March 13, 2020
Dear All Saints Family,
As I’m sure most of you know by now, we have had a presumptive positive test for coronavirus in Springfield now. At All Saints we want to continue doing what Christians do, which is worshipping the Lord and helping those in need. However, we also want to be responsible in helping to slow the spread of this new virus. During such a time it is important to “flatten the curve" of the spread, which not only protects ourselves and others, but also ensures that our healthcare system is able to adequately address the crisis. Thus, in obedience to our Bishop, and in accordance with CDC recommendations, we will be implementing the following changes effective immediately. The Vestry will be in continual contact with me and we will determine how and when to update our procedures. We are hoping that this will only last for a week or two, but we don’t feel comfortable putting a time frame on it at this time.
For the time being we will continue to have our full services on Sunday mornings at 8:30 and 10:45. However, the Bishop has urged people over 60 or with other health issues to consider worshipping from home.
We will be live-streaming our 10:45 service on our Facebook page this coming Sunday and I will work in the coming week to see if I can figure out how to livestream it directly to our website for those of you who do not have a Facebook account. A link to the Facebook Live stream will be at the bottom of our website home page: www.allsaintsspringfield.org.
As far as I know we will still have nursery care available on Sunday morning.
We will continue to distribute communion in one kind and ask that you leave space between each other at the altar rail. We will also be omitting the passing of the peace for the next few weeks. Our Sunday morning prayer teams will continue praying for people remotely.
We will place the collection plate in the back of the Nave and ask that you place your contributions in it either on your way in or on your way out. You can also give on-line by clicking here. We want to encourage you to continue your financial stewardship during this unsettled time. Even though we are reducing many of the things we offer in the coming weeks, the majority of our costs are fixed.
All Sunday morning classes for children and adults will be suspended for the time being. We will also not be providing coffee or refreshments on Sunday morning and are encouraging people not to linger after worship is over.
If you are scheduled to serve but are not comfortable coming to church, please just let me know. No need to find a replacement. If needed I can handle all worship duties on Sunday morning and I will cover any vacant duties.
For now we are still planning to have all Holy Week services as scheduled and will let people know if that changes.
Finally, all weekday Morning Prayer services will be suspended. I may try to livestream them at some point and will let you know if and when that becomes available.
Other Church Activities
For now, all other church activities will be suspended. This includes Men’s and Women’s Bible Studies, Theology Forum, Book Club, Discipleship Groups, Choir Practice, etc.
The “Learn to Serve” event scheduled for Saturday evening and the Women’s Quiet Day on March 28th will be rescheduled to later dates. We are still waiting to make a decision on the Passover Teaching Meal on April 3rd and will let everyone know if we decide to make a change to that as well.
The Church office will be closed to outside visitors. Please feel free to call, email or text any of us if you have questions or just need to talk.
Why are we taking such unprecedented steps?
At All Saints we love our congregation and we love our Springfield community, and that means we want to do everything we can to protect our parishioners and our neighbors. While many of us are in good health and would likely weather this new virus fairly well, my bigger concern is that we might then spread that sickness to those who would not be able to fight it effectively. We also need to consider the strain this could potentially put on our healthcare system. For those reasons we feel it is better to be over cautious than under cautious.
I have always been a proponent of incarnational ministry. I want people to be present with other people. However, at times like this it is a blessing to have so many different ways to communicate electronically. Please do not lose touch with each other during this time. Call your friends to chat. Send out some emails checking in with others. Post encouraging and uplifting items to your social media accounts. The Lord is way bigger than any of this and we are all going to be fine. Perhaps these next few weeks will remind us what a joy and blessing it is to be able to come together regularly with other Christians for worship, fellowship, study and service. Perhaps we will resist the urge to take these things for granted in the future. In the end, God will be glorified, even in this. He is the God who heals the sick and he is the God who calms the storm. He is sovereign and he will sustain us. You will all continue in my prayers, and I look forward to hopefully seeing some of you on Sunday.
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.