A PASTORAL LETTER FROM THE RECTOR 3/20/20 5 PM CDT
Dear Church Family,
For many of us, we are ending the first full week of social distancing and have experienced numerous changes and cancellations in so many areas of our lives, both big and small. These changes can be frustrating, disappointing, and even heartbreaking. It seems like most people are trying to discern an uncertain future, but we simply can’t predict what tomorrow holds.
Instead of trying to make plans when plans are hard to make, perhaps we can try to become more comfortable with uncertainty. Faith calls us away from certainty and predictability and into a state of trust. We are called to trust in God, to trust in one another, and to trust in the power of love. As for me, I’m going to stay in my lane, so to speak, and offer some thoughts about how to be the church in an ever-changing world, especially when church has also changed.
First, I ask you to continue supporting our church leaders. When I can, I pass along your notes of gratitude and kudos to our amazing Saint Michael team of clergy, staff, and volunteers who are hustling to do whatever they can to support our community. We will likely never know the full extent of their efforts, but we can certainly keep them in our prayers and join me in praise for them whenever you can.
Second, take care of one another. Please pray for everyone in our Saint Michael family. Prayers are going up for those in our community and check-ins are happening with those we know are most in need (you can send prayer requests to us online). However, the church is not just comprised of leaders and staff – we are all the church! Make phone calls, write notes, and have video chats. Little moments that safely connect us keep our spirits up.
Third, check in with your neighbors. We are so blessed to be part of a church community. Even when we are physically isolated, we are never alone. Each of us are also surrounded by neighbors who do not belong to any faith community. Please be aware of them, safely check in on them, and add them to your personal prayers.
Fourth, join us in working to continue our community outreach ministries. There are specific ministries available to SMAA members that can help meet needs and keep everyone safe under the current CDC recommendations (read more). The needs in our community do not stop just because of the virus, and neither should our thoughtful, safe service.
Fifth, please continue to give. This may seem like a small thing with all that’s swirling around us, but continued giving allows us to take care of our staff, keep our worship available to everyone, and secure ministries in our community (give online here). Now, as much as ever before, we are being called to be a faithful witness to the hopefulness we find in Jesus. This hope is an essential gift to one another and to our world.
Lastly, I invite you to rest in the peace of God when you can. There is more information at our fingertips than can be absorbed and it’s easy to drown. Instead, please take care of yourself. Sabbath is not only meant to be a break in the rhythm of our week, but also a break whenever we need one. When the pressure of the world seems to weigh you down, pause, take a deep breath, and rest in the love of God that surrounds you on all sides. God’s touch can be healing, and we all need a little healing these days.
I look forward to celebrating with you all live online this Sunday at both the 9am and 11am services. This week, we will have digital bulletins available on our website that includes the music so you can sing along at home (watch here). You all continue to be in my daily prayers, and I can feel yours for me. I am grateful for each of you and for Saint Michael!
Peace and blessings upon you,
The Rev. Dr. Christopher D. Girata