Dynamic Downtown Worship in the Anglican Tradition

Rector’s View From the Steeple

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Rectors View from the Steeple:  Week Nine of the Coronavirus

May 20, 2020

Dear St. Michaelites and Friends:

Fear Not, Jesus is Lord (even over the Coronavirus)

You may never know that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have…

-Corrie Ten Boom

It seems as though day by day things are slowly getting back to normal, well, at least a new normal!  The question remains, what do you want to take from the pandemic into the new normal?  I found it fascinating that Only 9% of people in Britain want life to return to “normal” after the coronavirus outbreak is over.  People have noticed significant changes during the lockdown, including cleaner air, more wildlife and stronger communities.  More than half (54%)  hope they will make some changes in their own lives and for the country as a whole to learn from the crisis.  And 42% of participants said they value food and other essentials more since the pandemic, with 38% cooking from scratch more.  The survey found that 61% of people are spending less money and 51% noticed cleaner air outdoors, while 27% think there is more wildlife.

Two-fifths said there is a stronger sense of community in their area since the outbreak began and 39% say they are catching up with friends and family more.  The question remains, what do you want to take from the pandemic?  My singular prayer is that you would continue to see your home as the prime worship center, and that our church building would be seen as that place of support for worship in your home! In reality we worship here on Sundays and Wednesdays, but that leaves 5 days to lead worship in your home!

Okay, some practical news for you, that I hope you have already seen…first, our schedule over the next several Sundays:  Three big Sundays in a row!

  • This Sunday is Communion…May 24…
  • Communion…for all..
  • Earlier today we consecrated the bread..You can pick up your consecrated wafers on Thursday between 1 and 4, Friday from 9-noon. Your clergy will be handing them out under the portico.
  • Keep it until Sunday MAY 24 and we will partake together during video church!
  • Sunday May 31 is Pentecost..
    • Wear Red as we celebrate the anointing of the Holy Spirit! 
    • Then at 1pm, our annual meeting/festival of faith over zoom where we will do two things:
  • Have our Leadership elections
  • And communicate with excitement our Mission and Vision Progress WITH special Guest, the Rev. Nicky Gumbel of the Alpha Course and Holy Trinity Church, Brompton, London.
  • Sunday June 7:
      • First Sunday Back!  Worship at 8am and 10:30am
      • Limited seating with protocols in place
      • On June 7, we will continue to offer worship online…MEANING We will be live AND on line!  So, June 7, unless the Pandemic worsens..

Also, we will continue our Wednesday night teachings.  After this Heaven series our clergy team will be presenting a four part series on what it means to be Anglican CHRISTIANS…We call it I Like Mike, but it’s not just for newcomers, but for all of us, a great refresher on what it means to be an Anglican, using our New Prayer Book.  Including some of the unique differences between us and:

  • Roman Catholics
  • Baptists
  • Presbyterians…
  • This will be right after this series ends…coming up in June.

This course will take place on all the Wednesdays in June at 6:30 over zoom.

Finally, two pastoral updates.  Many St. Michaelites were greatly touched by the Rev. Dr. Ravi Zacharias, one of the great defenders of faith (Apologist).  He preached here at St. Michael’s several times over the years.  Sadly he died on Tuesday, May 19 of cancer at age 74… One of my favorite quotes from Ravi is a humorous one, where Ravi talks about heaven:  “You will make either your heaven or hell on earth …. BY THE PERSON YOU MARRY”…  Rest in peace dear brother.

LET ME ALSO GIVE YOU AN UPDATE ON The Rev. Dr. Peter Moore…our Scholar in Residence. Please continue to pray for Peter.  Peter is now officially on Hospice, I visited with him last Monday and he is on his way to heaven.  The family is not accepting any more visitors but Sandra reiterated that she really wants people to send cards, cards that she reads to Peter which always cheers him up.

So…three things you can do…

  1.  Double down on your prayers for Peter, Sandra, and their family.
  1. Send a card!!!!!  The Rev. Dr. Peter Moore
  • 721 High Battery Circle
  • