Church and COVID – BE the Church
Beloved, we know that the church is not the building in which we worship – but the people who worship and share God’s love with the world. This truth hits home especially now, when we re-imagine what it is to be the church in the world mostly independent of the building. We now know that we will be worshiping virtually at least through Easter, so we have time to live into our calling in the world. This email is loooooong. Apologies. With lots of Zoom links, and much creativity, we will continue to see each other, talk to each other, and love each other dearly (from at least 6’ away). A few practical details before the list of ways to connect, worship, play, and pray together.
Care Circles – Our Care Circles are in place, and hopefully everyone resident in the Chicagoland area has been contacted. Please reach out to your Care Circle leader if you, or someone you know needs anything. We want to know how everyone is doing – we are in this together!
Connecting to our Parish – As we settle into what will, by most accounts, be a long haul, there are many things that we can do to support our Parish. Deerfield has hundreds of shut ins who need regular calls, so if you are willing to do regular checkins with people, please let me know. People in Assisted Living facilities are, for the most part, completely isolated in their rooms – let’s write letters of encouragement and love! Please continue to get takeout from locally-owned restaurants, donate back your tickets to the theater, opera, symphony, etc, and pray for all the healthcare and emergency workers. If you know anyone who needs supplies or help with bills because they are out of work, let us know. We will help as much as we can.
Puzzle Swap – Puzzle love has exploded! It’s a great way to stay offline, challenge your brain, and occupy a lot of time – plus it is good for almost all ages. But when you are done, you are done. So – let’s swap puzzles. We will take in puzzles (no missing pieces, please!!!) to a table in the back of our chapel. We will mark the day they arrived, as the virus seems to live 24 hours on cardboard. After 24 hours, they are good to go! Remember – stay 6’ away from people, use hand sanitizer on your way in and out, wipe down anything you touch, and happy puzzling!
Give to StG’s – We aren’t worshiping in person, but you can still give to StG’s to allow this worshiping community to minister to our parish. Deposits are being made for checks mailed in, and you can now GIVE ONLINE on our Website! There is a button on the home page that makes this easy. Also, we are monitoring places that need extra funds and will provide links to options for donations to specific agencies/organizations in the weeks to come. And – if you haven’t sent in a pledge, the Finance Committee and Vestry would love to see it.
Try out ZOOM so we can see each other regularly! Thursday at 11am and Saturday at 11am
If you have a computer or tablet or smartphone, you CAN Zoom, and we are here to help you. As in all things, we are in this together. We will have Zoom trial sessions on Thursday and Saturday mornings, and the Zoom website has many helpful tutorials. You can also call in to Zooms, but you just get audio and not the fun of seeing everyone, and we don’t get the fun of seeing you either. Also, your computer must have a camera and a microphone for us to see and hear you, but not for you to see and hear us. So let’s try it!
Thursday Morning invitation:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 786 242 662
Dial by your location
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
Saturday Morning Invitation:
Meeting ID: 972 556 018
This Sunday at StG’s
10am – Virtual Worship via Zoom and FaceBook Live (Zoom starts at 9:40 – FB 10:00)
Meeting ID: 842 861 148
11am – Virtual coffee hour via Zoom – Zoom attendees breakout into “virtual tables” and have conversation – it’s even more fun than we thought it would be! BYOC
If you would like to prepare for Sunday’s Worship Service, please click on the link to read the Lessons and the Gospel from the Lectionary http://www.lectionarypage.net/YearA_RCL/Lent/ALent4_RCL.html
1 Samuel 16:1-13
Stations of the Cross – Fridays in Lent at 7pm via ZOOM and FB Live!
Stations has become a very important spiritual practice for many of us, and Jon Dutcher’s paintings for the Stations lend a deep connection to each devotion. Starting this Friday, we are going to take Stations online. Jon has added two new paintings since we last were able to walk Jesus’ walk of humility and death. Join us this Friday as we figure this out together!
Anne Jolly is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Meeting ID: 129 588 220
Wednesday Morning Worship and Virtual Breakfast at 8 am VIA ZOOM!
As we all learn to worship from our homes, we have worship via Zoom every Wednesday morning. This service will not be streamed on FB, but please join us via Zoom.
Meeting ID: 750 552 357
Let’s Talk - A movie discussion group Wednesday, March 25 at 7pm VIA ZOOM!
The Netflix film “The Two Popes” is a story of friendship between 2 adversaries. Each respects and maybe even admires the other, but each also thinks the other is on course to severely corrupt a beloved institution –the Church.
How do we remain in relationship with those whom we are in conflict or disagreement?
Through this story we also see two ways to live a life of faith: one is dogmatic, concerned that one glorious eternal truth must shine forth in our fractured world. The other insists to follow Jesus we are called to simplicity and to manifest faith by action.
How would we assess their choices? Which one of these paths speaks to you?
Lots and lots of other conversation topics!!
So let’s talk. Facilitated by Max Smith.
