Building God's Kingdom through
Worship, Outreach and Fellowship
Dear Friends,

We hope and pray that this letter finds all of our St. Andrew’s family safe and healthy. We are certainly in challenging times right now, but – with God’s supreme love and guidance – we will get through this!

We are very fortunate to have Anne and Marc offering daily prayers and worship through online communications. On Sunday, we are able to worship with them by signing in to their message through our website or Facebook. Please also be reminded that as the business of St. Andrew’s continues, it is important to make every effort, if we are able, to continue contributions through our pledge and/or non-pledge commitments. Our gifts, both large and small, are critical to our financial stability. There are many ways to do this…checks may be mailed to the church, utilizing the “Bill Pay” systems at our banks; and Rachel Roby is working on ways to facilitate contributions using credit cards…more on this to follow.

In any case, please keep the well being of our Parish in your prayers. As we continue to live through these difficult times, please know that you are in our prayers. Stay safe, stay healthy, and let us all try to stay in touch with each other by phone, text, email, or social media.  

Should you need our help please feel free to contact us.

Blessings to all,

Chris Robinson, Senior Warden
Doug Burgoyne, Stewardship Chair
A Very Present Help

Years ago, my mother called with the upsetting news that my brother was believed to be having a heart attack. His family was asking for prayers. The words of two psalms immediately came to mind:
  • From Psalm 46: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. 
  • And from Psalm 121: I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
Those two psalms kept swirling in my head, and a trusting peace came over me in the midst of that storm.

Now, in the midst of a storm that affects everyone, no exceptions, we are in the fortunate position of being able to draw some reassurance from the Bible and our Hymnal. Sadly, not everyone has these resources in their consciousness.
  • From Hymn 671: Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I (we) have already come; ‘tis grace that brought me (us) safe thus far, and grace will lead me (us) home.
  • From Hymn 652: …speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire, O still, small voice of calm.
  • From Hymn 388: Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail, in thee do we trust, nor find thee to fail; thy mercies how tender! How firm to the end! Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend!

These words, among many others, have sustained followers of Our Lord for many generations. Now is our time. -Brad Norris, Minister of Music
Dropping off your pledge
Even if a staff person is not at church, you can drop off your pledge checks in the mail box just outside the Main Street entrance to the church. Be sure to open the drop door all the way and ensure that whatever you deposit drops down into the bottom collection box. Please do not put anything on the top shelf! You may also do the same with your mite box. Just be sure to tape it well so your coins don’t fall out.
Phone calls from St. Andrew’s parishioners…
During the week of March 15, did you receive a phone call from a fellow St. Andrew’s parishioner? We hope so! We’ve started a phone ministry to help us take good care of one another during this pandemic. Parish callers are reaching out in order to find out how everyone is doing and what needs we might be able to address, especially for those who live alone and/or are in a category of folks especially vulnerable to the coronavirus. We’re also asking parishioners if they have special prayer requests. (After all, we’re a church; and praying is one of our best skills!)

We plan to make another round of calls the week of March 29. Please take the opportunity to talk with your St. Andrew’s caller, even if it’s someone you’ve never met. In this time of social distancing, sharing conversations with fellow parishioners is a way to strengthen the fabric of our precious community. If you miss the call, we hope you’ll call back so the caller has an opportunity to touch base with you. Meanwhile, please don’t hesitate to email Anne or Marc at any time or to call Anne directly at 804-687-5396 if there is a pastoral emergency.  
Prayer requests from round 1 of our phone call ministry
The parishioners who are making calls on behalf of St. Andrew’s to every member of our parish have been asking folks what they’d like us to pray for. Praying is something each of us can do, no matter where we are.  

Below are the requests we received in the first round of calls. In order to preserve confidentiality, we are not including last names. (Many of the people on this list are friends and relatives of parishioners, not members of St. Andrew’s themselves.) Please keep these people/situations in your prayers:

• All medical professionals, especially Joel, Julia, Liz, and Mark
• 93-year-old Con, in a nursing home
• Rachel, who has respiratory issues
• Children, teachers, and all educators
• Hal, Travis, and Terry
• Marge
• People over the age of 60
• Prayer that everyone will do the right thing and think of others
• Ben, who lost his wife and is going through a personal crisis
• Anne, going through a personal crisis
• Three women having personal issues
• A woman with medical issues
• Church leaders to know how to minister to people, especially the children
• Rose, young woman traveling in Laos
• General health and well-being
• Lee, Jenna, Zachary, Gabriel, Nathan, and Katherine.
• A woman recently laid off from work
• Substitute teachers

After the second round of phone ministry calls, we will share with you a new list of prayer requests. Blessings to each of you. –Anne 
No public worship until after Easter
In a recent letter to our diocese, Bishop Haynes wrote:  In light of Bishop Curry's advice, the advice of health professionals monitoring the pandemic and the directions of government officials, public gatherings for worship continue to be suspended in the Diocese of Southern Virginia until further notice - a time frame which regrettably includes the liturgies for Holy Week and Easter . She concluded her letter this way:  
I do realize that none of this is news that you wanted to hear today. I did not want to deliver it. I do want to remind you, however, that in this time when social isolation might cause us to feel disconnected and separate, there is nothing, absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ (Romans 8:38-39). Not even the coronavirus! And if we all make our life in Christ, from whom we are joined, then we cannot be separated from one other either!

