E-Newsletter for Sunday, May 31, 2020

Pentecost, Zoom Gathering, Spring Follies and more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, May 31, 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|*

When the stay at home order was issued back in March, probably none of us imagined we'd be looking at the end of May and Pentecost celebrations still happening from home.

And yet here we are. Over 100,000 people have died in our country alone in just a few months, a number now approaching the total US deaths in World War I. Over 350,000 people have died around the world with nearly 6 million people worldwide infected with this highly contagious disease. 

Stay-at-home orders have begun to relax around the country as we dip our toes into a cautious (and socially-distanced) entrance to some semblance of whatever the world looks like now. There have been increasing calls to open churches, including from the highest level of our country. However, large gatherings such as churches remain one of the most dangerous places this disease spreads. 

Thankfully, the church cannot be compelled to reopen. Of course, truth be told, our buildings may have closed but our churches have remained open. As I said last week, St. John's has actually been increasing our ministries, forming a new Justice & Outreach Commission that can respond to the ever-widening inequities and needs this pandemic has made more apparent. The new Environmental Action Team (EAT!) is hard at work on their first project creating the Good News Garden at St. John's. If you have an interest in either of those new ministries, let me know and I'll get you in touch with others.

Of course, our buildings will reopen eventually, when the leaders of our church—in consultation with medical advice advisors —determine we can begin to do so safely. We don't know when that will be, but we do know that any level of reopening will require careful preparation and planning. At St. John's, our own approach to a phased reopening will be guided by our diocesan plan for re-entry. The first step of that work will be figuring out how best to implement that plan at St. John's. The Vestry and I are inviting any interested parishioners to join us to work on this plan at a special Zoom meeting on Monday, June 1, at 6:00pm. You can join that gathering on Monday evening online here.

And, even in dark times like these, there is always cause for light, places where God's goodness is breaking out. At SJE, we've seen that through your robust approach to ministry in pandemic, your continued generous support of our church, and even the handful of new members who have joined our church during this time of isolation (I know they are looking forward to meeting you in person!). 

We will celebrate some of that light and joy next week with a special kick-off to summer talent show: our first-ever Summer Follies. At the end of the Follies, you'll be invited to vote online for your favorite act. Then, the winning act of the night will get to choose the ministry at SJE to which everyone makes the donation of their choice! Submit your video to me no later than Thursday, June 4, along with what ministry at SJE you'd like to bless to be included (ministry options online here)! If you would like Nick to pre-record and accompany you, just let him know and he will work with you on the details of how to do that virtually. 

Like many of you, I have been even more grateful than others for our parish family in these past several weeks. I'm so grateful to be walking this path with you as your priest.

Through Grace,


PS ~ Remember that adult Faith Formation continues this Sunday at 11:30am with a special series taught on Zoom by Father Cramer, "An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible." You can catch up by watching the first session online here and the second session online here. Find out more at the Facebook event online here and be sure to click here and join us on Sundays! You can also let me know if you want to be added to the email group and receive information in advance about suggested reading and then a copy of the slides afterwards.

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, May 31, 2020 online here

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