The Latest from Bishop Reed + Action Items for St. Liz
by The Rev. Daniel P Strandlund | March 19, 2020Earlier this week, Bishop Reed wrote to the diocese on how both we and the diocesan staff at the Bishop Jones Center will respond with love and responsibility to concerns about the Coronavirus. We at St. Liz have already begun adapting our common life to our current environment. Thus, there’s not much that is new for us. The only change from this past Sunday is that, per Bishop Reed’s instructions, St. Liz will only hold Sunday worship online via Facebook and YouTube through the end of March; I will not be officiating Morning Prayer at our physical campus. This will maintain at least through the end of March.
As I said in my video from Wednesday, my main concerns during this time of ‘Church dispersion’ are to continue our common life of prayer and worship as richly as possible and to make sure that the most vulnerable members of our congregation are cared for. In other words, my concerns are the same as they always are: to help us love God and love our neighbor as fully as possible. To that end, I have some action items for us:
*Tune in for Morning Prayer each Sunday! Videos will be ready by 8:45am, and a PDF bulletin is included in this email. Don’t forget to post a “Pass the Peace” selfie in the comments on Facebook if that’s how you’re watching. And if not, text a selfie to somebody!
*Wanda Slater will be curating a weekly list of prayer requests, birthdays, and anniversaries. I will read the birthday and anniversary names aloud during that portion of our service, and I will read the names of those on the prayer list at the appropriate time. To respect privacy, I will only read first names; I will not read last names or the reasons for the prayer, nor will I include the name of the person who made the request. To add a name, email Wanda at firstname.lastname@example.org We will do a new list each week.
*Pray. If your household already has a daily prayer discipline, keep doing what you’re doing. If not, I encourage your whole household to begin one. A simple way to begin is to pray together each night a prayer on page 134 of the Book of Common Prayer, the prayer beginning “Keep watch, dear Lord….” I encourage you to commit it to memory. It is an old and beautiful prayer, taken from the writings of St. Augustine of Hippo.
*Once a day, reach out to someone from St. Liz or from your community. Call your friends for a chat. Facetime with them for a game of charades. Make a beautiful card and mail it. Watch the same movie on Netflix and then chat about it afterwards. Emotional support and affection offered from afar are important. Yes, physical caution is necessary to prevent the spread of disease right now, and yes, our creaturely needs like sleep and food and brushing our teeth continue like normal. But a human person is not only a body: she is a soul, a heart, a pilgrim spirit in search of companionship on the way. It is in meeting these intangible needs that the Church is at our best.
*Finally, cultivate a little bit of silliness and beauty. Build a fort. Teach your dog to play dead. Kids, do an impression of your mom or dad and put it online so we can see it. (But ask your parents first.) For my part, I’ve been recording songs and putting them on my personal Facebook page. Not just church songs, but other favorites of mine and favorites of my friends. It’s not much. It’s just one way I’m trying to add a little leaven of beauty and joy and humor into what is usually a distressing media mix.
You remain in my prayers, and I trust that I remain in yours. For the foreseeable future, in addition to our weekly email, you can expect online communication from me Wednesday evenings and on Sunday mornings for worship.
See you for online Church this Sunday.