Volume 5, Issue 15
April 17, 2020
THIS SUNDAY: April 19, 2020
Second Sunday of Easter
Lectionary Scripture Readings

ALL ON-SITE CHURCH SERVICES CANCELLED

8:15 - 9:00AM
Online Morning Prayer Service Music*

9:00AM
Online Morning Prayer Service*

*available on the All Saints' website and Facebook page, and via phone, see info below
UPCOMING EVENTS
Preschool Spring Break
EXTENDED
Monday, March 16 th -
Thursday , April 30 th
7:15AM - 5:15PM
Sloggett Center
RECURRING EVENTS
ALL RECURRING EVENTS SUSPENDED UNTIL APRIL 30 th
Sunday School
Every Sunday, 9:30 - 10:15AM
Memorial Hall

Aloha Hour
Every Sunday, 10:45AM - 12:00PM
Under the big tree

Monday Crew
Every Monday, 8:00AM
Church Office

Laundry Love
1 st & 3 rd Wednesday, 5:00PM
Kapa`a Laundromat
McMaster Slack Key Guitar and Ukulele Concert
Every Wednesday, 6:00PM
Church

Daughters of the King
2 nd & 4 th Thursday, 7:00 - 8:00PM
Memorial Hall

Choir Practice
Every Thursday, 6:00PM
Choir Room
All Saints' Response to COVID-19
ACCESSING SUNDAY SERVICES
Please be advised that Kahu Kawika and Fr. Andrew from St. Michael and All Angel's Church in Lihue are collaborating to provide a special joint service recording for Sunday's worship service.

The recording will be available for viewing on our website,  www.allsaintskauai.org  and the All Saints' Facebook page by Sunday morning. 

Congregants will also have the option to listen to the recording by calling the church office, (808) 822-4267, and following the prompts provided through our new auto attendant feature.
Reflection from Kahu Kawika
No Such Thing As a ‘ Low’ Sunday !
Ka’u ‘Ohana i ke Akua,

One of my favorite Sundays in the whole year is next Sunday – the Second Sunday of the Easter Season, commonly called ‘ Thomas Sunday .’ Taken from John 20:19-31, this is the story of when Thomas rejoins the group of Jesus’ friends the Sunday evening a week after Jesus’ resurrection. He had not believed the word of his friends that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead – Thomas told them that he would not believe until he could see Jesus for himself and get to touch Jesus’ scars on his hands and side. Jesus does indeed appear to all of them that Sunday evening the week after Easter, and he especially talks to Thomas and allows him to touch him to allay his doubts.

In many church circles, this Second Sunday of Easter is also known as ‘ Low Sunday ,’ mostly because it seems anti-climactic after the run-up of Holy Week and the festivities of Easter Sunday. I suspect also because many clergy feel pretty tired after all that activity and often take that Sunday off, as well as the fact that some folks who attended worship on Easter morning will then skip the following Sunday. No wonder that it seems a pity that Thomas, who already has had a rather bad reputation down the ages for being ‘Doubting Thomas,’ also gets stuck with a day called ‘Low Sunday.’

However, I urge all of us to discount referring to this Sunday as ‘ Low Sunday ,’ for a couple of reasons. The first is that I actually see Thomas as a role model for how we can have faith in Christ (please listen to my sermon on this week’s recording on our website when it is posted), so we should thus not look down on him.

But secondly, I do not believe that ANY Sunday should be referred to as a ‘low’ Sunday. Each week, we gather (either in person or virtually) to honor the wonderful truth that Jesus took an early Sunday morning to fight the forces of sin, death, and the Devil on our behalf, and turned a disheartening situation into a living hope. When we gather in person, each week we celebrate Holy Communion, received in faith that Jesus is alive now, sitting at God’s right hand on high, and living within us together as the Body of Christ on this earth. And each week, we as God’s people get spiritual and social nourishment to strengthen us to embody God’s love and to serve those around us. No Sunday is a mere day, and thus no Sunday is ever a ‘low’ Sunday.

What is true, though, is that many of us may be feeling low as we face daunting challenges in our lives, as individuals, families, and in our society and world. Indeed, the story we have this week from John 20 shows Jesus’ disciples isolated in fear of outside forces (remember that Jesus has to urge his friends repeatedly to have peace) in a residence from the rest of the world – eerie echoes of what many of us are now living through in our stay-at-home isolation in light of COVID-19 and the corresponding economic downturn.

