So our eyes look to the Lord our God,
until he show us his mercy.
Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy…
(Psalm 123:4-4a, BCP 1979 Psalter)
This is a Rector’s note I hoped to never write. Our Bishop has urgently requested that we move to virtual-only services immediately. I share his pastoral concern. Effective immediately, Trinity will proceed with virtual services only. This will last until community positivity rates fall back to a level of acceptable risk. We have already lost one parishioner to COVID and it is my fervent prayer that Tillie will remain our sole loss as a community. The clergy of the diocese have been advised that we should prepare to be virtual through the rest of the year… This includes all of Advent and Christmas. We will monitor, and hope for a change, but I wanted the parish to be clearly informed that it could be the case that we will be virtual-only for the rest of the year.
This past week two parishes in the diocese experienced COVID exposures from asymptomatic parishioners. Viral spread in the community is growing exponentially. The field hospital that Rhode Island was able to avoid using in the spring is being prepared in anticipation that our regular and expanded ICU beds will be full in the next week or two.
The part of the church where the pews are is called the “Nave.” This is because it reminds us that that the Church is like Noah’s Ark, a place of sanctuary in a tempest-tossed world. The Church remains that sanctuary, even when we are physically apart. The Church has seen countless plagues over the last 2000 years and we will get past this one as well… In all those plagues, the saints have stood out for their love of one another and neighbor. Let us continue in that work of love… in our worship together, our fellowship, and our service. Take-away community meals will continue as will our love for one another on-line.
I have begun preparing faith formation courses we can do socially distanced while we wait out this storm. The first will be an opportunity for us to read the entire bible in chronological order of events. Believe it or not, it only takes about 10-15 minutes of reading per day to read the whole bible in a year. We will meet on Wednesday evenings. beginning 12/2 at 7pm, to discuss what we’ve read during the week and what questions it brings up. A schedule of readings will be provided in the next eTower. You can also buy a bible printed in chronological order. The one I own can be purchased here for $16.00.
There is good news too. Our months of work preparing the live-streaming set-up is complete. We are to the point of fine tuning. The system will even allow readers to join from home! So those readers who have stayed at home for health reasons will be able to participate as long as we are total virtual. As long as you have a device with a current web browser you can join the service as a reader. I think that is a blessing amidst this plague!
Walk in Love.