Dear friends in Christ,
We are living in strange—which is not to say, “interesting”—times. The Covid-19 pandemic has continued to force us into unprecedented ways of living, into finding new and different ways to be and do Church. One of our biggest challenges has been how to stay connected as a church family despite and through our need to remain physically separated from each other in order to slow the spread of the deadly disease. No one alive today remembers the last global pandemic that struck (back in 1918), and so we’ve largely been “on our own,” so to speak, trying to navigate this new, socially-distanced way of living.
Now, in a weird quirk of our modern culture, we are in some ways perhaps better—or at least more frequently—connected with each other than we were before the pandemic. Communications technologies not available in previous times have offered us the ability to connect with each other “virtually,” if not physically. While social media, video-conferencing, and other platforms bring their own sets of problems and challenges to the table, we should at least be grateful that we’ve been able to maintain some semblance of corporate worship and study and fellowship during this time.
Even so, it’s been hard. And much of what we as a church have done so far has been to react, as best we could, to circumstances that were suddenly and drastically very different from anything that any of us were familiar with. (I have joked several times that neither I nor any of my classmates in seminary thought for an instant we might be training to become televangelists, but here we all are. :-) ) But now, it’s becoming clear that it won’t be possible (meaning, it won’t be safe) to return to “normal” anytime soon. So at my request, we have formed a Digital/Online Ministry Team to oversee and hopefully expand what All Saints is able to offer by way of virtual, live-streamed, online worship, prayer, formation, and fellowship. Look to hear from this new ministry team over the summer as we prepare for the fall program year.
In the meantime, one of the first new ministries we put in place in response to the pandemic was a phone-calling ministry: members of the Vestry and other parishioners volunteered to make regular phone calls to everyone in our parish directory, as a way of helping us all to stay connected … and to make sure we’d stay in touch with our parishioners who don’t have or are not interested in computers, the internet, social media, etc. This ministry has by all accounts been a great success and will continue as we go forward.
And now that it’s clear the pandemic will not be subsiding for the foreseeable future, I’d like you all to know that I as rector have now begun the process of reaching out personally to everyone in our parish directory, as well. I am working through the list fairly randomly, so if you’re like me and your last name begins with “W,” don’t worry—that doesn’t mean you’ll be the last to get a call! I am very much looking forward to talking with you all and getting to hear your stories, as I mentioned when I first arrived. I had hoped to do so face to face, but as it won’t be safe to do it that way for a while yet, perhaps a phone call will be the next best thing, for now.
In the meantime, if you need (or would simply like) to talk to me sooner rather than later, please, please give me a call at 920.266.9262. I would love to hear from you!
That goes for any pastoral care needs you or your family might have, of course. But even if you just want to introduce yourself (if we haven’t had a chance to meet in person yet) and/or just chat a bit, you have a standing invitation—please give me a call.
Otherwise, look to hear from me over the course of the summer, as I work my way through our directory. This pandemic may have altered some of our plans and priorities, forced us to shift how we handle things, and put a real strain on our bodies and souls, but it has not undone us or undone God’s one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. It cannot do that. We are still here. More importantly, God is still here, with us. We are still Christ’s Body in this place. It’s a hard time in the life of the Church, but hard times are nothing new for the followers of Jesus. Please know that you are all in my prayers.
Talk to you soon!
Peace & blessings,
Parish Office Hours (during covid-19)
CONTACT THE PARISH OFFICE
Phone (920) 734-3656 or (920) 249-4147