The fears we face are real ones for sure – however, Jesus showed up in light of the real fears of his early followers as well. If we keep looking to Jesus, we get a better perspective on the things that scare us or pull us down. The things that frighten or worry us may not disappear all of a sudden, but we do know that we can face them armed with the conviction that we have a God who loves us, is going through life with us, and will see us through to the end.

Especially when feeling low, remember these words of the Apostle Paul, who himself wrote them while in prison for his faith: “Don't be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, coming from a place of thankfulness.” (Philippians 4:6) And, remember – there are no ‘low’ Sundays because Jesus made Sunday special.

I ke mahalo o ke Akua,
Kahu Kawika+
A Joyous Easter!
Senior Warden David Murray's Reflections


We all experienced a very different Easter this year with stay-at-home orders, social distancing and the near total shut down of the island economy. It was sad to see All Saints’ closed – but fortunately modern technology gave us access to virtual services that we could all enjoy from home.
Mahalo nui loa to our own Kahu Kawika and Fr. Andrew of St. Michael and All Angels for cooperating to bring the Easter message to us. We are blessed to have two wonderful ministers leading our churches at this particular time. Mahalo also to Fr. Andrew for the personal Easter Day story. Classic! I heard it when it was being recorded and it was just as funny on Easter morning!
Mahalo also to our Music Minister, Hank, and the members of the virtual choir who rounded out the service. A great performance by members of our regular choir, other members of our `ohana who do not usually sing with the choir – and even some visitors from the mainland who join the choir when they are here on vacation. All of these wonderful people recorded their parts individually and submitted video recordings to Cami in the office who put the whole thing together! Brilliant work!

If you have driven past the church recently you will have noticed that our Easter cross has been raised out front and there are floral displays in place as well. After all, it’s a time to celebrate. Mahalo to everyone who contributed and helped put the cross and flowers in place.
And, finally - mahalo to all of you, our church `ohana, for your friendship and your support of All Saints' Church. We all are truly blessed. I cannot wait for the day to come when we are allowed to come together as a congregation and can raise our voices in celebration. Let’s hope that day comes sooner rather than later. Virtual services are fine but you just can’t beat the real thing!

Alleluia, Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia, Alleluia, ALLELUIA!

-David Murray, Senior Warden
COVID-19 Be Damned!
Preparing the Church for Easter
Easter Celebrations by the All Saints' `Ohana
Enjoy the Fun!
We didn't gather to celebrate Easter but some of your `Ohana shared their food and fun through photographs. A pool egg hunt at the Darryl's, cracking coscorones (confetti filled eggs) at the Caldwell's, lamb chops with the Jacksons, watching the National Cathedral service at the beach sunrise with the Crockers, an awesome Easter bunny dessert with the Baldovino and Wakuta family, and Easter egg hunts! Join in the Easter fun by clicking on the slide show above.
21 st Century Infrastructure for 21 st Century Outreach
Generous Donors Initiate Needed Improvements
Commit, and Providence Will Follow.*

It is no secret that the current All Saints’ WiFi network is inadequate for today’s needs. It works well in the Church Office and Rectory but in other areas of the campus it is unreliable at best. The current COVID-19 lock-down has highlighted the need for reliable internet access so All Saints’ can continue to carry out its various Ministries. 

To ensure reliable internet access All Saints’ has contracted with local service providers to run hard-wire connections to each building on the All Saints’ campus. As it turns out, this is the perfect time, with both the preschool and church closed, to proceed with the trenching, laying pipe, and electrical work needed for the project. Exploratory utility trenches were dug before the lock-down and Mayor Derek Kawakami graciously gave All Saints’ permission to proceed with the project (while observing social distancing). Check out the progress in the slideshow below.
So what can you do? Ron Morinishi has donated his time and talent to oversee the project. As a donation to the church Phil Panquites has volunteered to lay the pipe and do the electrical work for free. Anonymous donors have stepped forward with significant seed money to make sure this project moves forward quickly.

Search your heart to find what time, talent, or treasure you have to contribute to the future of All Saints’.

* Scottish Proverb
To contribute to All Saints', please click on the link below.
Zonta Club Scholarship Applications Available
College Bound High School Women Are Eligible
We have received the Zonta Club Scholarship application forms for high school women going off to college.

If you are interested in applying, please forward the instructions on the provided link: zonta-kauai.org . Please feel free to pass this on to any women you know applying to college.

-Cami Pascu Baldovino
Forward Day by Day
Booklets Now Available
For those who are interested, we have about 20 daily devotional books available at the office. 

If you would like a book mailed to you, please email  church@allsaintskauai.org  or call 822-4267 to place your order and confirm your mailing address. 

