Old North Church in the Time of the Coronavirus: PLEASE READ!

After much discussion at our meeting last night, the Leadership Ministry Board made the decision to suspend “in person” worship services and other church meetings and functions through the end of March. This decision, made out of an abundance of caution and our shared sense of responsibility to members of the congregation and the wider community. It was based, in part, on recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and other public health officials who advise the public not to panic, but to be prudent and prepared for an escalating number of confirmed cases of COVID-19. We are learning this morning that a host of other religious congregations here and around the country are taking similar action. We hope and pray that we will be able to resume our normal activities at the end of the month and we will closely monitor trusted sources of information as it becomes available.

Meanwhile, we will continue to be the Church, our ministry will take shape in new and novel ways. We are exploring ways to create “virtual” worship experiences and conduct our board and committee work through teleconferencing and online streaming. We are also working on ways of connecting with and serving those who are experiencing hardships this challenging time. Although the office may not be staffed during regular hours, please feel free to email (office@onchurch.org) or call the office at 781-631-1244 and leave a message or contact me on my cell phone, 203-217-7239. Watch this space for details as they develop.

While the Coronavirus and COVID-19 are new to all of us, it is certainly not the first time we’ve faced a challenge together. Now, more than ever, we need to trust that God is in the midst of all this and find faithful ways of being the church. We know that this too will pass. So in this time of fear and uncertainty, I encourage you to find ways of drawing into the Spirit’s tether. I’m not sure who Lynn Ungar is, but a friend sent me something she posted yesterday. I believe it puts this pandemic in the context of our faith. May you find within these words of poetry a word from God.


What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath —
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love —
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

                                — Lynn Unger 3/11/2020

In faith, hope and love,
A direct and compelling headline
Contact Us: 781-631-1244

Church Address: 35 Washington St., Marblehead, MA 01945
Mailing Address: 8 Stacey St. Marblehead, MA 01945
A direct and compelling headline