My dear friends,
What interesting times we are experiencing. I am writing this from my desk at home rather than my office at the church. This is just one of the many changes we have made to maintain social distancing in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Every one of us has been touched by this situation, and as a church, we are going to “stay connected, stay church, and take care of each other.” Those were the words of the Rev. Canon Alissa Newton, head of the College for Congregational Development and rector of St. Columba’s Church in Kent. They express perfectly the opportunity we have at this time. Here is how we are doing that at St. Dunstan’s Church.
Last week we “activated” our Care Teams to check on every single member of our congregation. Volunteers, coordinated by Karen Tynes, called every single person or household in our parish directory. Each person I have heard from who made these calls reported that the people they spoke with were grateful for the call and the connection. Our intention was to let people know they were not alone, to see how they were doing, and to extend our care as a community.This week we are implementing a new program called Care Groups. You can read all about these groups in the article above. Mary O. Pacher is leading this effort and you will be hearing from her in the next day or so. As soon as we roll this out, I would like to extend an invitation to include friends and neighbors that are not members of St. Dunstan’s Church who might want to feel connected during this time of social isolation.
Our mission statement begins, “Inspired by our worship together…” We are defined by our worship, inspired by our worship, sent by our worship into the world and into our lives.
On Sunday we offered worship online using a Facebook live post. This worked surprisingly well, thought it did have issues. We are working on the technical issues and our staff is working on how best to offer worship online.
On Tuesday we fed the hungry again. We are The Church that Feeds People. That flows from our faith and our worship together. As you saw in the Highlights last week, we had to implement dramatic changes to our feeding program. We managed, once again, to distribute 120 meals at the church door and delivered another 140 to campers. This coming week we implemented a screening for volunteers to ensure a safe work environment as we cooked the meal.
Take Care of Each Other
The most important thing we can do at this moment to take care of each other is to help stop the spread of the corona virus in our communities. The social distancing and closing of the church are an act of caring for the most vulnerable among us.
Our congregation is creative and resourceful. As we stay connected and stay church, we will find new ways to care for one another and for those beyond our congregation. I expect that that will be one of the blessings of implementing Care Groups.
You are all in my prayers. Stay connected, stay church, and take good care of yourselves and one another.