A Journey By Stages: Gathering, Serving & Growing as the Episcopal Church in Massachusetts During & Beyond a Time of Pandemic

Greetings, Friends,

As you look at the picture at the bottom of this text, you can likely tell that I am standing at the top of the front steps to the church on Highland Avenue, in front of the big red doors. Oh, how I long to actually greet you on these steps once again!

I hope you will click on the here to read the wise guidelines our Bishops have crafted to guide our life together during this journey. They give us direction as to when and how it is safe to gather in-person for worship and to conduct the essentials of our ministries. It is a fluid process, with the emphasis always on how best and safely to love our neighbors and one another. Currently, we are in Phase 1 (Stay-at-Home). At this point, we do not have plans to return to in-person worship immediately after July 1, the earliest possible date set by the Diocese to move to Phase 2 (Cautious). For now, we plan to offer only live-streamed or recorded worship beyond the July 1 deadline, while continuing to make every effort to make sure that all parishioners on any side of the digital divide are able to connect with our worship and other activities. (For example, we are delivering a month’s worth of bulletins to shut-ins, complete with land-line, call-in Zoom instructions, instructions we have also given over the phone. Let us know if you know someone who would benefit from this.) Even when we move into the other phases, live-streamed and/or recorded worship is now a permanent, and long-overdue, feature of our life together.

Stay tuned for word on plans to bring folks “in” to the church, nurture fellowship gatherings, reimagine how we engage “zoomed out” and anxious households into congregational life, and continue to offer concrete love and reassurance to our neighbors near and far.

If you look carefully at the stained-glass windows above my head behind me, you can see Jesus seated there, lifting his hand up in benediction. That hand of Love is over all of us as we move through these uncertain times under his gracious blessing.

Faithfully yours,