Letter to Parish: 18 March 2020
Grace Episcopal Church
21 N Washington Street
Randolph, NY 14772
Mobile: (716) 864-3147
The Very Rev. Thomas M. Broad, Rector
18 March 2020
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The day after our devastating church fire in 2013 we gathered in the darkened sanctuary, surrounded by our family, friends, and neighbors, to praise God even in the midst of our struggle and grief. We celebrated Christmas with thousands of twinkling lights hanging from head-banging scaffolding. We laughed about frozen toilets and our children reveled in the opportunity to use an outhouse in mid-winter. And thru it all, we continued to gather, week after week, supporting and loving each other as we praised God in our worship. We got thru it together.
Today’s “coronavirus virus crisis” seems to be mild by comparison, but the reality is that it is affecting us far more deeply because of the way it is isolating us from each other. During a time that we may want to jump in and help we are being told to stay home, but that doesn’t mean we do nothing. I have included some aids with this letter to assist us in staying connected with God and each other ...
Short Daily Prayer from our Book of Common Prayer – In each of these are provided times to offer prayers of personal concern, for each other and all in need, in the Morning, at Noon, Evening, and Night.
Special Prayers of Intent – During this time we are not only striving to get thru this viral pandemic safely, but we are also searching for our next rector of Grace Church. A few suggested prayers are included.
Contact List – So often it seems like our Parish Directory has gone missing (or did the dog eat it?), so included is a list of members of our Grace Church family whom you are used to seeing every week or maybe only once in a while. Stick this on your refrigerator, or some other place where you can find it, and use it keep in touch with each other. If you see a “blank” on this sheet and you know of a cell phone or email address for yourself or someone else, PLEASE let me know because it will help me keep in touch with all of you.
Today I had a meeting with Bishop Sean and the clergy of the dioceses of WNY and NWPA. It looks like this way of life will last longer than any of us would imagine, and we are making plans for the “new normal” for some time. It will be so important to care for ourselves and each other physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I will be doing what I can, but it is also up to each of us to care for each other and those around us.
During this time I ask that you ...
PRAY – Remember to take time each day to PRAY – pray for those affected by this viral pandemic (that’s just about everyone).
READ – Take time each day, especially on Sunday, to spend time reading and meditating on God's word in scripture. Read your Bible, Forward Day by Day, or Our Daily Bread.
GIVE – It is looking like it will be tough financial times for all of us, but during this time we would be grateful if you would continue to support your church financially. Thank you.
CARE – Take care of yourself and others.
If you don't need to go into public, then please stay home.
Even though we are not gathering in person on Sunday mornings, the Grace Church building is open for the following:
Regular Office Hours on Tuesday and Wednesday, 9am to 5pm. Please
Morning Prayer on Wednesdays at 9am. Usually this is just Fr Tom and God, but it would be wonderful to have you join us (while keeping the requisite six-foot distance) as we pray for the welfare of the world.
Labyrinth will continue to be setup during Lent. Consider coming and using this unique form of contemplative prayer and movement.
WHAT ABOUT SUNDAY WORSHIP???
I am working on ways to allow any of you who have any sort of internet connection, or even a SmartPhone, to worship with us at Grace Church on Sunday morning.
THIS SUNDAY – March 22 – our worship will be live streamed on Facebook. You do NOT need to be a Facebook “member” to join us – this is open to the public. simply go to https://www.facebook.com/GraceChurchRandolph/ If you are a Facebook user, remember to “LIKE” us to make it easy to find us.
At 10:00 AM on Sunday, we should appear on your computer or phone screen!
There will be a full program of the service that you can download or you can come by church and pickup a printed copy. The Center Street door will be open each morning this week – Thursday – Friday – Saturday for you.
And go to our church website for updates: https://gracechurchrandolph.org/
... oh, and one last thing. The US Census is underway. Be sure to send yourresponse as it is vital to the next decade in New York that we all be counted.We are in this together and, by God’s grace, we will get thru this together.
May God’s blessings be upon us,