E-Newsletter for Sunday, September 27, 2020

Worship Opportunities, Rector Book Study, Kalaki Unity School and more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, September 27, 2020 – Available in full online here.

Haga clic aquí para ver el mensaje de esta semana en español de nuestro misionero latino, Luis Valencia. 

From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer, SCP
 
Dear *|FNAME|*

Earlier this week, the Vestry, Coronavirus Response Team, and St. John’s clergy and staff had an excellent meeting about how we might adjust our worship practices as the colder weather approaches while still being attentive to current risk levels.

Those recommendations were passed along to the Vestry who affirmed them at their regular Vestry meeting. I'm sharing them here with all of you—and want to thank those who have already responded to earlier versions of these ideas as they were sent to Worship Ministers and floated in our private members Facebook Group. (If you're not in that group, click here to ask to join!)

In addition to the changes I will outline below, we are creating a “Covenant for Regathering,” drawing from a similar Covenant put in place at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Muskegon. This Covenant will outline our own committments to one another so that we can not only resume in-person worship, but do it in a way that mitigates risk and keeps us from needing to close down worship again due to Coronavirus transmissions. The current draft is online here. Please feel free to reply to me by this Sunday, September 27, with any suggestions for edits or changes—; or you can make those comments in the document itself using the comment feature. 

Here is a summary of the changes that will begin, effective this Sunday, September 27:

Sunday Worship
  • 8:30am Holy Eucharist in English –— As long as the weather permits, this liturgy will remain outside for the time being. If you would like, you may participate in this Facebook Poll in our Members Group to help us determine the future practice of that liturgy. Options include moving it inside (if outdoors does not actually make a difference for people in attendance) or cancelling the 8:30am liturgy for now and instead having an outdoor liturgy at 2pm after the Spanish liturgy. 
  • 10:00am Holy Eucharist in English –— We are going, on a trial basis, to begin allowing some small attendance at this liturgy. Given the presence of music and singing, this opening is a bit riskier. We are starting with very limited attendance, to get a sense of how it goes. If you'd like to attend, please sign up here. To make it a bit safer, the liturgy will be shortened slightly be removing two hymns (the offertory hymn and the exit hymn) so that there is both less singing and also so that there is less duration together. Attendees will remain in their pews the entire time (unless they are serving in a worship ministry), and communion will be brought to you in your pew. The liturgy will also continue to be streamed on our YouTube channel
  • 12:45pm Holy Eucharist in Spanish –— This liturgy will now move inside using the same practices as the 10am English liturgy noted above. It will continue to be streamed on Facebook Live

Daily Worship
We will also now resume daily offerings of Holy Eucharist, but only twice during the week: Mondays at 5:30pm and Wednesdays at Noon. Both will be simple said liturgies in the Nave so that attendees may be significantly spaced out. My hope is that these liturgies will be helpful options for those who do not feel comfortable with Sunday attendance, but might feel comfortable worshipping in our Nave knowing there is only me, one other worship minister, and likely only a couple other people. 

I doubt this will be the last time we need to adjust our plans for worship in these volatile times, but I hope these adjustments give you a broader variety of options for worship and gathering that are safe and spiritually enriching. 

Pledge Campaign & Ingathering
This Sunday's increased opportunity for worship together coincides nicely with the conclusion of our pledge campaign with the Ingathering and Celebration this Sunday. Members of the Stewardship Commission are invited to be present at each service to carry forward all the pledges that have been submitted and place them on the altar. 

As of right now we have $166K pledged to ministry, representing 39 pledges to the General Fund with an average of a little more than $4,200 or $80 per week. If all those who pledged last year but have not yet pledged this year return pledges of the same amount as they did last year, we would have a total of $340K, about $7K short of what the Finance Commission and Vestry believe we will need to provide for a balanced budget in 2020. If, however, those outstanding pledges return and average just a little more than a 4% increase, we would have what we need for a balanced budget. If you have not yet turned in your pledge, you can do that online here.

Every single pledge matters and every single pledge gets us closer to moving into the uncertain year to come with strong resources for mission and ministry. Because no matter what our worship, what our ministry, looks like in the year to come, the needs for our mission and ministry remain and, as a church, remain adaptive and faithful to this calling. 

Warmly,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, September 27, 2020 online here

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