-Cami Pascua Baldovino
Click here for the donation form.
Click here for some Frequently Asked Questions.
This Week In Sunday School
Jesus Ascends into Heaven
Sunday School has been suspended until the Diocese gives us the ok to return to the All Saints' campus for worship. Until that time, the Sunday School article in The Epistle will include more information so the parents of our keiki can share the lesson with their children.
Summary of Today’s Story

For forty days after his death, Jesus appears to his apostles and promises them the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Then Jesus is taken up to heaven while they watch.

Weaving our Story with the Biblical Story

There are times when God “disappears” to put us on our own. God wants persons, not puppets. And yet there is a sense in which Jesus did not go away at all.

Jesus is God with us (Emmanuel), which means that the reality of God’s presence is tied to the very existence of Jesus, not just to his acts or his miracles or his teachings. As he ascends into heaven, he brings us with him.

Jesus had said to his disciples (and to us), “I will be with you to the end of the age.” Where he had once dwelt among them, he now dwelt within them. In some ways, he was more real than he was before. They could reach him wherever they were, in a deeper and more abiding relationship.

And so it is with us. Jesus dwells within us. Though we have never seen or known Jesus in the flesh, as his disciples did, Jesus is as much with us now as he was with them at his ascension. When he ascends to heaven, he becomes available to all of us, at all times and in all places. His ascension signifies the total assurance and fulfillment of his promise to us. He has made our reconciliation with God happen; his work is complete, so he can now join his Father in heaven.

Jesus’ ascension into heaven is not the end of the story for us, but the beginning. Jesus promises us that the Holy Spirit will be with us.

Telling the Story

Today’s story is a story full of awe. Read aloud from a children’s Bible, showing the pictures, tell the story in your own words. If you tell the story in your own words, you can make it come alive by setting it in the present tense. Or tell the story as if you were one of the apostles present with Jesus. Put wonder and awe into your voice as you speak and use hand motions.
Do not stop to analyze or discuss the story at this time. For now, let the story sink into the children’s minds and hearts. Later, while having snacks or doing an activity, you can bring up the story again and invite the children to talk about it.

For a fun hands-on activity, print the picture below and create your own Ascension Masterpiece "By-The-Numbers".
Upcoming Family Retreat
Make plans now!

Save The Date - August 28-30, 2020
All Saints' has reserved YWCA Camp Sloggett for the weekend of August 28-30, 2020. 

Hopefully we will be through with the coronavirus restrictions and be able to participate in a fun family-centered and spirit-filled weekend. Reserve the date and stay hopeful.

Registraton forms and complete information will be available once we get closer to the date. 

-Mary Margaret Smith
BISHOP SUSPENDS ALL WORSHIP & GATHERINGS IN OUR CHURCHES THROUGH April 30, 2020

PLEASE GO TO THE DIOCESE'S CORONAVIRUS WEBPAGE FOR ALL THE LATEST UPDATES AND INFORMATION & STAY INFORMED
Video messages from the Bishop

The Bishopʻs Monday Message:
Reflection on Practical Matters
Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick shares a post-Easter Sunday video reflection and thoughts on more practical matters including the support of our churches. To watch the video, click on his image below, or visit the Diocesan website  HERE .
He has also prepared a letter to all in the Diocese shown below, that can be downloaded by clicking on the Bishop's Letter button:
A video message from the Bishop

The Bishopʻs Wednesday Message:
First Letter of Peter
During this time of separation, Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick will be sharing video messages on Mondays and Wednesdays. The Wednesday message will be a lesson/reflection. He invites all to join him over the next few weeks as he continues to discuss the First Letter of Peter. To watch the video, click on his image above, or visit the Diocesan website  HERE .

THE EPISCOPAL NEWS SERVICE
Churches bank on federal stimulus loans to help weather financial storm tied to COVID-19

By David Paulsen
Posted Apr 15, 2020
All Saints Episcopal Church in Tarpon Springs, Florida, is among the congregations across the United States applying for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program included in the federal stimulus package known as the CARES Act. Photo: All Saints

[Episcopal News Service] It may not have merited a single mention in the online video of your socially distanced Easter Sunday service this year, but behind the scenes – before, during and after Holy Week – the federal CARES Act has been and continues to be a big deal for churches.

Much of the $2 trillion stimulus package  that became law on March 27  is intended as a lifeline for private sector employers and workers, but The Episcopal Church and other tax-exempt faith-based organizations also qualify for emergency federal assistance amid the sudden economic downturn caused by the rapid spread of COVID-19. Finances at congregations of all sizes also have been disrupted by widespread prohibitions on public gatherings.

