Dear People of God at St. Edward’s,
It is still hard for us to adjust to the strange and uncomfortable circumstance of having to temporarily close our church. I doubt that many of us have seen something like this happen in our lifetimes, though I have read that some churches in the U.S. closed during the worst of the polio scare in the 1940s and 50s.
But this closure strikes at the heart of our spiritual lives because gathering for worship is so central to our experience of the Christian faith. No handshaking, no saying “Amen” together, no passing of the peace, no Eucharist. We are even deprived of our beloved coffee hour where we check in with each other and connect to people we know and who know us. It is indeed hard.
But this sacrifice is necessary. In part it is for our own good and our own health. It is also, though, for the good of others, for the common good. And that is something we can get behind and appreciate as a spiritual matter. By staying away from St. Edward’s, we are making our own small contribution to the welfare of everyone around us.
As a parish we will do our best to stay connected and spiritually focused while we must remain physically apart. Our parish website will be the main place for new information, and for resources we can use to supplement our prayers and interrupted worship. Even though the office will be closed, we will monitor phone and email messages and relay them to the Senior Warden or to me as needed. Though I can’t make routine pastoral visits, I am still available to come to the hospital or visit anyone who has a serious pastoral need. And I am available by phone as well.
I also encourage you to use the telephone and the internet to stay close to others during this time. We can minister to others — and receive their ministry as well — via electronic communication. And the sound of a human voice is a powerful thing.
If we are fortunate, this interruption will last only a few weeks. Only time will tell. Difficult circumstances are a normal part of life and living as Christians. We have our faith to sustain us, and we have our community to keep in contact. May God bless us while we wait.