Meeting ID: 786 888 169
Children and Youth Connections
Children's Church will meet via Zoom again this coming Sunday (March 22). This time, instead of having a separate Zoom meeting we will be one of the breakout sessions after the 10:00 digital Morning Prayer. So all you need to do to participate is show up for church at our 10:00 Zoom service!
Youth Group and LOFT are having a weekly photography contest during the time of social distancing! Judges: Mother Anne, Casey Kremer, Kathryn Duncan and Charlene Vanderhulst will receive the photographs anonymously and make their decisions. They will judge on composition and how well the photograph represents the weekly topic. Prizes will be awarded and you may actually see some of the photographs hanging in the church when you can come back! Send your submissions to Shelley@stgregoryschurch.org by Thursday at 5:00 pm. Winners will be announced on Sunday. This week's topic is "what gives me joy." Next week the topic will be "Best Quarantine Vibe."
Children's Show and Tell. The Children's Church kids are meeting daily on Zoom for Show and Tell at 10:00 am! Join us by clicking here: Show and Tell with Shelley. The meeting ID is 501 145 895 and the Password is 534639. Each day one of our students will show and tell us about something that gives them joy! We will also be discussing Bible Stories:
Tuesday: Adam and Eve - Genesis 2::4-25
Wednesday: The First Sin – Genesis: 3:1-24
Thursday: The Escape into Egypt – Matthew: 2:13-23
Friday: Simeon and Anna – Luke: 2:22-40
Saturday: Jesus as a boy in the Temple – Luke: 2:41-52
Hymn Madness Continues
Well folks, it's the last tournament left in town... but the St. Gregory's HYMN MADNESS continues doggedly on, come hell or high water (or virus or quarantine!). It's come down to two staples of StG's hymnody versus two of the best-loved Christmas hymns in existence! How can you possibly choose? You'd better figure it out before Tuesday, March 24 at 10pm! Email your votes to Kathryn (email@example.com) or leave your vote in a Facebook comment on this post!
Community Meals – Next Time to Serve, Sunday, May 17 at Noon
St. Gregory's served to-go bagged lunches to our neighbors in Waukegan. Our team consisted of Scott Hamilton, Catherine Regalado, Matthew and Scott Schaper, Bill and Janet Foltz, and Janet's friend, Kim Baker. We provided, wraps (choice of: turkey and cheese, ham and cheese, or just cheese), Bugles, chocolate chip cookies, fresh mandarins, bottled water, juice boxes, mustard, mayonnaise, napkins, and hand wipes. We also gave each of our guests a roll of toilet paper. People were very grateful that we were there to feed them. Our next time to serve is Sunday, May 17th.
Prayers This Week, Please Remember…
The sick, and those who need prayer, especially… Blair/Seabury Family, Chris Jensen, Judy Epstein, Tonia Flores, Al, Priscilla Condon, Bev Laurell, Elizabeth, Synda Nelson, Chris, Francis & Tavares Families, Chuck Brasford, Finn West and Family, David Kyllo, Morris/Godavitarne Families.
For the departed… Barbara Harris.
Parish E-Newsletter Deadline - Monday, 9:30 am
If you would like to have something included in the newsletter sent out midweek, please submit your article to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Charlene Vanderhulst (847-945-1678.)
As I said in yesterday’s letter, the rapidly changing nature of COVID 19 in the United States means that we will be constantly adjusting to make sure we are protecting the most vulnerable. Last night, Bishop Lee issued a letter asking all congregations in the Diocese of Chicago to suspend all in-person worship, meetings, and events until further notice. We will comply immediately. We will not have Stations of the Cross tonight, nor any of our usual Sunday morning worship and learning.
We had anticipated this eventuality, and are prepared to live-stream Morning Prayer on Sunday morning at 10am on Facebook. Morning Prayer is one of the Daily Offices of prayer in our Book of Common Prayer. One of the beautiful things about the Offices is that when we pray them, we can be assured that someone, somewhere, is praying the same words as we are (that’s why they are common – we do them together). I can think of no better way to stay connected in a time of social isolation! To worship with us, just go to our Facebook page on Sunday morning, and the video will be there at 10am. Shelley will hold Children’s Church at 11am via Zoom for fun with the kids (kids of all ages are invited to join!).
Our Care Circles will be fully implemented in the next 24 hours. Most of the leaders are already in place, we have each household in our worshipping community assigned to a circle, and leaders will be reaching out very soon. We will use these Care Circles to stay connected one to the other – as St. Paul says, like ligaments that connect the body.
Let your leaders know if you are socially isolating, sick, or have any need for supplies (medicine, cleaning supplies, paper products, diapers, food, etc). StG’s is a central gathering place for and a facilitator of sharing of supplies in this time of empty shelves. We believe all that we need as a community is already here, and if everyone shares, we can care for each other. To that end, we have posted on Facebook that if anyone in the Deerfield area has needs for supplies to reach out to us. We will also reach out to the community to help fill those needs. We began posting this last night, and already have nearly a dozen members of the Deerfield community who have volunteered to help shop, pick up, or deliver supplies! We are all in this together.
