Senior Warden Notes
We know that our audience reaches far beyond Key West this time of year. There is a large diaspora of folks with a history here who have moved to other parts of the country. There are many more who are with us for periods ranging from a few times a year to most of the year. Many have returned to other homes for the summer.
Those of us who remain are settling into the quiet time. And I have to tell you, it is with some trepidation.
The city and county are reopening Key West to tourists on June 1. So far Key West has been largely spared the depredations of the novel coronavirus (although our own congregation has suffered several grievous losses.)
Nobody knows what will happen when the gates to the hotspots on the mainland are opened. Yet we are dependent on commerce and visitors. So we wait and we pray.
As Father Steve noted above, there is a great tension between the need to protect our members and visitors (many of whom are in high risk groups) and the need to be open and to be a community. Please bear with us. None of these decisions are easy. And, because we are Episcopalians, such decisions are never made in a vacuum. We must work within the parameters of our diocese and the wider church.
My personal goal is to have the church nave opened to the public for private, socially distanced prayer (not gatherings) as soon as practical. It breaks my heart for our sacred space, a haven for so many, to be off limits for so long. In addition, the cumulative effect of losing revenue from the donation boxes and votive candles will erode our finances over time, further impacting our ability to minister to our community.
But finances aside, the peace of our space is itself a gift to visitors and locals. For better or worse, St. Paul's is bigger than any of us. We are the custodians of an icon, a refuge and symbol of Key West.
There is a lot to consider and we cannot open without the bishop's permission. But please know we are doing all we can to examine every angle -- including the overriding need to protect everyone we love and embrace.
Because some have asked: when you can give, know that all contributions are recorded for those who have pledged or have accounts" -
just as if the money was received on Sunday
. Money for special funds, such as the Music Fund or Organ Fund is directed to those accounts when the intent is listed.
The address is 401 Duval Street, Key West, 33040 or via our Church
God bless you!