With a heavy heart, I write to you today to inform you of my decision to cancel all services and events at St. Mark’s Church through at least Saturday, March 28th. I make this decision after much prayer, consultation with the vestry, the pastoral direction of our bishops, and learning about the closure of the Groton school district.
A unified and proactive response to COVID-19 across the state is, to my knowledge, the best posture to adopt in the face of this global pandemic, especially with the limited information available as to who may be carriers. Couple this reality with the fact that our church is home to many who fall under the category of most vulnerable to dying from this disease, and the decision to close became clear, if still painful and difficult.
For the next two Sunday mornings, I plan to live stream a worship service, including music and sermon, via our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/stmarksmystic. I will go live at 9am, and you can participate by clicking the link and scrolling down our Facebook page until you reach the live stream post. If you miss the “live” event, the video of the service will be posted afterwards on our Facebook page. I will also post my sermons on my website, wherethewind.com, as always. I plan to do a few more live streams during the weeks to update folks on our status. I will announce those in the E-Tale on Tuesday.
I realize broadcasting our services is a poor substitute for our usual in-person gatherings, the lifeblood of our wonderful community. However, at this time, the best way we can love one another is by keeping physical distance while always keeping one another close in prayer. “Social distancing” need not be “spiritual distancing.”
To that end, I hope you will reach out to one another over the phone or via video chatting. Over the next few weeks, most people will be remaining home, including school children. “Cabin fever” is likely to set in. Please take as many chances as you can to reach out. Let’s use this crisis as an opportunity to renew our bonds beyond contact on Sunday morning. The vestry will be discussing ways we can make sure our most vulnerable parishioners are looked after in appropriate ways. Please pray for one another, for our community, for the nation, and the world, as we all face this pandemic together.
In the section below, please find a link to a pastoral letter from Bishops Ian and Laura. I encourage you to read it. I will be reading it aloud as part of the live stream on Sunday at 9am. Please find also a few other resources of note.
While our services and events are canceled until March 28th, I am available for pastoral support. Please contact me via my email at email@example.com or my cell phone (860) 448-5881 if there is any way I can be of service to you during this time.
Today, I lift you up from my heart to the heart of God. Please know that nothing in all of creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Please pray this prayer with me at this time.
Gracious and ever-loving God, in you we take refuge and to you we commend our spirits: in this time of fear and uncertainty, grant us the peace that surpasses all understanding, that we may love from a distance, knowing that we are connected through your great and eternal love; and that we may never demonize those who are sick, but trust in your never-failing grace. All this we ask in the name of the One who healed the sick and spoke a word of peace in the midst of the storm, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Rev. Adam Thomas
If you have any questions and concerns about COVID-19 and protecting yourself during this time, please call The Yale New Haven COVID-19 call center at (203) 688-1700. They are open Monday – Friday from 7am – 7pm.