Dear St. Matthew’s Parishioners,
For the past week our clergy, staff and school have engaged in extensive conversations regarding how to strike a balance between the need for social distancing in the effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and our need for community. Our school has closed until at least March 25 and will go to home instruction. The church has decided to cancel all meetings and programs for the foreseeable future. This includes: the Fellowship Parent’s Group Family Potluck, the Parish and Day School Clean Up Day, both our Lenten programs, Coffee Hour, Children’s Chapel and Sunday School. Cooking with Grace has been postponed to a future date in the summer or fall and the Laundry Love ministry has been put on hold until further notice. The Thrift Shop will be open this Friday but will be closed Saturday and next week.
On Saturday, Fr. Jay will officiate at an afternoon funeral at St. Matthew’s. On Sunday, Fr. Jay, Chaplain Amber and Deacon Lauren will lead a single service scheduled for 9:30am in our sanctuary (I will be out of town). We are asking parishioners who are most vulnerable to infection from the coronavirus and all those who have any level of concern to stay home. We have made plans to record the service and will post it on the St. Matthew’s website afterwards. You will be able to find it at https://episcopalstmatthew.org/. Our Church doors will open by 8:30am on Sunday and not close until 11:30am for anyone who would like to use the sanctuary for individual prayer.
In the days ahead we will be working to develop a plan for worship that will conform withmedical and governmental best practices to avoid the spreading of the COVID-19 virus. We are considering a single outdoor service that would allow our gathering with appropriate social distance. Please check your email and the St Matthew’s Church website often for the most up-to-date meeting and alternate service information. Please continue to pray for our community, the nation, and the world during this time of anxiety and stress.
Finally, I close with the Lenten Blessing that I have used for the past few years. It comes from John O’Donohue’s book To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings: May all that is unforgiven in you be released. May your fears yield their deepest tranquilities. May all that is unlived in you blossom into a future graced with love.
Rector, The Episcopal Church of Saint Matthew