Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:2)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Your Vestry and Clergy met last night, and our primary discussion was on how we should respond to the Coronavirus. It was a very positive conversation, as everyone worked to balance caution with commitment—how do we best protect our most vulnerable parishioners, while continuing to be a welcoming and loving body of people who proclaim the Good News of Jesus through our care for the sick, poor and oppressed. For many people the virus poses a low risk; for the elderly, vulnerable, and immuno-compromised, it can be deadly. As we tend to the Lord’s work, we do so with the intentional awareness and proper recognition of the vulnerable among us.
In addition, Bishop Goff today announced that all parishes within the Diocese of Virginia are to suspend all Sunday worship services for the next two weeks. We will continue to provide a prayerful space for our parishioners by offering our regularly scheduled weekday Holy Eucharist in the Chapel on Wednesday (7am) and Thursday (11am) mornings. We will also continue with Centering Prayer on Tuesdays, the Lenten book study on Wednesdays, Friday’s Stations of the Cross, and the Lenten Retreat this Saturday. The Men’s Retreat at Shrine Mont and Communion Prep will proceed as scheduled.
We all feel strongly that our ministry to the people of Arlington is an essential component of who we are, and we will continue with regularly scheduled Lay Assistance Meeting (March 25th) and AA Meetings on Monday nights in Paca Hall.
All other meetings and events at the church are cancelled until further notice, including Sunday School and adult forum, choir rehearsal, youth group, youth confirmation retreat, lay-led committee meetings, yoga, and bible studies and book clubs. Where possible, ministry leaders will attempt to continue meetings and activities through conference calls.
The situation is very fluid, and we will continue to monitor information closely, following the recommended guidelines of the Diocese, CDC and health department, and adjusting as needed. We are committed to open and transparent communication with the parish, and we will continue to keep you updated.
We have also developed contingency plans that will enable us to hold simplified Sunday worship services that minimize the risks if conditions change. As we gain more insight, by the end of the month we will determine the next steps on how to proceed with Holy Week and Easter.
If you are feeling isolated or anxious, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or Father Chris. We are here to pray with and listen to anyone in need. Your shepherds stand ready to assist as needed. If you have questions, please contact Elizabeth Bruington at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-527-6800. Our website will be updated regularly. If you know of a parishioner not regularly checking their email, please pass on this information. It will help us spread the word.
Please pray for our country and our world at this difficult time. Please pray for all who are anxious, ill, or alone.
May the Peace of the Lord always be with you.