“Let’s face it, this is going to affect everybody to some extent. It just depends on what kind of condition you’re in,” said the Rev. Bob Kinney, who serves as a deacon and business manager at  All Saints Episcopal Church  in Tarpon Springs on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Kinney sits on the lowest rung of a ladder of churchwide mobilization. The CARES Act, formally known as the  Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act , allotted $350 billion for loans to employers through its  Paycheck Protection Program . In addition to payroll costs, the money can be used to cover utility bills and mortgage or lease payments for up to two months. All Saints applied for a $27,600 loan.

Up one rung on the churchwide ladder, the Diocese of Southwest Florida has been in regular communication with its 77 churches and two church plants about their financial options. As the coronavirus crisis has developed, the diocesan financial team, led by Ann Vickers, canon for finance and administration, has organized weekly webinars with priests and parish administrators. Vickers’ advice has included how to apply for federal assistance. All Saints and 69 other churches in the diocese are doing so.

The CARES Act allows them to request loans worth up to 2½ months’ personnel costs. Across the diocese, those requests total more than $6 million covering about 735 jobs – including the 38 people who work for the diocese and for the diocese’s DaySpring Episcopal Conference Center in Parrish, Florida.

The abrupt shift last month to online worship services has deprived churches of the ability to collect traditional plate offerings, though pledges  have continued to come in through websites and by mail . Within those constraints, some Southwest Florida churches’ financial outlooks are better than others, Vickers told Episcopal News Service.

Their cash reserves vary, as do their parishioners’ financial statuses, she said. Many congregations hadn’t attempted to collect digital offerings and donations until now, when it became imperative. With much of the economy shut down and  more than 16 million people nationwide filing unemployment claims  in the past month, churches and their parishioners may face financial disruptions for quite some time. “No one yet has seen the end or even the middle of what we’re going to witness regarding financial [impact],” Vickers said.

One more step up the ladder, Episcopal agencies and churchwide staff are working to extend some financial relief to dioceses and parishes while also ensuring that church leaders have the latest guidance on CARES Act implementation.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on March 17 assured dioceses “we will work with you” if assessment payments need to be rescheduled. Church Pension Group is waiving some parishes’ pension obligations for two months. The Episcopal Church’s Washington, D.C.-based Office of Government Relations advocated at the congressional level for passage of the CARES Act, and the Episcopal Church Foundation followed up with an informational CARES Act webinar featuring a panel of experts. The discussion has  since been posted on its website .

One stumbling block along the way involved confusion over  whether churches were covered  by the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program since they are not required to obtain the same tax-exempt certifications as other nonprofits. Episcopal leaders on all rungs of the ladder shared updates and suggestions with each other as they pressed for and awaited clarification. Late on April 3, the Small Business Administration, or SBA, which oversees the program,  issued guidelines that confirmed churches were covered .

Vickers shared with ENS part of an email chain in which diocesan and churchwide administrators and attorneys tracked those developments. In some cases, she said, church officials in Southwest Florida were the ones informing their lenders of the SBA’s clarification.
“That is an especially astounding example of the coordination of The Episcopal Church from all levels,” Vickers said.


FROM THE EPISCOPAL CAFÉ
Living Beyond Doubt

April 16, 2020

 
Having to trust what we can’t know is a challenge. That’s the problem the disciples faced as they had their first encounters with the risen Christ. They are clinging to the dead leaves of heartbreak, disbelief, and fear, because they think they have been left bereft, and those leaves are all they have left. It is there that the risen Christ appears among them, reassuring them and preparing them for the next phase in their ministry.
 
Our readings in the daily office for today remind us of the gift that doubt can give us, and the challenge that we face when we attempt to embrace and proclaim the wonder of God’s presence in our lives, especially during a time of fear such as this. Living beyond and through doubt can give us the clarity of taking our questions seriously and forthrightly.
 
When doubt becomes disbelief, it can blind us to possibility and imagination, especially that which is required to see the risen Christ in our midst, who often appears where and when we least expect him. He is there in every person asking us for something to eat or drink. He is there in every person who asks us for shelter, or for refuge. He is there, in every person, asking us to really see him and to welcome him.
 
In this world of pandemic, we face the conundrum that we need the promise of resurrection more than ever, and yet the resurrection IS an incredible thing to believe. Those of us living two millennia after those disciples can take comfort in the fact that those who knew Jesus best during his earthly ministry had to overcome a huge amount of doubt themselves.
 
