Hello beloveds!  I miss each and every one of you!  As you know, we are working on new ways of connecting and new ways of worshipping until we are able to gather again.  Your staff is very hard at work creating on-line worship resources and we are happy to tell you that, at least as of today, we’re planning Sunday Eucharist from St Barnabas that will be accessible to you on-line.  A link will be sent to you on Sunday morning, and you’ll be able to virtually “come to church” at St B!  One of your fellow parishioners asked if we could ring the church bells “after church” on Sunday so people could come drive around the parking circle and hear the bells – I thought it was brilliant and yes, we will!  If you are comfortable coming out in your cars (everyone must stay in their cars!), come at 11:30, drive around the parking circle, see other parishioners (in their cars!) and hear the bells of St B!  I will be standing at the top of the plaza steps and will offer you a blessing (in your cars!) from more than 6 feet away.  Although we are not to be gathering at church, the Bishop has approved this “parishioner parade” as long as I stay more than 6 feet away from you and you all remain in your cars.

As this Lenten season continues to unfold, each day brings with it new ways of being together and not being together.  Every day there are new things to wonder about, new things to plan for, maybe even new things to worry about.  Every cough calls attention to itself.  Every near empty jar in the pantry invites us to wonder whether we’ll be able to get any more of whatever is in that nearly empty jar.  Every skipped date or meeting or missed day at work brings with it an uneasiness that lives in us.  It’s not what we thought would happen, we weren’t prepared, and we aren’t necessarily sure what to do with ourselves.
For those of us who struggle when things are uncertain, these are particularly difficult times.  But as the T&C signboard reads, We’re All In This Together!  And that is a beautiful thing.  It doesn’t make the uncertainty go away, but it does help us to refocus and reframe, to take our attention off of the last of the peanut butter or the inconvenience of not being able to go out for dinner, or that little tickle in the back of the throat...  

We’ve always been “in it together” it’s just that we’ve had the luxury of not having to pay attention to that.  We’ve pretty much been able to get what we need and what we want at any given time, so we didn’t necessarily notice the people who couldn’t.  The shelves in the market used to be full so we didn’t think so much about people for whom full shelves didn’t matter because they couldn’t have what was on those shelves anyway.  

We are being given a wonderful opportunity to practice empathy and kindness and compassion in these strange and tender days.  And even as we’re keeping our distance physically (Jim got out a tape measure the other day when I was talking with someone – 6 feet is further than I thought!), we have here the opportunity to come closer to God, to each other and to ourselves.  Opening our eyes to the many ways there are to connect, reaching out with phone calls, texts, facetime, emails, cards and prayers are all wonderful ways to get through this difficult time together.  

Sometime this week, somebody from St B is going to call you. They’ll ask how you are, ask how we can help you, ask you what you’d like to pray for and they’ll also ask if you have anything to offer.  What do you have to offer today?  A kind word?  A willingness to check in once a week with somebody?  Are you healthy and willing to pick up groceries or prescriptions for people who need to stay in?  Would you join the prayer circle at St B (email Drucy –  drucy15@msn.com ) and pray for those in need?  Can you bring food to Phil and Laurie’s (more info coming on that tomorrow) for Helpline House?  
As we settle more deeply into our own lives in our own homes, I pray that we will continue to expand our minds and hearts beyond our own little worlds.  It is Lent and this enforced quiet is a wonderful time to pray and to ask God to show each of us the ways we can be of use in the wider world, even from the quiet of our own homes.  

God bless you all, dear ones… I’ll “see” you on Sunday.  

Faithfully, Karen†