So what does this mean for us at St. Andrew’s?
It means that the clergy and staff are hard at work creating ways for us to walk through Holy Week and celebrate Easter together online, in print, and in spirit. Good Friday will still include the Stations of the Cross. On Easter we will set up the flower cross in front of the church for parishioners and neighbors to decorate while keeping the required social distance. We are inviting everyone to participate in “The Easter Project” (see below). We are working on details of all our upcoming services and will keep you posted.  
The St. Andrew’s Easter Project

Background
This Easter, we will hear the story of Jesus’ resurrection as told in John’s gospel. Easter is the high holy day of Christianity, the day that gives everything else and all of our lives meaning. Most years we celebrate Easter together in worship, with glorious music, exquisite flowers, a (hopefully!) rousing sermon, and shared Eucharist. This year, our lived Easter experience will actually be much closer to that of Mary Magdalene, who was alone when she met the resurrected Jesus. So let’s take this opportunity to engage deeply with the Easter story from our new vantage point of social distancing. What insights do we gain about the meaning of Easter when we encounter it in a more personal, individual way?

What is the St. Andrew’s Easter Project?
The St. Andrew’s Easter Project will be a collection of videos filmed by parishioners in which they share reflections about John’s Easter story. It will be a way for us to hear from one another about what Jesus’ resurrection means in our lives right now.

Who can participate?
Anyone and everyone. Your video can be of just you yourself; or of your family all together sharing their reflections. You can be 5 years old or 95 years old. If you have a smartphone or laptop with filming capacity but don’t know how to make a video, we have folks who can talk you through the process. If you don’t have access to video technology, we can find someone to interview you by phone and record your reflections that way. We can work together to ensure that everyone who wants to participate is included.

How do I prepare to make my video?
  1. Read John 20:1-18. Read it again. And probably again.
  2. Think and pray about these questions: a. What part of the story resonates the most for you right now? Why? b. Where and how have you encountered the risen Lord?
  3. Plan what you want to say to answer those two questions. Plan for your video to be no more than 3-5 minutes long.
  4. Don’t make your video yet, as we still have some technology details to work out.

How will I submit my video?
Stay tuned for specific details coming soon.
Interacting with Facebook
Where are you watching the daily videos posted by Anne and Marc? Are you multitasking, perhaps cooking or cleaning, as you listen to the inspirational messages? Maybe your pets get in on the experience? Whatever your ritual or routine, please share with us. Perhaps knowing that someone else experiences the videos in a similar way will bring us comfort and a sense of connection. Looking for pictures, comments, or any other ways you feel moved to respond! Take care.  

Instructions for responding: (You must have a Facebook account.) 
  1. Navigate to the St. Andrew's Episcopal Church Newport News VA Facebook page by clicking here.
  2. Locate the pinned post under Posts. From there you can learn about how others watch the daily videos and add your own comments and photographs. If you're friends with other parishioners on Facebook, tag them by typing their names to see if they might be willing to respond also. Perhaps we'll all feel just a bit closer together as we gain new insights into how others are experiencing these difficult times.
Note for people who normally get the weekly newsletter through the Post Office
During this time of social distancing we are relying heavily on digital communications. For those who are accustomed to receiving your newsletter Through US mail, we will now send it to your email address. After things return to normal, we will resume postal delivery for those who want it. Thanks for understanding.
We're sending you something special in the USPS mail!
Please be watching your mailbox. We are sending you (together):
  • Anne’s Easter letter and an Easter envelope. Your Easter contribution goes to support our general church budget.
  • The Stations of the Cross booklet with the full litany and pictures of St. Andrew’s stations for your use on Good Friday, so you can follow along with our online service on April 10.
Another safety tip
If you have a safe place outside, leave cardboard packages outside for a day after delivery, unless it contains food, and let air remove any possible virus germs.
We're here for you!

What if I need to reach the parish clergy or staff?
You can reach us by email, even if we are working from home. 
Rachel:  saec0371@gmail.com

What if I have a pastoral emergency or know of someone else who is ill?
Call or text Anne directly at 804-687-5396!!
Links to St. Andrew's digital resources:
Other resources for worship at home: