Dear friends,

I have some news today that will make you cry “Hallelujah,” even if it is the middle of Lent. Bishop Wright announced today that we can resume in-person worship in the church! Hallelujah!

After discussion with the vestry last night we decided that our first Sunday back in the nave will be Easter Sunday (April 4). Symbolically and theologically it seems right to finish Lent online, as we have been doing for the past year. 

This return to the church is not a full return to normal. There will be restrictions and Covid protocols set out by the diocese. I’ll give you more details later, but briefly we will have a cap on the number of people who can attend (we will figure that out this weekend and let you know), so you will have to make reservations. Masks and distancing are required. No choir or congregational singing. No passing of the peace. Communion will be bread only. But we will be worshipping together in the same space and that will be wonderful. I’ll have much more information in the coming weeks.

Importantly, we will also continue live-streaming the service, as we have done for the past year. If you’re still not ready to risk going out, or if we have reached our allowed capacity you can still participate online. 

Again, this is not a return to normal, but it is a big step in the right direction. As more people are vaccinated (please, please, please get yours if you’re eligible), and as numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths decline, the restrictions will ease up. But it’s important to remember that we are still in the midst of the pandemic. It’s not over. People are still getting sick and dying. We still need to be careful. But this news has given me an enormous boost in spirits. I hope it does you, too.

There are a few other bits of news. First, Holy Week is fast approaching, beginning with Palm Sunday on March 28. Our services will be online, which means there are parts of our traditions that we once again will not be able to do. That is especially true for Maundy Thursday (April 1), the service in which we remember the last night of Jesus’ life. He gave his friends one last command that night — to love one another. And he lived that out by washing their feet. Because of that foot washing is traditionally part of our service that evening, but that is not possible this year. 

So instead we are going to have a sock drive between now and Easter. For those who live on the streets decent socks are essential and too often hard to come by. We will deliver the socks we collect to Church of the Common Ground, which has a regular foot clinic to serve the homeless. Bring socks and leave them by the front door if no one is at church. It is an easy, but important way to to follow Jesus’ command to love our neighbors.

This announcement is from our Family Promise coordinators. The Family Promise Board is attempting to expand volunteer roles. Family Promise coordinators from each church have been asked to share this initiative with each congregation and invite parishioners to share their time and talents in new ways. St. Dunstan’s parishioners have consistently supported Family Promise during our quarterly host weeks and this role remains unchanged; however, if you are interested in volunteering in new ways please contact Family Promise coordinators Vivian Siggers or Mimi Gold. Here are some of the areas where skills are needed: Fundraising; Grant Writing; Marketing/Public Relations; Education/Program Design; Financial Management; Language; Planning; Personnel; Teaching/Tutoring; Health and Wellness; Computer/Technology; Research and Evaluation; Organization/Administration.

And finally, I remind you that at our service this Sunday we will remember by name our family and friends who have died of Covid-19. Please send me names by tomorrow so that they can be included in the bulletin.

See you tonight at 8 for Compline.

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