Dear St. John's family,

 

I have just spoken with Marge Schofield's daughter Lisa, and Marge's family has decided to postpone the celebration of Marge's life. There will, therefore, be no funeral on Sunday, March 15, at 2 p.m. at St. John's. In the midst of prayer and concern for the well-being of all who might attend, the family believes having such a large gathered group would have put people at risk, given the COVID-19 coronavirus health situation. Please continue to keep Marge, Stephen, Susan, Lynley, Lisa, and Bill in your prayers.

 

Over the past two weeks, we have received letters of care from our Bishops instructing us and giving us wise counsel about the ever-increasing spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. We have implemented their recommended safety precautions, and we have together cared for each other as the family of God we are in this place. Sadly this coronavirus continues to spread throughout our world and our state. Yesterday the Bishops issued a Pastoral Letter, which will be read at St. John's at all three services this Sunday. That letter can be found at this link . 

 

The Bishops are recommending that all services cease at parishes for the next two weeks, and your wardens and clergy have decided to comply with those extraordinary precautions to keep us all as safe as can be. We will have our normal three Sunday services on March 15. Beginning Monday, March 16, all services will cease at St. John's as well as all gatherings for the next two weeks. There will be no in-person Sunday services on March 22 and on March 29. After March 29, we will reassess the need for these extreme measures. Fr. Benjamin and I will determine how we can provide a live-streamed service of Holy Eucharist on those two Sundays and the midweek Wednesday services via our St. John's Facebook page for those who have access.

 

This means that all meetings will be canceled, including the Discernment Committee discussions. I know that canceling these meetings will bring sadness and frustration, especially given the good work of the Discernment Committee. We will somehow catch up and reschedule those important gatherings as soon as possible. The office will be closed, and we can be reached by instructions that will be on the St. John's office number.

 

We have received word that the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries organization (SSKP) has made a decision to close all Soup Kitchens for now, and that includes the St. John's Soup Kitchen. The Food Pantries will remain open, and our Soup Kitchen guests will be provided groceries during this time.  

 

At this time of being apart from one another, I ask that you reach out by telephone to your pewmates to check on them and to any who are alone or may be especially vulnerable. A friendly call might be a welcomed gift and will allow us to stay connected. 

 

Please know that these decisions were not easy ones, and yet we deeply care about the well-being of each of you. If you have any questions or concerns or have pastoral needs, please call Linda+ at 860-559-5070 or Fr. Benjamin at 860-767-8095. We also ask your prayers for all who are sick with COVID-19, for the health care workers who tend them, for those who are quarantined, for the disappointments this virus brings, for those who struggle to research vaccines, and for all impacted. May God be with them and all of us as we walk this time together.

 

Your clergy and your Wardens

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Physical Address: 3 Cross Street, Essex, CT 06426 I P: 860-767-8095 I E: chelsea@stjohnsessex.org
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