Dear Ones of St. Columba's,
Things are moving rapidly, and your leadership at St. Columba's has decided to join many other worshiping communities in canceling services and gatherings for at least the next two weeks. I anticipate our bishop will mandate this as soon as later today, and so we are in planning mode to make the shift to worship livestreams, and using as many virtual and remote options as we need to stay connected. Here is what you need to know right now:
All planned meetings and gatherings at St. C's or sponsored by St. C's are canceled or on hold. This includes small groups, adult formation classes, Episcopal 101, Lenten Community Groups, and children's formation activities. We are asking everyone to stay home as much as you can, and find other ways to connect with each other. We will help with this!
We will livestream worship at 10am this Sunday on our Facebook Page. Bulletins for this Sunday will be made available online and via email by Saturday. Please, either alone or with your families at home gather to join us. I will preside, and we will have a skeleton crew of low-risk folks facilitating worship in our sanctuary for you to join remotely. This will be a Eucharist, with music, sermon, readings - all of the hallmarks you are used to. Watch alone or as a family - plan to comment and interact as well!
Weekday Morning Prayer will continue online. James Wyatt will continue to lead Morning Prayer each weekday morning on Facebook Live.
Here is the link to our public facebook page. You do not need to have a facebook account to view our videos or our livestreams.
Buddy Groups are being formed now. You will get information on your Buddy group no later than Sunday. We do not expect Buddy groups to meet in person, but to check in via phone, Skype, Marco-Polo, Zoom, text or some other method daily during this crisis. We will put together resources to assist those who are unfamiliar with these technologies and have folks available to help! Here is a link to yesterday's letter announcing the groups.
St. Columba's ministries to the vulnerable continue. We are still giving out emergency food on Wednesdays and Fridays. If you are younger than 60 and find yourself available to help with this ministry let us know by filling out this form. We will continue to host our homeless shelter at minimum through the end of the month and will keep you informed if/as needs there arise. We are not restricting participation in this ministry at this time, but please use caution and let James know if you would like to suspend your participation.
Your staff and clergy are still working. Meghan and I will turn our efforts toward curating online worship, and connecting with captains, buddy groups, and individuals as we care for each other during this time. We may still be in the office, and there may be times when we are working from home. Martin will be working on music that works for online worship experiences. Elaine will be recording videos and compiling resources for parents and families to use for faith formation at home. Becca will continue to make sure bills get paid and our administration runs as smoothly as possible. We are, even now, considering how we can use some virtual formats for things like Episcopal 101, Confirmation Classes and other important forms of connection and formation. Stay tuned for more on this as we put it together.
If you are able, consider online giving options. Many in our community are already experiencing negative financial impacts from this crisis. If you are able to continue your giving, you can mail your pledge, or give online. Click here to make an onetime pledge or gift to the St. C's general operating fund. Click here to give to the Vicar's Discretionary Fund, which will be focused on financial support for St. C's households whose livelihood is threatened by these shutdowns for the near future.
When in doubt - reach out. It is okay to be worried, scared, anxious or angry during this time. Your church is here for you. Reach out to me, Meghan, your buddy group as soon as they are assigned. You aren't alone.
Here is my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is Meghan's email: email@example.com
More soon - let's keep taking care of each other.
with care, hope, and faith,