Jesus closes with his reminder that his apostles are “witnesses of these things,” a claim we also saw in our first reading at v. 15. Being a witness is a solemn responsibility. Witnesses are expected to testify to the truth, fully and without embellishment. The disciples are called to be witnesses to “all nations.” For those of us who call ourselves “Christians” in the 21st century in North America, that promise rings true- even across the continents and the millenia. Alleluia! We are witnesses!
 
And that reminds us of our calling. We who are disciples— lay and ordained, doubting as we all are at one time or another—are tasked with carrying that witness out into the world. In last week’s passage from John 20, that was made explicit when Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit upon them, which for us recalls our baptism. We are called to witness to when we have encountered the risen Christ in our midst, or in our hearts.
 
We are called not just to witness, but to LIVE Resurrection, right now.
 
In turning toward reconciliation and resurrection, we called to shake off who we have been, and turn instead to embrace and embody who we are called to be. It’s not enough for us to see the glory of resurrection and what promises it holds for ourselves. We are called to witness to that resurrection and how it continues to work in a world that desperately needs to see it and be transformed, too. 
 
And that resurrection must be seen through us, as we rise too into new life, now, choosing to set our faces and hearts toward Christ. Jesus Christ is with us, risen indeed. He is still calling us to embrace life and love over death and need, calling us to place the well-being of each other, compassion, grace, generosity, and mercy at the center of our rebuilt lives. Jesus is calling us to embrace him by embracing our responsibilities to each other, to walk in the way of abundant love where there are no winners or losers. Only overflowing compassion and empathy, and acting for the reconciliation and dignity of every single part of this beautiful creation that offers us its beauties even in times of turmoil.
The Rev. Leslie Scoopmire is a retired teacher, mom, and musician, and serves as priest-in-charge of  St. Martin’s Episcopal Church  in Ellisville, MO, in the Diocese of Missouri. She blogs at  Abiding in Hope  and at  Poems, Psalms, and Prayers

THE EPISCOPAL NEWS SERVICE
One church’s tale of two pandemics, 100 years apart

By Megan Botel and Isaiah Murtaugh

Posted Apr 15, 202 0
A 1918 church school class smiles with the Rev. John Misao Yamazaki, vicar, and teachers outside the Mariposa Avenue home used for Sunday services by St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Los Angeles, California. Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Los Angeles

[Religion News Service — Los Angeles, California] At the height of the influenza pandemic in 1918, the Rev. John Misao Yamazaki stopped holding services at St. Mary’s Japanese Mission, the Episcopal church in Los Angeles he helped found more than a decade prior. Before mandatory quarantines were enacted, Yamazaki began visiting homes to pray for sick children and families.

More than a century later, in the midst of another global pandemic, the Rev. Laurel Coote, Yamazaki’s successor at what is now St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, stands in the quiet sanctuary livestreaming images of its empty pews and stained glass windows to her congregation via Facebook.

“I felt compelled to come into the sanctuary so that I could sit in its beauty and its silence and stillness. And I know that you’re missing it too, and so I thought, let me share it with you today,” Coote says in the video. “Christ is alive in this holy place.”
Historical records  unearthed by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles  show scenes of quarantine in the winter of 1918 and 1919 similar to the ones unfolding today: church doors shuttered, congregants in masks, clerics visiting sick patients. The experiences of older, traditional churches like St. Mary’s, logged in yellowed histories and faded black-and-white photographs, show how American religious institutions once weathered a crisis strikingly similar to this one.

“The example that was set by congregations and individuals during the 1918 pandemic has been a source of encouragement in the present time,” said Canon Robert Williams, the historian for The Episcopal Church’s Diocese of Los Angeles. “A number of our great-grandparents withstood the influenza outbreak, and their example shows us that we can withstand the challenges of the present day.”

Los Angeles escaped the first wave of influenza in early 1918, but a second, more deadly wave of the disease swept across the country that fall.  In September 1918 , a pair of local military bases went into quarantine, and on Oct. 11, government officials ordered the shutdown of schools and public gatherings. Then, as now, shutdown measures appeared to work: By the end of the epidemic, Los Angeles had 494 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with 673 per 100,000 in San Francisco.

Church records cite the home visits made by Yamazaki — a Japanese immigrant himself — as an important part of the church’s foundation. Many of the Japanese American families he visited had never met a Christian priest before the pandemic, but his willingness to pray with them convinced some to join the congregation. Two decades later, the mission would go on to help local families  weather Japanese internment during World War II .

