Dear friends,

In our ever-changing world I hope everyone has gotten the latest news that our governor has finally issued a statewide stay-at-home order. In accordance with that order, Bishop Wright has directed all clergy that the church buildings are now to be closed for all purposes. That includes live-streaming worship from the nave. 

I have told Cameron and Claudia to only do work that can be done from home. And I have told others who use our building, Mary and Martha’s Place, and John Gimson, that they, too, need to work from home. Our sexton, Jesse Gray (who this week did a fantastic job cleaning the carpet) will also have this time off. We will still pay him and our Sunday nursery workers.

Many people in the congregation have keys to the church. Even though you can get in, I ask you not to until we are back to whatever passes for normal after this pandemic is over.

I admit that the order not to stream worship from the nave is disappointing. Cameron and I had already spent a lot of time planning special Holy Week services, and then planning them again when we realized we would not be having “in person” worship. Claudia has also spent time working on bulletins, that must be revised again. Now we’re looking at a third round of planning. What I can tell you right now is this: We will have every service during Holy Week that we have when things are “normal.” You will be seeing a lot of our dining room, from which we will be streaming all  services. I am grateful to Joe and Joseph Henry for being good sports about pitching in to make all of this happen, and for being the in-person congregation.

Our Holy Week services will look a little different from what we are accustomed to. They will be stripped down to the basics. But maybe that is what is called for in this time of crisis in our community, our nation, and our world. Lavish, well-executed liturgies, as much as I love them, are not what we need right now. We need to be reminded of the basics, of what this week is truly about — Christ’s journey through betrayal, fear, and death. We may hear these stories in a different way this year. And I hope we will all rejoice together when we finally arrive at Easter.

I’ll have more details about next week later. For now, I’ll “see” you this evening at 8 for Night Prayers from the New Zealand prayer book.

And for those who wonder — one of the exceptions to the stay-at-home order is to care for pets. So I will be coming to feed Dunstan every day, and to get the mail and make sure all is well here.

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