I wanted to share with you the latest news from the Diocese concerning the Church’s response to the current pandemic and the impact that will have on our normal practices.
As expected - to keep the Church in compliance with guidelines issued by the CDC and other government entities, and to ensure the health and safety of all of our people – the Bishop has directed that we continue our moratorium on public worship through May 16. I will address worship in more detail below.
The Bishop is also aware that certain ministries and missions do need to function - for example, 12 Step Programs, or Food Assistance programs like HeartFELT – and that they should continue, limiting participation to groups of ten or less and following all guidelines pertaining to social distancing and sanitizing. Where possible, groups are encouraged to find virtual alternatives.
Now, as to worship…
All Saints is already ahead of the curve in that we have established our virtual platform for our weekly Eucharist, to which I am also going to add our Wednesday Healing Service. (Links will be created and sent to you).
The Bishop is requesting – not demanding – that all members of the Diocese join him in virtual worship on three occasions; the services to be live-streamed from the Cathedral in Baltimore. Details will follow, but the dates are this Sunday, March 22; Good Friday, which is April 10; and, Saturday, April 11 for the Easter Vigil.
Now, we have our worship service scheduled for this Sunday at 10 AM. The Cathedral service begins at 11. I am proposing that we gather as planned and at the end of our worship, I will link in the Cathedral service for those who wish to remain and hear the Bishop’s sermon on Psalm 23 and remarks on the current crisis. I will also make that link available for those who would like to join in directly.
I know it is going to feel very strange for most of us to celebrate this highest of holy days in the cozy confines of our living rooms. As we improve our delivery of worship online, I have little doubt that our experience will still be meaningful. But I am declaring now that the Sunday when our moratorium is lifted, be that Sunday May 17 or June 14 or in September – that we will make that the day of our Easter celebration. And we will make it a celebration of new life and new hope and new energy as we shout our Alleluias and embrace each other in a sign of peace. I can’t wait.
As I said in my sermon on Sunday, we will weather this crisis, just as this parish has weathered every challenge it has faced in the past. And, we will emerge better than ever, our bonds of love strengthened, our sense of community deepened.