Dear Cathedral Family,
We continue to miss each other and to long for the time we can be together again. I know that I am feeling my physical distance from you keenly, even as I am strengthened by your expressions of our shared love and commitment and your faithfulness in worship and in giving.
I am thankful for your Vestry’s good work in reaching out to members of our congregation to check on your wellbeing and to listen to your thoughts on our eventual return to in-person gathering for worship. Thank you all for your candid, yet hopeful, responses.
What we have heard is not surprising: you are eager to return to our beloved Christ Church, but you know that this may take some time and will require great care and more sacrifice. Our numbers will be smaller; our worship will not contain some things that are dear to us; our time to be together for fellowship and formation will have to wait.
One of the thresholds established by our diocese for return to worship is that our community should demonstrate a 14-day decline in new cases of COVID-19. We have not yet experienced decline in Mobile, where cases are still slowly increasing.
This means that May 31, the Day of Pentecost, will not be a day when we can gather in-person for worship. We will continue with live streaming of our worship, and we will continue to pray together and reach out to one another in the new ways we have been learning in our time apart. I will be keeping a close watch on our local situation, as I stay in communication with our bishop and other clergy and with our Vestry and lay leadership and staff here at Christ Church Cathedral. I will continue to communicate with you about how we may move forward in our life together in ways that honor our responsibility to care for the most vulnerable among us while still continuing our mission as the Church.
Our lessons from scripture for this Sunday speak to our present situation, as they always do. As Luke recounts once again Jesus’ ascension at the beginning of the book of Acts, we hear Jesus tell his followers, who are eager to know about his return: “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.” We, like them, must practice patience. And we, like them, will have the power of the Holy Spirit to comfort and lead us. Peter tells followers of Jesus not to be surprised by trials “as though something strange were happening to you.” He writes, “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert.”
Until we can be together again, we will continue to hold each other in heart and mind and prayer.