Several times this week I have found myself longing for comfort. There is just so much strife and struggle these days, we face so many challenges, and worst of all, the pandemic has taken away many of our most important comforts, like being with friends over a meal, going to a movie, or worshipping together in person at St. Dunstan’s Church on Sunday morning. So, this week, I want to tell you about all the things we are doing to take care of our church and to take care of one another.
Morning Prayer and Compline
We now offer Morning Prayer and Compline seven days a week at 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM respectively. This morning we read the service together, heard the readings, and then prayed together. We shared personal prayers of thanksgiving and intercession. Then we prayed for our church, our country, and our world in the beautiful, traditional collects (formal prayers) from our Book of Common Prayer. I encourage you to visit this service yourself. Morning Prayer is a half hour service and compline generally takes about 18 minutes. If you would like help joining our prayers, just drop me an email.
Protecting St. Dunstan’s from Theft and Vandalism
One of our challenges has been the theft and vandalism at our church. I don’t know if it is a comfort or not, but it is at least interesting that many churches are experiencing these problems. Our church structures stand out as targets for people’s frustration (and even for their anger with God) and they are more vulnerable now because they are standing empty because of the pandemic.
The vestry of St. Dunstan’s Church has voted to install a comprehensive security system that both allows access to the campus by all our members and renters and protects us from unwelcome intrusions. The cost of installing the system is being donated anonymously and the church will pay for ongoing monitoring. The system includes comprehensive coverage with video cameras, motion sensors, door sensors, and electronic door locks. Best of all, there are no intimidating keypads and codes to deal with. Your key fob and key will get you safely into the spaces you need and will control the security system at the same time.
Installing the New Organ
Next week a large truck arrives at St. Dunstan’s with all the parts of our new organ! Ortloff Organ Company has completed building the instrument in their workshop and packed it for shipping. A team of five organ experts will arrive on the same day as the truck to begin the two-week process of assembling the organ in our sanctuary.
Right about the time the last pipes are placed into the organ case and the first notes are sounding, another truck will arrive with 150 beautiful new chairs for our worship space. We’ll be busy because at the same time we are unloading and arranging all those chairs another truck will arrive with the beautiful cabinets for our new sacristy.
A Virtual Kick-off
By this time a month from now we will have completed all of these projects. We are working on several plans to show off our new worship space with pandemic safe events. We have several ideas for online offerings and we are also exploring some very limited in-person options, depending on circumstances of course.
Earlier this week, someone pointed out that all this work to improve and refurbish our campus would have been much harder to accomplish if the building were not closed by the pandemic. That is a thin comfort, but it is true. The pandemic is not a storm to be endured, or even a season, but more like an ice age. We have had to learn new ways to be together remotely and new ways to stay connected in fellowship and prayer. We have risen to the challenge and opportunity, and with God’s help, will continue to do so.
Let’s Worship Together Outside
Finally, the staff and clergy of St. Dunstan’s is putting together an outside worship service for September 13 th at 11:30. We are building the service around the feast day of St. Michael. We will offer our usual 8:00 and 10:00 AM services online and then there will be a service on the lawn next to the lower parking lot. You are invited to bring a lawn chair and set up; safely social distancing and wearing your masks. Park down below if you would have any trouble with the path, or park in the upper lot and walk down the path past the columbarium to get to the service. We will have music (no singing yet), readings, preaching and prayers. Stay tuned for more details.