all reached out, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood? Our love could spread faster than any virus. “ By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13)

At this time we are continuing all worship and activities at St. Columba’s. In keeping with advice from the CDC , I shared precautions last week. Here are a few updates: 
  • Our housekeeping team is doing everything possible to keep our property clean and safe. We have limited amounts of hand sanitizer now, but it is on order.
  • Respecting the importance for some people’s piety, we will offer the common cup, but intinction (the act of dipping one’s bread in the chalice) will not be permitted. It has long been the teaching of the church that receiving bread alone is full participation in the sacrament of Christ’s body and blood.
  • Older adults (you can decide who you are) may be well advised to avoid all large assemblies, including church. If you stay home, pray for us; we will pray for you.
  • If you are ill or need help of any sort, please let us know immediately. As Christ’s heart and hands, we are here for you.
  • We are monitoring latest updates from the CDC and will respond accordingly.

Finally, “bless” is one of our practices in Jesus’ Way of Love. Each of us can be a blessing to others. Look for small miracles each day. Name those places in your life where you experience beauty, joy, or love. The world has great need of our love. Share the Good News.

The Rev. Ledlie I. Laughlin, Rector

We understand that unknown viruses can create worry and anxiety for families. If your child is feeling anxious, here are a few helpful resources: