Dear Friends in Christ,
Our nation is in a scary moment. As the COVID-19 virus spreads, we are being asked-collectively and individually- to reconsider how we do everything, how we shop, work, socialize, and, of course, how we worship.
Our Senior Warden, Milissa, and I believe that the most important things we can do are:
Support one another now as the pandemic ramps up, and more critically if and when effects begin to be felt locally.
The is the most important thing we can do. If you haven’t instituted a Lenten practice of prayer, now might be a good time to consider it. We will be creating a check-in infrastructure - phone trees possibly - so each member is contacted by St. Francis Church on a regular basis- especially if we are all hunkering down. Isolation can be scary. If you have concerns about someone, call them! Or call me and I’ll call them. (207.412.8807) We will also work with the fledgling shopping group to do shopping for our most vulnerable members. As we are figuring out logistics, if you need items from the store/pharmacy, send me an email with what you need and I’ll take care of it (firstname.lastname@example.org).
2. Be a resource to the larger community.
The St Francis Outreach Committee met Thursday and will contact the school union to see how we can help. One idea is that we may be able to support families on free and reduced lunch if/when schools close. We will also contact the hospital or county public health officials and see if our space could be helpful to them in any way.
3. Do our part in slowing the spread of the virus (a canon at the diocese, who is also a family practice physician, recommended this article: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/coronavirus-cancel-everything/607675/ )
We are not canceling public worship, but I suspect this might change soon. In the meantime, we have already enacted the following changes
at the direction of the Diocese:
- No wine will be given at Eucharist
- No physical contact at the Peace
- No passing of the offering plate from hand to hand.
The newest directives from The Diocese of Maine include:
- No Coffee Hour
- Only critical meetings are to take place in person, and then only in groups under 15.
- No nursing home/hospital visits.
If you are in a high risk group, I strongly discourage you from attending services (this includes people over 60 and anyone with an underlying health condition).
We will continue to record our services and those will be available on St. Francis’ website. Also, we will be live streaming services on Sunday through the Facebook Live function on Facebook. If it would be best for you to not be in a group, go to the St. Francis Facebook page at 10:00 on Sunday and pray with us.
Our role in this crisis is to be the Commonwealth of God on the Blue Hill Peninsula right now. I am preaching on fear and faith this coming Sunday. This is what churches are really good at: assuaging fear and increasing faith. I am just getting to know you all, but the most important thing I am discerning about St. Francis is that it is a loving, caring community.
Within the walls on Hinkley Ridge, throughout the peninsula and beyond, the people of St. Francis are a vital resource to the well-being of many. Not only will the developing crisis not change that ministry, it will increase its importance. Herein lays our challenge: we are going to have to be flexible and creative regarding how we gather and act as a community.
If you have any needs or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at 207.412.8807 or email@example.com.
May God Bless You and Keep You,