After World War II, when many of those interned returned to LA, St. Mary’s became a refuge for Japanese Americans who had sold their homes before internment. The church opened up a hostel for the otherwise homeless.
The Rev. John Misao Yamazaki, left, first vicar of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, joins church school teachers beside a newly acquired Dodge bus parked outside the Mariposa Avenue home used for Sunday services. Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Los Angeles

Today, much of St. Mary’s English-speaking congregation is still Japanese American. But when local immigrant Mexicans, mostly from Oaxaca, began using St. Mary’s facilities as a community center eight years ago, Coote’s predecessor added a Spanish Sunday service. Today it is as large as the English service.

And amid the coronavirus pandemic, St. Mary’s Church has again expanded its community outreach. To assist the community’s large homeless population, Coote has extended the hours of a “safe parking” program in the church lot for people living in their vehicles from overnight to 24 hours. The church staff has also raised a special discretionary fund to help its most affected congregants pay bills.

“Both then and now, it’s a case of neighbors helping neighbors and congregations abiding by the requirements for closures and social distancing,” Williams said.

But as churches move on from Holy Week and Easter, Yamazaki’s home visits have been replaced by Coote’s internet-borne videos.
The Rev. Laurel Coote displays a devotional candle for congregants during evening prayer via Facebook Live on March 25. Image courtesy of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church

Before coronavirus, only 22 percent of Protestant churches said they livestreamed entire services, according to  polling from LifeWay Research . Now, 4 out of 5 churches are adjusting the way they do ministry and 45 percent planned to livestream Easter services, a  recent Barna poll  shows. As faith communities around the country close their physical doors, many are turning to social media and streams to connect with their congregations.
Heidi Campbell, vice president of the International Society for Media, Religion and Culture, has watched 20 different church livestreams a week since the closures began. She sees a consistent theme in churches’ strategies going digital.

“Right now, people want relationships, they want connection,” Campbell said.
The online shift, Coote believes, could change the way faith is practiced moving forward. “I don’t believe that we’ll ever return to the way that it was,” said Coote. “St. Mary’s had never been a digital church, and this has opened up a new way of expressing.”

Following Los Angeles diocesan protocols for COVID-19, St. Mary’s isn’t allowed to even livestream from its sanctuary right now. Instead, Coote is streaming her services from home. She produced her brief Facebook broadcast from the sanctuary during a quick stop at her church office to pick up paperwork.

“The hardest thing we’ve had to do is say to priests that you can’t even livestream from your church,” said Bishop John H. Taylor. “We follow a savior who gave up everything he had for the sake of the world. And what we’re being invited to give up this year is the physical sacrament, which we love. We are giving all that up to help save lives.”

On Palm Sunday, Coote held services on Facebook Live and Zoom in both English and Spanish. On Maundy Thursday, the congregation held a pandemic-inspired hand-washing ceremony over Zoom, instead of the more customary foot-washing ceremony. For Good Friday, she screen-shared a slideshow of woodcut images of the Stations of the Cross from Virginia Theological Seminary, accompanied by bilingual readings from Episcopal Migration Ministries. For Easter, the congregation met virtually for Morning Prayer, a traditional service without Eucharist from the denomination’s Book of Common Prayer.

The move to the internet has allowed Coote to begin holding Wednesday night prayer services over Zoom and Facebook Live, which she says has given St. Mary’s the opportunity to move from a “Sunday church” to an “all week” church.

Taylor said he sees similar shifts across the diocese. “People are saying, ‘We have more time for the pleasure of simple conversation and fellowship,’” Taylor said. “Suddenly there’s all of these relationships flowering, and I think that is going to transform us into a church that’s better equipped to sustain one another through the ups and downs of life.

“People are rediscovering the  Daily Office of prayer  and realizing that they can be in touch with their people every day,” said Taylor.

Coote said she doubts her congregation will emerge from quarantine the same congregation that went in.

“Part of what the community is involved in is asking who they are. There’s no better time for fostering this exploration,” Coote said. “For many people the sanctuary, the building, the environment is all what makes church, church. This experience of COVID-19 is causing us to realize that we are the church beyond the walls.”

This story is part of a collaboration between  Religion News Service  and  The GroundTruth Project  exploring how faith communities around the world are adapting to COVID-19, produced with support from the Henry Luce Foundation.
Apostle Thomas: Is There A Place For Doubt In Faith?

Posted April 27, 2014
By: The Rev. Dr. Fred Vergara
Is there a place for doubt in the understanding of faith?
 
