Dear Cathedral Family,
As you have certainly heard, Governor Kay Ivey has begun the process of slowly reopening business and public life in Alabama, replacing the Stay-at-Home order that expires on April 30 with a “Safer-at-Home” order effective until May 15. Relaxed state guidelines still do not allow in-person gatherings for worship of more than 10 persons. In addition, as you will see in his message below, Bishop Russell Kendrick has extended his suspension of in-person worship gatherings until May 31. He has also charged a clergy working group, in consultation with our own Dr. Bert Eichold, to establish safe practices to be put in place when the time does come to resume worship together, in whatever form we are able to begin.
These have been challenging times for the Church. With very little advance preparation, we were thrust into finding ways to provide worship in new ways, to adapt our practices of pastoral care for one another, and to stay connected as the Body of Christ during this time of social distancing and quarantine. All of this in the midst of stressful changes in daily life for individuals and families and great cultural uncertainty about what our world is becoming.
I miss you. We all miss each other. We have made painful sacrifices for the larger good and for the protection and safety of the most vulnerable. I hope that in this sacrifice you have found a deepening of your faith at the same time that I hope you have felt comfort in new ways of feeling connected and in community with friends, family, and neighbors.
In the days and weeks ahead, I will be working with your Vestry and lay leadership, as well as the staff, to expand and enhance the ways we worship and pray together remotely and to look at new ways we might serve those who are most in need right now.
We will be going live this week with a preliminary version of a new website, the work of our own Stacy Wellborn and Carolyn Jeffers, which should allow us to communicate and interact with each other in more ways in our increasingly “virtual” world.
Still, none of this alters our fundamental identity as an incarnational people whose identity is rooted in our common life in the Body. We will continue to work and to pray for resuming our shared life together in the place we love so much. But we must remember that we have also been changed, and not in ways that diminish us. We are being changed into the people God calls us to be for the place and time into which we are living. We are being changed always more fully into Christ’s likeness.
The Holy Gospel Matthew 3:13-17
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened[a]and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son,with whom I am well pleased.”