Dear People of Saints James and Andrew,
This Lent, we find ourselves fasting from many things. Foremost in our lives, is our communal fast from being physically together as the body of Christ. It is painful to be physically apart, and yet, we will continue to be the Church virtually for as long as it takes. We would like to provide you with several updates related to necessary modifications due to COVID-19.
All of these decisions are made with the guidance of Bishop Fisher, Governor Baker, CDC, and WHO, along with the full support of our Vestry, the governing board of our church. Governor Baker announced that gatherings of 25 or more must be suspended through April 6. As Presiding Bishop Michael Curry wrote in a letter to the Episcopal Church, “On March 15th the Centers for Disease Control recommended the suspension of public gatherings in the U.S. of more than 50 people for the next 8 weeks. On March 16th officials of the federal government asked persons in the U.S. to “avoid gatherings of more than 10 people” for the next 15 days. It is reasonable to assume that some form of recommendations restricting public gatherings will continue for some time.”
At this point in time our in-person worship is suspended through April 6. We know that when we are allowed to resume in-person worship, it will not go immediately back to normal. Leaders will ease precautions slowly. This means our staff has been preparing for the possibility that our Holy Week & Easter worship will need to remain online. We would like each of you to prepare for that possibility as well. Should this be the case, rest assured, the moment we are allowed to be together again in person as a large group we will have our own resurrection Sunday where we will bring all our joy, all our pain, all our love and hope together as the body of Christ.
Online Streamed Worship at 10 a.m. thru April 5
Join us for worship each Sunday on Facebook Live. (You do not need to have a Facebook account to view this public live stream). We will start the live feed by 9:45 a.m. Our priests will lead the worship in person, along with a musician and our tech assistant. We ask all others to stay at home and watch from home. During the communion liturgy we invite you to have a small piece of bread and/or wine. If we are worshiping together, even as our bodies are apart, God will still become really and truly present in the bread and wine we set apart in our own homes to consume during communion.
Online worship leaflets will be posted on the website by Thursday of each week. View or download the leaflet: https://www.saintsjamesandandrew.org/worship-leaflets.html About 15 copies will be placed in the Narthex (church entry) for those that would like to come by and pick up a hard copy during the week.
Virtual Coffee Hour at 10:45 a.m.
Following Facebook Live Worship, we will gather on Zoom for a virtual coffee hour. If you have never used Zoom before, please watch this video showing how to use it: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193-Joining-a-Meeting
Join our virtual coffee hour by https://zoom.us/j/592077112
Meeting ID: 592 077 112
Dial in by Phone: +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
Virtual Grow in Faith on April 5 at 11:30 a.m.
Join us on April 5, as we are entering Holy Week, to look at and discuss the ways artists have depicted the crucifixion from 13th century frescos to politically-oriented contemporary depictions of the crucifixion.
Join our virtual Grow in Faith gathering by: https://zoom.us/j/590804470
Meeting ID: 590 804 470
Dial in by Phone: +16465588656, 590804470# US (New York)
Pledging During COVID-19
We are thankful to be in sound financial health. However, the weekly collection, along with fundraising efforts, and property use income, are what make up the majority of our income. We realize household finances are shifting due to COVID-19. For those who are able, please consider mailing in the check you would ordinarily put in the offering plate. A Counter is coming in each week to deposit our checks. For those interested in giving electronically, please consider donating on our website through Tithe.ly. (If at all possible, it helps if you can cover the processing fee). Your ongoing pledge will allow us to continue our outreach and mission, paying our staff, and caring for our campus. Thank you in advance.
Please note, effective immediately the office hours have changed. We will hold in person office hours on Monday from 9-12. Tuesday-Friday our Parish Administrator will hold Virtual Office Hours from 9-12, with the church's phone being forwarded to our Parish Administrator's home. As usual, during non-business hours our calls are forwarded to Edwards Answering Service. Clergy and Staff are checking messages regularly.
Church and Labyrinth
Please note the church is open daily for folks to stop by and pray, rest, and be. The community labyrinth is also open for your use. Our gardeners are starting to tend to our grounds. If you would like to rake or weed an area as a way to get out of the house for some fresh air, know you are invited to do so. Questions? Contact Jason Blais at email@example.com
Increased Need for Free Meals and Food
There is an increased need for access to free meals as the financial picture shifts for many households. Here is a link to all the free meals in Franklin County. Many of you routinely pick up food for the Survival Center and bring it to church for the offertory. During this time, we invite those comfortable doing so to continue making donations of food directly to the Survival Center, located at 96 4th St, Turners Falls, MA.
The clergy, pastoral care team, and vestry members are calling and checking-in with folks who may have limited support or family in the area, as well as our regular list of folks the pastoral care team looks after. We encourage everyone in the parish to call on another and ensure we do not grow too lonesome during this time of social isolation.
Rev. Heather and Rev. Molly