A tight rope walker set out to walk above the Niagara Falls. He called out to the crowd that gathered. “Do you believe I can walk on this tightrope and cross the border of USA and Canada?” (As you know, one bank of the Niagara is in New York and the other in Ontario.) The crowd said, “Yes, we believe!” So he walked successfully to the cheers of the crowd. He asked the second time “Do you believe I can carry a chair while walking on tightrope from one end of the Falls to the other?” the crowd again said, “Yes, we believe!” So he did so successfully, to the cheers of the crowd. So he asked the third time, “Do you believe I can carry a person on my shoulders while walking on tightrope from one end to the other?” The crowd again said, “Yes, we believe!” At this point, the tight rope walker said, “Now who wants to volunteer?” There was complete silence.
 
The Gospel this morning seeks to address this question: Is there a place for doubt in the understanding of faith? Or is faith a blind faith? Is it alright for a Christian to express doubt or skepticism?  
 
The context of this gospel of John 20  is the evening of that day of Jesus’ resurrection. The apostles were meeting in a room and the doors were locked for fear of the Jews. Suddenly Jesus stood among them and said, “Shalom, peace be with you.” He showed them his hands with nail marks and his side spear marks, breathed on them the Holy Spirit and empowered them to forgive.
 
Now it so happened on that evening that Thomas, one of the twelve disciples, were not with them. Please note that at this time, there were only 11 disciples left, because Judas already hanged himself. So when Thomas rejoined them a week later, his comrades were excited to tell him, “We saw the Lord.” The reaction of Thomas? “Unless I see the marks of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails, and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
 
Now, let me remind you at the outset, that in the company of the apostles, it is not only Thomas who had expressed doubt about Jesus.  There was Philip who said, “Lord, showed us the Father and we shall be satisfied,” and to which Jesus said, “How long have I been with you, Philip that you don’t know me? How can you say “show us the Father?” If you have known me, you have seen the Father.” There was Peter who doubted Jesus when he was walking on water; and there were the rest of the apostles who doubted whether Jesus can feed five thousand people, with only five loaves and two fish.
 
Some years ago, I heard the testimony of the late Rev. Alan Watson of the Church of England. He suffered from terminal cancer and went through the “stages of dying” such as described by psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler Ross. When he was on the “anger stage” he wrestled with the question, “is it alright to be angry with God?” His answer was written in a book he wrote before he died, “Fear No Evil.” In short, his answer basically said that “it is alright to be angry with God---because God can take it.” His wife could not take his anger, his children could not take his anger, but his God can!
 
In like manner, Jesus understands our questioning and so he indulged Thomas. He appeared out of the closed door and said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands; reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” And what was the reaction of Thomas? He made a remarkable confession, a “leap of faith!” Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!”
 
From the starting point of doubt, Thomas would lay the foundation of the Christian faith. “My Lord and my God” is an ontological, Christological and soteriological confession. Jesus is not only the messiah of God; Jesus is not only the Son of God. Jesus is God! 
 
The confession of Thomas would become the foundation stone of this eternal mystery, this extraordinary theology that is God is One in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
 
I have therefore three things to say about the place of doubt in the faith of Thomas:
 
First, It is alright to doubt if it leads to a deeper knowledge of God. St. Anselm of Canterbury said, “faith seeks understanding.” Our faith is not blind faith. Our faith is anchored on the pillars of  "scripture, tradition and in reason," the three-legged stool of Anglicanism. To paraphrase St. Paul: If Christ had not risen from the dead, we are of all people to be pitied. But the truth of the matter is that Christ rose from the dead. His tomb was empty; his skeleton was not there; his ashes were nowhere to be found.” If one day, Jesus’ DNA will be found through the advances of science and technology, we will remember Jesus only as a great prophet--but not God who is co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
 
Second, it is alright to doubt if leads you to good works.  Between St. Paul and St. James, there is an interesting discussion about faith and works. St. Paul expressed in his letter to the Romans that we are saved by faith alone (Romans 3:28, 5:1) and in  Ephesians 2:8, he wrote “for by grace you have beensaved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God." St. James on the other hand, wrote that “faith without works is dead.” So if your doubt leads you into “working your salvation with fear and trembling,” then it is alright to express doubt.
 
It is alright to doubt if it ultimately leads to mission. Thomas’ doubt turned to genuine faith and ultimately led him to mission. Driven by this sense of mission, Thomas moved “from Jerusalem, to Judea to Samaria and to the ends of the world.” He traveled as far as India to proclaim the risen Christ and planted churches, until he was martyred in Madras in 53 A.D. Today, the age-old churches in India, such as the Mar Thoma Church, stand as a legacy of the doubting Thomas who was so convinced of the faith that Jesus is "both Lord and God.”
 
