Dear Friends in Christ,
I’m writing to let you know about some significant changes to our worship and program schedule as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 virus. I appointed a task force of church leaders who met earlier this week and then again on Sunday to prayerfully consider the best course of action for St. John’s.
Our overriding concern is to provide compassion and care for our parishioners and our community. The changes listed below are being undertaken with the intent of ensuring St. John’s is not a place where the virus is able to spread to those who are most vulnerable to its effects.
- For the time being we will forego gathering for worship in our Sanctuary and will instead move immediately to an online environment. Beginning March 22, Sunday worship services will be online only. Our clergy will livestream a morning liturgy from Carter Chapel at 10:00 a.m. This will be available live on our website at saint-john.org/live and it will remain on that page as a recording afterward. We will also send a digital version of our Sunday bulletin so you can follow along.
- All group gatherings and meetings will be suspended. This includes special events such as “Way of the Cross” at Cascades Park and the upcoming blood drive. Some events farther out on the calendar are currently open for registration, such as our summer camps in June. Registration will remain open as we evaluate over time the status of those events.
- During this time, our physical campus will not be a place where parishioners will gather or visit. Instead we will make available opportunities for worship, education and formation, pastoral care, and fellowship via technology and media – more to come on this in the near future. Much of this new content will be interactive, and we encourage you to offer your own inspirations, prayers and intercessions.
- While access to our campus will be suspended, our staff will continue to work, as they have been as this crisis has unfolded. You can reach the office staff by phone or email. We thank you in advance for respecting our staff’s health and safety.
- Our clergy team wants you to know it is available to you for 1:1 pastoral care by phone, email or videoconference and, in extreme situations, in person. We will be constantly exploring new ways to love and serve and be with one another, especially those who suffer.
I understand that these changes are jarring, as is this entire situation. We know that many of you are not comfortable with online tools or perhaps do not utilize them at all. We will do everything possible to make this transition to online communication as simple as possible and will also provide by request weekly written updates for those who prefer to receive information in the mail.
Nothing will break our spiritual bonds of fellowship that unite us to one another as members of this community of faith. Perhaps this crisis will even provide us with a chance to find new ways of offering praise and thanks to God while also proclaiming the Gospel and serving the world in Jesus’ name.
The Rev. David C. Killeen, Rector