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Pastoral Letter, 3.27.2020

Dear Beloved Friends,

I hope you have been well, despite knowing that social distancing has caused more than a small disruption to our lives. I wish to convey my thanks to you, some information and a word of reassurance.

First, thank you for your patience and perseverance with not having in-person gatherings at Saint David’s during this season of Covid-19. I have a brother who is an ER doctor and a sister who is a pharmaceutical researcher. One wears a HAZMAT suit to work–and races himself to see how must faster he can get out of a contaminated suit and into a new one–and the other’s work has turned to Covid-19 remedy research. If I didn’t believe the urgent words of Dr. Anthony Fauci or Dr. Jerome Adams, Surgeon General, I believe my siblings’ first hand accounts of what this virus can do to a human. In short, I have no doubt whatsoever that our efforts to distance ourselves is in our best interest for both the long and short term.

While our economy slows to a perilous pace and there are persons even within our congregation and surrounding community that presently suffer because of it, social distancing presents us with opportunities to organize and engage one another creatively and differently. Indeed, learning can be uncomfortable. Yet it is through learning that we grow inwardly and as a society. I am neither an economist nor a sociologist. History tells me, however, that crisis is the mother of new and re-visions. Despite the slowdown and the losses to our retirement funds and stock portfolios, I remain hopeful.

Second, I convey to you that our Bishop has extended the suspension of in-person gatherings in the Diocese of Tennessee through April 12. Yes, this means that we will celebrate Holy Week and Easter through alternative means and our usual means of live streaming and Zoom. (Am I actually saying that live streaming is now usual?)

Additionally, be watching for a few YouTube videos on “Home Church” or home worship. Thanks to Stephanie Budwey, I am now supplied with a wealth of resources from the Lifelong Learning Center at Virginia Theological Seminary. With her help, Saint David’s will be providing you with some choices for the observance of Holy Week and Easter.

I want to add here that while our Bishop has decided to make formal decisions about suspending in-person gatherings incrementally, such as every two weeks, I believe we need to consider a longer term of suspension. I think we would do well to prepare ourselves for services to return to being in-person closer to early June. That being said, we also need to prepare ourselves for observing some kind of social distancing for these services. I say this not to scare anyone, just to get us accustomed to a long term mindset.

Below are links to resources within and outside the Saint David’s community:

Liturgy

Formation

  • Children: Godly Play Parents will receive a weekly email containing the lesson. Be creative with dolls, toys at home and materials from outside.
  • EYC will meet weekly via Discord beginning Sunday, March 29 at 4pm
  • Sermons in the Round will meet via Zoom.

Keeping in Touch

  • Check-ins: The Vestry and Men’s Group will be calling everyone in the parish from time to time to check in.
  • Saint David’s Directory: You are invited to call, text, email and send letters through the mail to any and all, using the updated Saint David’s directory. If you need an updated directory, please email the Parish Office.

Resources from the Diocese and The Episcopal Church

So while we may not be gathering, The Body of Christ at Saint David’s is alive and very well, doing those things that love and serve the world. I know that we may have a focus inward at the moment as we work to get everyone hooked up to online resources and tools and to make sure people have the assistance they need. However, I see this focus easily turning outward again toward West Nashville and the variety of needs there. Be creative and unafraid to try new things. Be intentional with your time and care, honoring others as you would yourself. Pray. Sing songs of gratitude. Be as wise as you are alive. Through this challenge we may well find our flourishing place.

In peace and with great love,Carolyn+

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