March 17, 2020
Today, my fellow clergy and I had a phone conference with Bishop Santosh Marray. To combat the Coronovirus, and minimize its spread, our Diocese will follow the recommendations of the CDC and the Governor, and will not hold church services for the next eight weeks. In addition, church activities and meetings are canceled.
Sadly, these restrictions will encompass our Holy Week activities and our Easter celebration. As your priest, I am heartsick that we cannot celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ with each other.
Unfortunately, we must cancel our 23rd Annual Garden Market, too.
These recent developments require us to be innovative with how we worship, pray and care for each other during this turbulent time. We have already begun some new strategies:
- I have recorded two audio services: Evening and Morning Prayer. I will work with Fr. Sam to record additional prayer services in the weeks to come. Click on the links to hear them.
I am exploring ways to record Sunday services too, so you can listen to weekly worship from the comfort and safety of your home.
- The church is now open during daylight hours. We provide a listing of psalms that you can use in conjunction with The Book of Common Prayer. Hand gel and wipes are provided to sanitize your hands when you visit. Please use our church and churchyard as your refuge and a place for quiet prayer and solace. We ask that you social distance from others that may be present. Please contact your physician and remain at home if you are showing symptoms.
- We have turned off the big spot lights on the church at night to save on energy and reduce costs during this time. Instead, throughout the evening and night, we turn on a sanctuary light at a low glow, so passerby’s will remember that the Light of Christ is always present in their lives–as is St. Mary Anne’s.
- We will continue with our weekly Enews. Sure, there will be less to report but it is vital to remain connected about recent parish developments.
- We look for new ways to safely distribute food from our Outreach Office.
We have a Parish Hotline available to parishioners: 410-287-5522. Please call and leave a message if you need prayer or assistance; or if another parishioner is in need. We will check the phone periodically during the day and return your call, ASAP. For pastoral emergencies only, please call 410-919-8231.
- We have begun work on a Parish Prayer Chain using our weekly prayer list. Details will be forthcoming.
- We are exploring safe ways to distribute the Eucharist to all.
Additional challenges and opportunities will be revealed in the weeks to come. In the meantime, please,
- Reach out to each other in a safe manner.
- Continue to open email correspondences from us, so you can remain informed of developments that affect the life of St. Mary Anne’s.
- Be sure to “like” our official Facebook page, so you will receive periodic updates from that resource too.
- Visit our website for news and updates, too.
- Let us know if you haven’t received our new Parish Directory. We will arrange for you to get your hard copy and/or an electronic copy.
- Continue to support St. Mary Anne’s with your pledges and contributions to help maintain the operating budget. You may go online to do so, or please send your check to the parish office.
I pray for your health and that of your family. I look forward to the day that we can all meet again to worship together with joy and thanksgiving. Let’s thank the Lord God for our blessings, and find solace that our Lord is steadfast, and that through his sacrifice on the cross we have the promise of eternal life. Rely on that wonderful steadfastness and promise during this time–and please share it with others who despair.
Fr. John +