March 26, 2020
Dear People of God at St. Mark's,
As we settle into this strange, but TEMPORARY, "new normal", I want to remind you that St. Mark's is still here, all of us are still here for each other, and most importantly of all, God is still here.
Last week I said that it seemed things were changing almost hourly. That crazy pace has not subsided! We made one decision about how to worship together this weekend, then decided it wasn't fair to ask anyone to come into the church to video directly from there. "Really, we should all be staying at home." Now the "Stay at Home" advice is no longer just advice! We decided we'd go "live" with church at 10 a.m., then yesterday were warned that internet would probably not work well with so many churches on all at the same time! A search showed that 10 a.m. was, indeed, the most popular hour! Should we change the time? Find another way? So today, we created yet another plan and tried to learn enough about new technology to be certain that what we had in mind was feasible.
Those experiences of "Oops! Make a plan, but be flexible!" are of course being multiplied in each of your own lives. I have a hunch that God is reminding us that our plans should always be held lightly, that every moment is a gift to be savored, and that our relationships truly are the most important thing. As we continue to move forward, I trust that we will learn powerful lessons about resiliency, and profound new lessons about the many gifts of God that we have too often taken for granted.
We've done several things this week to strengthen our ability to stay in touch with each other and with the wider community.
• Our Outreach Team has spoken with each of our partners. Please see Paul Duggan's message, on our Giving page, with what he learned and how you can help HERE
• We've planned worship for us to share with each other in a video that will be available beginning at 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning. See the link on our "How to Stay Connected" info in our newsletter or click HERE
• The updated St. Mark's "Cycle of Prayer" - a daily guide for keeping all of us in each others prayers - is now available for you to download HERE.
• Families of Sunday school aged children will be receiving materials they can use for family conversation and activity in the coming week - and we will be adding new resources on our website on a regular basis as we find or create them.
• Our Teen Confirmation Class will meet via Zoom at 9:15 on Sunday.
• Our "Keep in Touch Buddies" plan is ready to assign to willing parishioners who are available to keep in contact with one or two other parishioners, especially those who don't have nearby family or who aren't as comfortable with technology (or don't have access to it). If you are willing to be part of that effort, click HERE.
• The Vestry has set up a regular, weekly meeting in order to stay abreast of all that's happening, needs or concerns that are arising and so on. Vestry members will be staying in touch with the ministries for which they are liaisons and asking those leaders to touch base weekly with those in their ministry groups.
• Beginning Sunday, March 29th, every night at 8:00 pm, we'll hold a Compline service via Zoom. These are the "bedtime prayers" of the Church, and a lovely, peaceful way to close out the day. To join in, see the link in our "How to Stay Connected" info, below. (Thanks to all who helped with a "test run" last night! Please be assured we have found the "mute all" button!) No Prayer Book at home? No worries. Click HERE to find Compline online. If you'd be willing to lead Compline, please let me know HERE.
We are growing quickly in our capacity with all these new options and promise to keep learning and sharing with all of you as quickly as we can! If you have ideas or feedback, please let us know. We're all in this learning curve together, on oh, so many levels! I am glad to be doing that learning with each of you who are part of this particular corner of the household of God.
Please know my prayers remain with each of you.
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Debbie Shew+