Alleluia, the Lord is risen! It is hard to believe that it has been an entire month since we have worshiped together. For my entire life Sunday worship has been a given, and not being able to meet and worship with everyone on Sunday feels like a part of me is missing. I wanted to take this opportunity to share with everyone how we are doing and what we are hoping for the future.
Current Sunday Worship: Thank you to everyone who has given us feedback on the Sunday morning worship videos. I know it is not the same as being together, but at least we can still feel like we are all worshipping together from afar. I will admit that it has in some ways been fun for me. I have really enjoyed thinking through not only how to do it, but how to improve the video production. Each week I learn something new and hopefully the quality of the videos reflects what I have been learning. It has also been a bit of a challenge learning how to preach to a camera instead of a congregation, but just know that I am imagining all of you out there as I preach.
Critical Care Response Team: We have put together a team of people who are available to help our parishioners with any needs they might have during this time. If you need someone to go shopping for you, drive you to a doctor’s appointment, etc., please contact Kim Mundt who is coordinating our team. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and her phone number is (417) 299-6003. We have a great team of people ready to help.
Outreach Opportunity: Historically during times of crisis and plagues, Christians have been the ones running towards the danger rather than away from it. And while we don’t want to expose ourselves unnecessarily to risk, we do want to make sure we are helping those in the greatest need during this time. I have recently started volunteering at the Life360 Community Services hub (in the old Price Cutter on Glenstone and Division) where they distribute thousands of meals to needy children Monday through Friday. Volunteers can come any time between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and help bag and distribute food. If you are interested in helping out or would like more information, please let me know.
Church Finances: I am pleased to report that financially we are still in good shape. Many of you have continued giving either through the mail or electronically. We want to thank you all for your continued generosity to the church. We are continuing to pay all of our staff and are current with our bills. If you haven’t done so already, we really want to encourage you to check out our electronic giving options. You can find more information here: www.allsaintsspringfield.org/give
When will things return to normal? That is the million dollar question, isn’t it? Governor Parsons just extended the state wide stay at home order through May 3rd. However, our assumption is that restrictions will be lifted gradually. Because we don’t know what the government will do it is hard to make definite plans for the church, but here is how we envision things might go. Once the stay at home order is lifted we will hopefully be able to do mobile communion again for a week or two. I know it isn’t as good as everyone being present at once, but at least we’ll get to see people face to face again. As the restrictions ease we will be able to start meeting publicly again. I’m imagining that they may limit public gatherings to 50 or fewer for a few weeks, so if that is the case we will plan to have multiple Sunday morning services to spread our numbers out. We could do 8:00, 10:00, 12:00, and 2:00 (for example). We would likely need some sort of sign up system for each service to make sure we don’t go over the the prescribed number. My hope is that by some point in June we will be back to normal on Sunday morning.
Silver linings on the personal front: In spite of everything that is happening, there are some silver linings. For starters I have both of my daughers home with me! It is certainly fun having a full house once again. I also got to spend Easter with my family this year, which is something I have only done once before. I’m riding my bike outside more and I’m even spending some time learning how to play the bass guitar better. My prayer is that all of you are looking for ways to redeem the time that we are in. I look forward to seeing you all again soon.
In His grip,
The Rev. Eric Zolner
Father Eric is a 3rd generation Anglican and the Rector of All Saints Anglican Church in Springfield, MO.