From the Rector's Desk
The Rev. Ledlie I. Laughlin
Rector, St. Columba's Episcopal Church, Washington, DC
Dear Ones,

The clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington just received this updated directed from Bishop Mariann. Please know that our St. Columba's clergy and staff had just begun conversation about how we can best "be the church" should there be a lengthy shut-down. I will be in touch soon as we put plans in place but I wanted you to receive this message from me before the public media. 

In these difficult times, let us lift one another in prayer and put our faith in God. Blessings be upon you and all whom you love.
 
Peace!
Ledlie
The Rev. Ledlie I. Laughlin, Rector

The Lord is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved . . . Psalm 46:1-2

Dear Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington,

I give thanks to God for each of you and for your courage and creativity as we all adjust to the constraints required of us. Your entire diocesan staff is praying for you, that you may feel Christ’s abiding presence as you tend to your loved ones and all within your sphere of pastoral concern. We are here to support you in any way we can. 

In keeping with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent recommendation to cancel or postpone all gatherings of 50 or people for the next 8 weeks and in consultation with the Presiding Bishop, I am instructing all public services and other church gatherings be suspended until May 16th. 

Rest assured that if these recommendations are lifted--and we all pray that this crisis passes sooner--I will re-open our churches gladly. For now, I want us all to have sufficient clarity to prepare for what lies ahead, most notably, Holy Week and Easter Sunday without physically gathering in church. 

The spiritual, pastoral and financial implications of this pandemic are beyond what any of us can fully grasp or predict. But you belong to a diocesan community and we are in this together. 

We are scheduling regional video gatherings with all clergy; we want to hear their concerns, share their good suggestions and resources, and make plans together for the coming weeks. The diocesan staff are working to address financial hardships, coordinate resources, and ensure needed care, doing all we can to ease the load.  

The storm we are in will one day pass and getting through it is our primary task. How we pray now, how we lead now, how we support one another and our people now, how we serve our community in Christ’s name now will inform our future ministries far longer than the storm itself. 

Remember that Jesus is in the boat with us. 

Faithfully,

Bishop Mariann