Greeting in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, who has already won the victory over death! I’m writing to you as we have suspended public services for two weeks and will be following directives from our Diocese. ALL activities at All Saints’ are cancelled, effective immediately, through March 31. This is more than we all wanted to give up for Lent!
Although we are a scattered church, we can still gather virtually or ‘in spirit’. And although we may not be able to physically meet during this time we are still able to be the church wherever we are. We are continually pursuing ways to provide support and encouragement to the church family scattered across Florence. We have created packets (using sanitary conditions – disinfected surfaces, gloves and masks) that can be picked up or delivered to those who wish to more fully participate in our Facebook live streamed services. We will also have a phone line that anyone can call into to participate in our service, should they not have access to a computer or internet.
There are many things in the packets that will be a great resource. I just want to highlight one means of outreach. In your packet, you will find cards that you can put in your neighbors’ mail boxes to say that you are willing to help, especially if they are particularly vulnerable. Being a point of contact can make a difference and may save lives in more than one way.
As you are aware, we are being asked to refrain from gathering in groups. This is a surreal experience as we are forced to fast from our many routines that are often distractions from our inherent vulnerability, which call us to trust in the Lord for our strength. This wretched affliction reminds us of our frailty and may involve considerable suffering across this nation. It is possible that we will experience the sadness of bereavement and the difficulties of economic hardship. I do hope you will take particular caution if you, personally, are vulnerable. Please let us know if you are having to self-isolate and we will do all we can to support you.
I pray against viral anxiety, that instead may we ‘cast ourselves on the Lord knowing that he cares for us’. Psalm 23 promises His presence with us even as we ‘walk through the valley of the shadow of death’. He is with us, He will lead us, and we shall ‘dwell in the house of the Lord forever’.
Our Sunday Service will be livestreamed this week and brought at the usual time of 10:30am. In addition, we will have midday services online every weekday. I encourage you to engage with this as much as you can- the more fixed we are in the word of God, the better we can serve those around who have no other voice of comfort.
We are making plans to use our vestry groups as an additional means of being socially connected in a time of physical distancing.
Keep clean and calm and carry on, (but not in groups of more than 10)
In Christ Jesus our Lord,