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Message for the congregation on the temporary closing of the parish

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Grace and peace to all of you, dear friends of Holy Trinity.
 
I am writing to advise you, that upon the direction of our Bishop Sam Rodman and the recommendation of our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, we will be closing the church on Friday afternoon, March 13, 2020, through Sunday, March 29th.  This means that all worship services, activities, regularly scheduled meetings, etc. are canceled.  This is to provide for an abundance of caution in this time of uncertainty about the corona virus and its effects.  The decision is based on sound medical and public health advice.   The length of the closure period, for at least two weeks, was chosen because it matches the known incubation period for the virus following exposure.  What we have learned from other countries experiencing this pandemic, is that the sooner contact is restricted, the earlier the virus reaches its peak and begins to reduce in numbers.  So, as our Presiding Bishop remind us, this is an action taken not only for our own protection, but as an expression of Jesus’ instruction to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Our major concern during this time will be the care of each other, those whom we love and those whom we are called to serve. So your clergy will be meeting Friday morning to begin to work through ways of keeping in touch and in prayer.  Your suggestions and ideas are most welcome and helpful.
 
For example, this Sunday, March 22nd we will offer an on-line, perhaps live streaming, service of Morning Prayer with a homily for the congregation.  Stay tuned for further information on how to access this resource.  We will also be offering other sources of reflection and prayer during the coming weeks.  We ask you to reach out to members of the parish whom you know to make sure they are safe and sound.  You may contact the clergy through the pastoral care emergency number.
 
That pastoral care number is 336-365-0750. 
 
In closing, I want to quote a portion of Bishop Rodman’s note to us – which I find to be inspiring and helpful.  His words offer me a pathway in this time of challenge and I hope will do the same for you/
 
The situation created by the coronavirus presents us with a unique opportunity to live into adaptive leadership. It is a chance for us to explore ways to deepen our connections to one another, doing so in spite of physical distance.

The actions we are taking are taken not in a spirit of fear, but rather in a spirit of creating a proactive, preventative, strategic impact to limit the spread of the virus.


We are responding in a spirit of unity and as Christ’s beloved community. We look to Jesus in times like these to be our companion on the journey, the one who walks with us, the source of our hope and the presence of peace among us. At the risk of jumbling our liturgical seasons, perhaps we are called here in the middle of Lent to remember the story from early in the Easter season. In John’s gospel, the small group of disciples gathered in that upper room in uncertainty and fear, and suddenly Jesus is in their midst, saying: “Peace be with you.”


He is in our midst.


As the Body of Christ in this moment of uncertainty, let us live into that promise of peace as we find creative ways to stay connected. Let us recognize the presence of Christ even in virtual gatherings, as we lean into the challenge of meeting social distancing with collaboration and a determination to stem the spread of this virus.
 
May we, indeed, feel the deep peace of Christ, within, around and between us.
 
Pat
 
 
The Rev. Canon Patricia Grace
Interim Rector
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
 

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