Dear Friends –
I know that the growing Coronavirus pandemic has us all on edge. Clearly this is a time when we greatly need each other’s support. But we also know that limiting our contact with others, particularly if we are in one of the identified high-risk groups, is vital to keeping us all healthy and slowing the spread of the virus.
Therefore, following the advice of our bishop and health authorities, we are suspending all public worship services for the next two Sundays: March 15 and March 22, 2020. In addition to all activities at the church being suspended, St. Paul’s Children’s Center will be closed for the next two weeks, following the lead of the Berkshire Hills Regional School District.
In order that we might continue to pray together and support one another, we will have a virtual service of Morning Prayer this coming Sunday, March 15, with folks gathering online at 9:45, and a service beginning at 10:00 am. To do so, we will use the Zoom platform, a wonderful resource some of you may be familiar with. You will be able to join the service with two-way video via the computer or a hand-held smart device, or by any telephone. We are still working out the details and will send you information in another email tomorrow about how to connect.
Our Lenten series will continue on Thursdays at noon and 6:30 pm via the Zoom platform—an invitation to that virtual meeting will go out early next week. I am also planning to announce a couple of times next week when I will be “hanging out” on the Zoom platform for any that would like to come together to connect and pray.
In addition, I urge you to check in with other members of the congregation via telephone or email. Gretchen is working on an update to our contact list and we will send that out to you as soon as possible. If you have any particular needs right now, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org , or 413-298-7001. I or a fellow parishioner will respond to be sure you have what you need.
As always, our beautiful church will remain open at all times for prayer and meditation. As you pass through the center of Stockbridge, this might be a particular time to stop in and pray. We will leave some prayer resources on the back table for your use.
Finally, please know that all of you are in my prayers. I leave you with this wonderful prayer that cropped up in my Facebook feed yesterday. Please take a moment to pray it now, as we will also do on Sunday.
Prayer for a Pandemic
May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those that have no place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.