Friday, March 13th, 2020
Beloved in Christ,
Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered schools closed in Montgomery County and urged all residents to refrain from attending gyms, theaters, stores, and large gatherings due to the spread of the COVID-19, the coronavirus, for the next two weeks. What does this mean for us at St. Matthews?
- We will offer only 1 service on the next two Sundays, March 15 and 22, at 10 a.m. – a combined 9:00/10:30 service (Communion wafer only, no physical contact during the Peace, hand sanitizer available, we will wipe all surfaces with disinfectant).
- There will be no coffee hour.
- We encourage all at-risk people to stay home during the 2 weeks, as the Governor has recommended.
- It is our intent to stream the services so you can attend virtually. We will send out information on the link when we have it.
- St. Matthew’s Nursery School will be closed as of Friday, March 13.
- Sunday School will be suspended for two weeks.
- Healing Litany and Holy Eucharist will be offered at noon Wednesdays
- Noonday Prayer & Lunch on Tuesdays, and Morning Prayer on Thursdays, will be suspended for the two weeks.
- All weekly gatherings at the church will be canceled for the two weeks (Christian Formation Programs, Lenten Studies, rehearsals, etc.). If meetings need to be held, call-in meetings or video conferences may be organized.
- Staff will keep office hours, but perhaps on a reduced schedule. They are available by phone and email.
- Carolyn Bedics has instructed our cleaning crew to do deeper cleaning and sanitizing of the facilities during this time of the coronavirus.
- The Chili Bingo social and Youth Fireside Chat, which fall during the two-week window, will need to be moved to later dates.
- We will evaluate the health risk environment daily and inform you of any changes.
Please take care of yourselves. Avoid unnecessary risks. Err on the side of caution and make decisions that are right for you and your families.
I have asked our staff and pastoral care team to make check-in phone calls to our most vulnerable members. With our Bishop, I encourage each of you to reach out to parishioners and friends. Since we will have less opportunity to see each other in the flesh in the next few weeks, we can serve each other well and answer our baptismal covenant by maintaining contact and care via phone and video conferencing.
Feel free to use the parish directory to pray for each other and to remind yourselves of sisters and brothers to pray for and call. Pray for those who serve the common good, for medical workers, scientists, government officials. Remember the sick and the lonely; pray for those who have died and those who grieve. Utilize the streaming services. We will stream the Wednesday service too, assuming we get streaming up and running soon.
Call on me as you need me. My number and email are below.
The Rev. Canon Dr. Peter B. Stube
O God, our times are in your hand. In the midst of uncertainty lead us by your never-failing grace as we seek to be agents of healing and hope. Walk with us through difficult times; watch over us in danger; and give to us a spirit of love and compassion for those who suffer and mourn. And finally remind us that you have promised never to leave us so that even in the valley of the shadow of death your love may be felt, through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.
—The Rev. Lyndon Harris