I have a request to make. I saw a photo on Facebook last night that took my breath away. A Catholic priest whose church has moved to online worship asked his parishioners to email him pictures of themselves. He then printed them out and taped them on the pews. So when he goes into church he sees the faces of his congregation. I would love to do the same thing. When we move to online worship you will get to see me (for better or worse), but I don’t get to see you. This way I will. And I will send you pictures of yourselves taped to the pews.
I have been working this week setting up pastoral care and worship in this new world. For pastoral care, of course I will be staying in touch, calling and emailing, But I have also recruited 12 (what a nice Biblical number) volunteers who have agreed to be “shepherds.” What that means is that we have divided our directory into 12 parts, and assigned someone to “shepherd” each group. They will be in touch with those in their group periodically — mostly through phone calls or emails. Basically they will be touching base, checking in to see how things are going, and keeping everyone connected with someone else from the church.
I’ve also attached an updated directory to this email. I invite you to be in touch with your fellow parishioners. Call someone you know and check in on them. Call someone you don’t know and ask how they’re doing, how they came to be a part of St. Dunstan’s. Let’s use this time as the “scattered church” to strengthen our connections with one another.
I’ve had several people let me know they are available to run errands, or pick up groceries for those who do not want to leave their home. If you’re willing to do that let me know. Or if you have a need for someone to run an errand for you let me know and I’ll try to match you up. I know many grocery stores and pharmacies are offering deliveries, but if that doesn’t work for you we may have someone who can help.
Along those lines, Suzanne Sullivan let me know that she has just made extras of her favorite chicken dish and would love to share with someone who might need or appreciate a meal in the next day or so. She can deliver. She lives fairly close to the church in the 30342 zip code.
Now switching gears to worship. Our online worship schedule will be the Holy Eucharist on Sundays at 10 a.m. and Compline at 8 p.m. Monday — Friday. Compline is a simple service of evening prayer, taking five to 10 minutes. We’re going to do a trial run tonight. I’ve attached a service sheet, or you can follow along in your prayer book. Compline begins on page 127.
Here’s how to participate online. If you belong to Facebook go to St. Dunstan’s Facebook page, where you should be able to see the Livestream. Or like and follow the St. Dunstan’s page and it will show up in your newsfeed.
If you don’t belong to Facebook you can still participate. Go to our website, www.stdunstan.net. There is a link to live worship on the banner at the top of the page and underneath the Online Worship Schedule at the bottom of the page. Just click it and you will be at our Facebook page, where you can watch the live stream.
If you are a member of Facebook you can leave comments as you watch. That’s a good way to add prayers for people, your concerns or whatever. If you go from the website you will not be able to do that, but you will be able to watch the entire service.
Please understand that this is all new territory for us (me!). This will be a work in progress and it will likely take a few efforts before we hit our stride. Be patient and let me know how it works for you.
Finally, I understand that several people have talked to our senior warden over concerns about their elderly (according to the CDC) priest taking care of herself through all of this. I appreciate the concern. And I assure you I am also following all the precautions the CDC has laid out. As much as it pains me, I will not be doing home visits, taking communion to people, or visiting hospitals during this time. I would hate to bring anything to you, or to take anything back to my family. And hospitals and assisted living facilities are severely limiting visitors, if not banning them altogether. So for now it’s emails and phone calls.
Stay safe. Tune in. And send me a photo.