We are actively working on many other ways to use technology to stay connected every day, so watch for more notices coming soon. If you need something, call the offices – if nobody is there, the pastoral care number will reach me. All staff will be regularly checking email. Stay tuned. In this time of social distancing, we can, and will practice connectivity in new and powerful ways, for we know we ARE connected as one in the Lord.
This prayer (author unknown) was posted on Facebook, and I offer it to you as a beautiful way to pray in this time.
May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those that have no place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.
Blessings to you, dear ones. All shall be well.
Beloved in Christ,
After much research, consultation with healthcare authorities, and other church and community leaders, we will be taking some actions to help mitigate the spread of COVID 19 and protect the most vulnerable among us. The Body of Christ is intrinsically connected: we are all in this together. God reminds us that we were created in community, share in all of life, and our actions always affect others. Therefore, our focus is on the most vulnerable and on creating connectivity in a time of potential social isolation. We make adjustments today, and monitor the situation so that we can adjust as needed.
To assist the vulnerable and isolated, we will:
· Create Care Circles: small groups of people living in close-ish proximity who will pray for each other, stay in contact with each other, and help each other to get food and supplies that are needed. More information coming VERY soon.
· Have training this Sunday in FaceTime (for those with iPhone), Zoom, and Skype so that our contact with the isolated can be more personal. We will collect information on which app each person is most comfortable using so the Care Circles can stay connected. We will also have video tutorials online for those who aren’t able to be here on Sunday. This will include making sure we have up to date phone and email information for everyone.
· Create a central repository for supplies to make it easy to distribute them to the most vulnerable. If you have extra hand soap, hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, or anything else, feel free to drop them off here. If you need anything, please let us know and we will try to find it (food, supplies, diapers, meds)– do not be afraid (says the Bible ALL THE TIME), we have all we need in our community!
Sunday activities will be adjusted in these ways:
· We will have standing Communion stations instead of kneeling at the altar to avoid sharing germs by touching an altar rail.
· NO INTINCTION (dipping bread into the wine). Our theology tells us that receiving only bread or only wine is full Communion, so you can choose to only receive the bread then cross your arms over your chest in front of the chalice.
· As always, you can choose to receive only a blessing instead of bread and/or wine by crossing your arms over your chest, and the blessing will be touch free.
· The Baptismal Font is drained of all water to avoid contamination – and during Lent a dry font can be a sign of the Israelites’ 40 year journey and Jesus’ 40 day fast in the desert.
· We will have a no contact Peace – use a small bow, a peace sign, jazz hands, a wave, or a big smile!
· We will have offering plates at stationary locations in the church instead of passing them from hand to hand. Don’t forget to leave your financial gifts! J
· We will be recording and/or live streaming the 10am service every week starting this Sunday. We are still working out the details, but we will let everyone know asap. If you are choosing to socially isolate, or are on quarantine, then you will still be able to be a part of our worshipping community each week.
· Coffee Hour will only have pre-packaged individual food to avoid any contamination. All people touching/preparing/distributing food and/or drink will wear nitrile gloves (in the kitchen).
Other details that are important:
· Any meeting that can happen via Zoom instead of in person should do so.
· The Thursday Lenten study will be suspended – you can study online: https://www.signsoflife.org/
· We have put away pens for all sign-up sheets. PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN PENS here and everywhere you go.
· It is advisable that anyone over 60 with any health complications stay home as much as possible. If you stay home, please call the church and let us know so we can stay in contact with you.
· If you are sick (even a LITTLE), please stay home. And let us know. We are here to support each other.
· You can continue giving to St G’s mission and ministry in the world electronically! Link coming ASAP!
· Episcopal Relief and Development is on the ground assisting the most affected areas. If you would like to support relief efforts, you can give here: https://www.episcopalrelief.org/what-you-can-do/give/donate-now/individual-donation/
Resources for real information on the spread of COVID 19 (keep calm and stay informed):
Here is a link to a video tutorial of how to FaceTime if you have an Apple device (iphone, ipad): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXLZ-egtIe0
Beloved, all shall be well. We are here together (even though we are now physically staying apart much of the time). As San Diego Bishop Susan Snook said, “For us, gathering for worship and prayer is at the heart of our mission as Christians, and unless strong recommendations are made by health authorities, I believe we should still gather. However, we should take some important actions to mitigate the spread of the disease.” It’s our responsibility to care for the vulnerable and help keep our healthcare system from being overloaded. We will constantly monitor the situation, and all of this may adjust as the situation unfolds. Pray for the world in this time – especially those who are alone in quarantine or isolation, all who suffer from economic disruptions, and those who are ill. Let’s radiate God’s grace at this time!
Your Rector and Vestry
10:00 AM Holy Eucharist with music