A Change to Our Public Life
I write you, again, about the outbreak of the coronavirus in our country. While the number of positive tests in Ventura County is still fairly low, it is clear that we must take further steps to try to slow the spread of this disease. Our local school district has decided to close its school starting Monday, March 16th, and for us, this seems like crossing a threshold.
The Bishop's Committee, the Wardens, and I have spoken; we've consulted with the Bishop, and we think it is the safe thing to do to transition to online worship, and limit the meetings that happen on campus. Unfortunately, that means that we will not have public worship this Sunday (March 15th, the third Sunday in Lent); we'll have to reschedule the Music Guild Compline service scheduled for Sunday evening. We will instead offer Morning Prayer through Facebook Live for the next few Sundays, and re-evaluate at the beginning of April.
Our meetings will also have to take a break. Our server training, set for this Sunday March 15th, will need to be rescheduled. The Wednesday Bible Study, the Wednesday night Lent class, EfM, and so on; each individual group will talk about how they can stay connected as we go forward, but for at least the next three weeks, we need to press pause.
This does not mean our faith lives are ceasing, however. Maybe now more than ever, we need to remember that God's love casts out fear; staying connected to each other and to God is crucial in such a trying time, and will only help us. Keep up with your daily prayers, remembering all you're worried for; remember to give thanks, as well, for all that is good in your life. Jesus walked on this Earth to experience all of our pains as well as all of our joys, so know that God is walking with us, every step.
To keep our faith strong, we'll still offer Morning Prayer through Facebook Live each Sunday at 10 am. I will have clearer instructions next week, but for now know that you can go to our Facebook page (here) and it should be there. (We will also send out Morning Prayer booklets next week, as well.) You can also, if you like, join Bishop Taylor, who will be live-streaming Morning Prayer here on Sunday as well.
To keep our community strong, a group of volunteers and I will call through the directory each week. If you're not sure whether you're in our directory (or if your number has changed), just email me! I would ask that you take this task on yourselves, too: reach out to each other, so that social distancing doesn't become isolation, and so that our deeply loving relationships can feed us through these times of challenge. (You might even think of people you don't know very well, or people who are a little more at-risk, and call them!)
Finally, don't forget that there are people who are more at-risk and more needy than anyone in our parish community. If you're moved to help those with less, you can always reach out to Harbor House (at [email protected]
I pray for each of you, asking God to keep you safe in the midst of this all. Please join me in praying for our community - our church, our neighborhood, our country, and even our world - for those who are affected by this virus, those who treat them, and for all of us as we travel through these days. You can always call me, just to check in, at 510-459-6850. Don't hesitate to reach out; be safe, and be faithful.