Greetings Saint Barnabas members and friends,
I come to you with an important and difficult decision. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have decided to suspend all church gatherings, including Sunday worship, through the end of March.
Please know I’ve spent much time learning about this situation, conferring with colleagues, and in my prayers.
I realize this will be a deep loss for many of us. It certainly will be for me. And even as I say this, I want to remind us that Jesus came not as the God who spares us from suffering, but as the God who joins us in our suffering.
This is a time for us to make what we believe is a wise choice and to endure loss for the sake of the greater good. Many of our members are among the groups that are most vulnerable to this virus. And we need to do our part in mitigating the spread of this virus, especially in the early stages.
And let me quickly add, let us not be discouraged or afraid. Let us not be as though we are a people without hope. Our faith and our hope are in eternity. Even now, in the midst of uncertainty and loss and fear, we are a people who dwell in eternity.
I realize I’ve probably had more time than most to think and pray and carefully ponder this situation and our decision. That has given me time to embrace this as another opportunity. The opportunity, in the midst of a new and great need, to continue to be a people of faith, a people of hope, a people of loving service to and for one another and for our world. We are that people.
We are that people. Now in a new circumstance let us continue to be a people of hope.
As this message settles in for you, I urge you, please join us in encouraging one another and being an encouraging presence in our world.
To begin with, please be patient with us as we determine all the best courses of action. We plan to stay in close contact with you via our social media, emails, and website.
During this time, we will live stream a Sunday morning liturgy conducted by our clergy. We will be sending email and social media announcements for the time and links to this liturgy, and you will find it on our website.
Additionally, we are working on ways to offer online faith formation resources for children and adults, resources for families to pray together and help their children through this time, and, we hope, online prayerful meditations and liturgies during the week.
Also, our ministry team leaders will be reaching out to maintain contact, help us all stay encouraged, and keep our clergy and staff informed of any needs.
Our office will be open during normal business hours. You can reach the office staff by phone or email. But we ask you, please, do not stop by the office unless you have an urgent need. Thank you in advance for respecting our office staff’s health and safety.
During this time our pastoral care teams will not be making in-person visits except in critical situations. We will, however, be increasing our number of phone calls and emails, and we will continue our ministry of sending cards to the homebound and those in need. We’re also exploring the use of video calling. So in new ways, we will continue to love and serve and be with one another, especially those who suffer.
Before I close in prayer, please know that always we are here for you if you have a need. In the written version of this message, here is a link to our leadership page that includes the phone numbers and emails of our clergy and staff. Please, don’t hesitate to contact us with any need you have. Also, you can find a link to the Center for Disease Control for their recommendations here. I urge you to learn them and follow them carefully.
Let us all be wise and safe and take care of ourselves. Let us pray…
O God, in your mercy you sent Jesus Christ to come among us and join us in our suffering: We pray you, now, by the might of your Spirit, lift us to your presence in the heavens where we may be still and know that you are God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
-The Rev. Jim Clark
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Welcome to www.saintbarnabas.org, our church community’s online expression of our life and mission. If you are looking for a place that feels like home, a place where friends remember your name and become excited when they see you across the patio, a place where members share the value of deep, life-changing faith in Jesus, you’ve come to the right place. All are welcome.
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