UPDATE: Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Patrick, Bishop and Missionary of Ireland,“….do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand….For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Do not fear, I will help you.” Isaiah 41: 10, 13
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ gathered at St. Matthew’s and Trinity Episcopal Churches,
Public Health officials are now clear that the wisest path forward is limiting contact and cancelling gatherings. Bishop Bascom has firmly requested that all worship services and gatherings in church across the dioceses be cancelled until Friday, April 3rd. This includes all parish related meetings as well as outside groups scheduled to meet in our churches.
Sunday morning, I will lead us in Morning Prayer and proclaiming the Good News via Facebook Live at 10:15 AM from the Nave of St. Matthew’s. Invite you to join me for this first time ever Face Book Live adventure. You can find us at https://www.facebook.com/stmattsnewton.
Our circumstances provide us an opportunity to approach differently how we follow Jesus’ “Way of Love” as a committed faith community seeking to turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go, and rest in this usual and challenging time.
Please know that if you need anything you may contact me 432-230-9180 or by Email email@example.com
Blessings! Fr. Les+
Posted March 14, 2020
We know that God is with us in all of our challenges. When one follows the lesser saints of Lesser Feasts and Fasts, we often see people of God who act with both courage and wisdom in times of pandemic. The relationship with God we have in Christ anchors us amid waves of fear. We know that the Risen One is with us in all things.
From its conception Christianity has had community at its core; it has had communal worship at its core. We do not want to cease being a worshipping, faith community in the face of Covid-19 or other diseases or disasters. At the same time, we honor that each of us is holy, made in the image of God, and we need to be safe.
• Any who are sick or immune compromised, please rest, stay at home and seek medical care and adhere to the advice of your physician. Pastoral visits will continue to those who are fragile, as they desire.
• Those who have done a lot of recent travel need to be discerning and consider whether self-quarantine is warranted.
• The Peace – Please avoid physical contact during the passing of the peace i.e. no handshaking or hugging. Consider waving from where you’re seated. Limiting physical contact is a deterrent to spreading of infectious disease.
• The Offertory – Offering plates will not be passed. An offering plate will be placed at the back of the nave where worshippers can place their offering.
• The Eucharist:
a. Communion will be given only with bread (waver) – with a reminder that receiving communion in one kind only is a full communion. Intinction is discourage all together for now.
b. Priests will consecrate a small amount of wine in a chalice during the service, which afterward will be reverently returned to the earth either directly or through a piscina in the sacristy.
c. Clergy, Eucharistic ministers, acolytes, anyone handling communion elements should use hand sanitizer immediately before distributing communion and again afterward.
d. Please make sure to use antiseptic solutions or wipes to cleanse the altar rail after every service.
• It’s strongly suggested that food service of any kind be suspended through Lent. This includes refreshments at coffee hour, potlucks, etc. Coffee and water will be available. It’s been suggested that you bring your own cup as opposed to sharing the cups that are already here. Consider this a Lenten fast for the sake of others.