Dear Cathedral Family and Friends,
I miss you. And I know—from passing encounters in the street and in the grocery store, meetings on Zoom, and phone calls and emails—that you all miss each other and Christ Church. As the pandemic drags on and as work and school struggle to resume, many of us feel the additional stresses of uncertain beginnings. We need our faith and our church. We need each other.
The Cathedral Vestry met via Zoom last Sunday, August 2, to discuss our current situation and to discern our way forward, hoping to return to some forms of in-person gathering for worship, prayer, formation, and togetherness in the near future. We are all aware that during the month of July, the number of cases of COVID-19 in our area continued to rise. This week promises some decrease in the numbers of cases. However, as local private and parochial schools return to on-campus instruction this week and next, doctors and public health officials are cautiously watching the spread of the virus.
Our time together was healthy, enlightening, and productive, as your Vestry carefully considered the many and varied needs of our parish family. In the end, our decision was to allow some space between return to school and our return to in-person worship. We will meet again on Sunday, August 30. At that time, it is our greatest hope that we will be able to decide to return to some carefully modified forms of in-person gathering beginning after Labor Day, on Sunday, September 13, which would be the Sunday we typically hold “Rally Day” and begin our program year.
This August, like every other, is being devoted to planning for the year ahead. Our Children and Youth Team, Program Team, Baptized for Life Team, and staff are working now on programs for the year to come that can be delivered virtually (via live stream, Zoom, or recording) as well as in-person should conditions permit. We know that many people will not be able to return to public spaces for some time, and they will need new forms of pastoral care and access to the life of their church family. In addition, we are looking at new ways to bring smaller groups of people together outdoors to engage in activities that engage heart, mind, and body.
This Sunday, as our young people and their families prepare for school, we will offer our prayers of blessing and hope for them. Our CY team is preparing backpack tags and other ways of reaching out to let them know that our love and the love of God surround them.
In this week’s gospel lesson, Jesus walks across the stormy sea to join his disciples. As he approaches the frightened band in their little boat, he tells them, “Take heart; it is I; do not be afraid.” We need heartening; we need calm; we need Jesus’ presence with us. Romans 10 reminds us, “The word is very near you, on your lips, and in your hearts.”
Christ is with us. We continue to be with each other in the Spirit even in our physical separation. We also continue to pray to gather together soon.
May God’s peace be with you always,