May your own questioning lead you towards a deeper knowledge of God, towards doing good works in Christ and towards fulfilling your mission of reconciliation. Amen .
Resource hub on church responses to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

27 March 2020
The COVID-19 global pandemic is now impacting on every part of the Communion. Following official public health advice, churches are suspending public worship services and other gatherings. This is vital to prevent the spread of the virus, save the lives of the most vulnerable, and protect the health services from being overwhelmed by cases. In many parts of the world churches have moved to online services, while others are using local radio or even connecting through a tolling church bell to call people to shared prayer at the same time but in their own homes – together in spirit while remaining in lockdown to help prevent the virus spreading. Today the Anglican Alliance is launching a  resource hub  to share learning on how churches are responding effectively to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

At the Anglican Alliance our global team has been connecting with churches in each region to learn about their experience, to gather examples of effective responses and, above all, to share in fellowship at this most difficult of times. It has been inspiring and encouraging to learn how churches are adapting to the current challenges: maintaining common worship even when we can’t gather; upholding a shared life of prayer; sustaining connections to encourage those living in isolation; and continuing to serve the most vulnerable in our communities while following safety guidelines. We have also learnt from the wisdom and resilience of those parts of the Communion which have faced epidemics and other crises in the past. In the midst of the troubling headlines there is still good news of gospel hope to be heard.

In these times it can feel as though a storm has arisen with the waves crashing ever wider across our world. We are reminded of the storm in the gospel story when Jesus and his disciples were out on the Sea of Galilee. (Mark 4: 35-41) What is the ‘storm’ that we are experiencing in the time of COVID-19? It is not just the virus itself; it is also the suffering of those who are ill or lonely, those who are fearful, those who do not know how they will earn their living or where their next meal will come from. It is the loss of our gatherings for worship. It is the intense pressure on health services, on the economy, on all our daily lives. Yet Jesus promised that he is always with us. We turn to him in prayer as we face the storm. And he called us to be the Body of Christ. Today Jesus is working through his people to calm the storm of COVID-19 – through our words and actions.

So what should we be saying and doing to overcome the fears and calm the storm in the time of COVID-19? What shall we do to be the Body of Christ in our world today?

The answers to these questions are reflected in churches across the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Alliance has held a series of regional and global consultations to learn from responses across the Provinces. We are also engaging with the World Health Organisation and with other Christian and secular agencies to learn from their expertise.

Today the Anglican Alliance is launching a  resource hub  on our website to highlight the key areas of church responses to COVID-19 and provide links to useful guidelines. This will be a growing resource hub over the coming weeks. There are two sections:  knowing the facts  and  how the Church can respond .

The “ knowing the facts ” section covers:

  • Key facts from the World Health Organization: How the virus spreads and how to prevent it.
  • Countering misinformation
  • Guidance for churches: on following official guidance; maintaining shared worship when not able to gather.
  • Preventing the spread of COVID-19 in crowded settlements
  • What is COVID-19 / Coronavirus?
  • What is a virus?

The “ how the Church can respond ” section covers:

  • Spiritual and theological resources: prayers, bible studies, reflections
  • Supporting community preparedness
  • Supporting people living in lockdown: including caring for children, home schooling, coping with stress and family pressures, tackling domestic violence
  • Church and community engagement
  • Sustaining hope and care for the most vulnerable
  • Building a more connected, resilient and compassionate society for the future
  • Examples of resources from around the Communion
  • Other resource hubs on faith-based responses to COVID-19

This is a living resource, which is under development and being updated as the situation develops. Please provide us with your own contributions where requested. And please let us know if there are other topics you would like, be emailing us at: anglicanalliance@anglicancommunion.org

Next week we will publish a resource called: “Faith in a time of COVID-19”, with information, bible studies and prayers.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has talked about the Church providing ‘hope and comfort’ during the pandemic. We have seen this borne out by churches across the Communion. In a message to the Bishops of the Communion, Archbishop Justin Welby said: “May God keep you and bless you. May God keep the whole Anglican Communion. May we reach out to the suffering and the vulnerable, to the poor and the ill. May we show courage and bravery, knowing that in everything God works for the good of those who love him.”
IN BRIEF . . .
These news briefs were featured in previous issues of "The Epistle"

Please submit your story ideas to the Epistle Staff at news@allsaintskauai.org .
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