March 25, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of St. Mark’s,
It has been a week since my first letter to you during this unsettling time. I pray that you are doing well, staying at home, washing your hands and just being as careful as possible. During a zoom meeting with the bishop and the other clergy of the diocese this morning, it was mentioned that so far, Pennsylvania has been “flattening the curve”. Let us do all we can to make that continue so that our medical facilities are not overwhelmed, and fewer people get sick.
I received a call from Bill Horner today which certainly brightened my day. He and Doris are on their way home from Florida. So far, they have made it to S. Carolina and expect to be in Johnstown by Saturday afternoon. Doris is doing much better although she will continue to need assistance walking until she gets stronger. She is moving everything and talking. Bill and Doris are both very appreciative of all the prayers and good wishes that have been sent their way.
I will be sending out the Morning Prayer booklet for this Sunday. Some of you will receive it by snail mail and some by email. Along with it, I am sending out the Great Litany which we usually do during Lent but hadn’t done yet. If you want to use your BCP, it is on p. 148. At the end of the Great Litany is a section called The Supplication. I had forgotten about it until today. It is suggested that it be used during a time of great national anxiety. I think now is one of those times.
I continue to pray for each and every one of you. Put your faith in Christ and stay strong.
Love, In Christ,
March 19, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of St. Mark’s,
What a crazy Lent this has turned out to be! Bishop Curry and Bishop McConnell have asked all Episcopalians around the country, including the Diocese of Pittsburgh, to cancel church services through Easter (April 12th) and, possibly, beyond. This is in response to the risks presented by Covid-19 world- wide. This whole situation is mind boggling. When I talked about fasting on Ash Wednesday, I never imagined fasting from church, much less fasting from community altogether. But that is what we must do to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe.
All church activities are hereby cancelled. The rest of the Lenten Lunches have been postponed. Bible Study and Book Study are also postponed until the risk of Covid-19 has abated.
The church office will be open Tuesday through Friday 10am – 2pm. Joanne and I will be taking turns being here in order to limit our exposure. (We will also be caring for Mark and Maggie.) The Pet Food pantry is not scheduled until April 14-16. We will evaluate how we will handle that when we get closer to that time. Unfortunately, it will be needed then more than ever.
I urge all of you to wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, stay away from crowds, stay 6 feet from other people and limit your excursions from home.
Please contact me at any time for prayer and/or assistance either here at the church, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) , or by cell phone (251-422-2689). I will be praying for each and every one of you every day as I usually do.)
I will be preparing a booklet each week to send to those who do not have access to computers to assist them in worshipping at home. It will also be sent out by email. To those on our email list or those with access to the internet there will be information on our web page and on Facebook page on where to find church services from the diocese and from the National Cathedral so that you may worship digitally at home.
During this stressful time, please look after your neighbors, family and friends who are living alone. Check in on them frequently and help them if they need assistance. Also, please continue to support the church as you are able.
You may be asking: “Where is God in all of this?” My answer is: “Right here, right now, every second of the day and night.” The scientist in me believes that God is working things out at the cellular level; always under our radar. The priest in me believes that God is assisting all of us to cope, giving us wisdom and faith to see us through the complicated days ahead. The Christian that I am believes that Christ gave us eternal life when he was resurrected after that awful Good Friday. That is the Easter promise that we will celebrate with great joy and thanksgiving our first Sunday back together.
Yours, In Christ,