Your wardens and Fr. Bill had a conversation about how we at St. Jude’s might respond to this time of social isolation in an effort to flatten the curve of infection from the COVID-19 virus. Not being able to gather together for public worship and to spend time together in community seems to run counter to who we are called to be as Christians. I am sure we are all missing being together. These decisions have not been made out of fear but rather in an effort to care for the most vulnerable and to lesson the burden that is being placed on our health care system. Our prayers are with all health care workers and we give thanks for the important and life-giving work that you are doing. We may not be able to gather for public worship or ministry programs for the next several weeks but this does not mean that we can not be the Church during these uncertain times. It simply requires that we be open to doing things in new ways. We can still pray, worship, care for, and share the love of God with others but will need to do it differently. The following information is being shared in an effort to keep you informed and to invite you to participate in being Church in a new way.
While we might not be able to gather together in person for Sunday worship this does not mean that each one of us cannot pray and worship in our own homes. We might not gather together in body but we can worship together in spirit. Starting this Sunday a video service of morning prayer including music, readings and a sermon will be posted to the St. Jude’s website under worship. Each member of our church family is encouraged to participate in this online worship opportunity each week. The good news is you can sleep in and still make it to Church. The hope is that in addition to the video resource there will also be printed material posted under worship to facilitate participation.
The Bishop of Huron has shared with the wardens that licensed clergy are expected to continue working throughout this time. This will of course be done in a different way than they would regularly provide worship, faith formation and pastoral care but it is no less important or needed.
Our hope is that we will continue to pay all of our lay employees as well during this time as a loss of income would have difficult repercussions for them. During this time work will be done in different ways and special projects will be focussed on to strengthen us for ministry when we do return to our regular patterns.
We would also like to welcome Sandi Csik to the St. Jude’s leadership team. Sandi has accepted the position of Office Administrator and will begin her training on Monday, March 23.
It is important that we find ways to stay connected to each other and to care for each other during the time we are unable to physically meet together. We would encourage all members of our Church family to take time to check in with one another and to pray for one another during this time.
The prayer and pastoral care team has been asked to be intentional about this ministry of checking in and so please do not be surprised if you receive a phone call from a member of this group checking in to see how you are doing and assuring you of our prayers for you.
We would also like to extend the invitation to all members of our church family that if you need assistance with getting groceries or prescriptions during this time to please contact Fr. Bill at 519-550-7708 so that arrangements can be made. If you would like to volunteer to pick up groceries or prescriptions you are asked to email Fr. Bill at [email protected].
There is no denying that the cancellation of public worship and the closing of our church buildings to rentals for several weeks is going to cause a serious financial strain on our ability to fund the ongoing ministry of the Church. Those who are on pre-authorized giving will certainly help to minimize this financial strain and we give thanks for your ongoing support. We would like to ask those who are not currently on pre-authorized giving to consider signing up for this as a way of supporting St. Jude’s throughout this challenging time. You simply need to contact the Church office and arrangements can be made to sign you up. If you do not wish to go on pre-authorized giving we would encourage you to mail or drop off your financial support in the mailbox at the Church.
There is so much excitement and hopefulness about the ministry happening at St. Jude’s that we would hate for these circumstances to dampen all of the enthusiasm for ministry.
COMMUNITY BREAKFAST PROGRAM
The community breakfast program held on the third Saturday of the month will continue in a new way throughout the duration of the call for social isolation. The meal which is usually a sit down will now be take out only. The reason this is not being cancelled is because of how important it is for us to continue to care for the poor and vulnerable during this challenging time.
Please pray for one another as we are praying for each of you. Please pray for health care workers and those who become sick from this virus. Please pray for those who are scared and alone. May we all be filled with the Peace of God which passes all understanding.
Yours in Christ,
The Wardens and Fr. Bill