Pastoral Letter
Lent 2020, March 19, 2020

Response to CORVID-19

Dear Friends,

We hope this message finds you and yours in good health and spirits given all that is going on at this time.

We apologize for the length of this letter but want to keep you as informed as we can, given that as new information comes in, things can change. We will be in communication with you weekly, if not daily as we go forth.

We are all experiencing a very unique time in the history of our world, country, and community. For those who believe and follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, this is a time to lean into Jesus, so we may place our trust in him.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will
give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;
for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for 
your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30

The purpose of this message is to share our updated responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the opportunities we have, and to live into this new reality until it is over.

We want to assure you that our staff, leaders, and Bishop have been in regular contact with medical professionals and public health experts, including direct access to Dr. Cheryl Anderson at UCSD.

The bottom line is we need to make dramatic changes , as we anticipate the government and Bishop will impose more restrictions shortly. We want to be proactive.

We are shutting the down campus - but the work and our mission continues: to share life, love, and light of Jesus Christ with the world, made real and tangible.

We need to place a “pause” on things we so often take for granted such as all in-person gatherings and meetings.

In addition, all people over 65 are to remain at home . Our medical experts tell us their immune systems, in general, are not able to fend off this virus and do not respond as well to current treatments.
Because of this, the Bishop has restricted all clergy over 65 years of age from ministry outside of their homes . In our case, this includes seminarian Cindy, Deacon Bill, and Canon Allisyn.

So, what does this mean at St. Bart’s?
1.      Our campus and office are officially closed until further notice. We are making three exceptions:
  • Paid staff under the age of 65
  • Officers and Vestrypersons
  • Red Cross Emergency Blood Drives

2.      All Life Saving Groups (AA, Al-anon, ARC, etc.)
  • We will suspend meetings on campus for the time being. Mike Jewett has been in communication with all of them.
  • Feeding San Diego has been suspended until further notice.

3.      Our preschool is closed until further notice (per Poway Unified Schools reopening).

4.      All formation for children, youth and adults will be offered online (live-stream or pre-recorded), by Zoom and other group apps . Sunday School in a box will be mailed to your door.

5.      We are suspending all in-person pastoral visits. We are making countless phone calls.

6.      We will be activating a St. Bart’s Parish Phone Tree .
  • Nina Zettinger and Shinubu Horne are finalizing the phone tree to include every household.
  • If you don’t get a call by this time next week, tell us.

7.      We will be worshiping together online until further notice .
  • We are preparing to worship “online” for the next 2 to 4 months, including Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter.
  • We will offer internments for immediate families of 8 people or less.
  • No celebrations of life (funerals), weddings or baptisms
  • Emergency Baptisms can be offered by family members. Please let us know so we can help.

8.      Rest assured the staff is working very hard . All church staff will be paid and expected to work through this time, mostly from home.

9.      Many you have asked, how can I help?
  • Calling your neighbors
  • Set up Zoom meetings with your ministry teams, and just chat and pray
  • Make someone laugh today
  • Pray online with us each day
  • Help us resource/fund our 2020 Crisis Pastoral Response Fund
  • We’ll have opportunities for you each week

10.   As you are able, please know we continue to rely on your online giving and/or mailing in your offerings and pledges (16275 Pomerado Road, Poway, CA 92064). Our goal is that the ministry of the church keeps going to meet ongoing and extraordinary new demands.

11.   While the preschool is closed, as we are able, we will extend work hours to our preschool teachers to assist us, as we will not have volunteers on campus until further notice.

12.   Campus Redevelopment will continue
  • With permissions from the town and our contractors
  • With ARCH and Finance committee oversite

13.   Call the church anytime for support and prayers . We have forwarded the church phone (858-487-2159)) to ring on a staff person’s cell phone.

14.   You may also call or text us anytime
  • Mark: 781.801.3586
  • Allisyn: 619.829.2887

As we said at the beginning of this letter, this is an unprecedented time. And without denying the reality of the challenges we face, we are also grateful beyond words for the faithfulness of this community and the honor to walk this time with you, as we all try and follow Jesus. Thank you.

Faithfully yours,

Mark Mckone-Sweet                         Allisyn Thomas
Rector                                                 Associate Rector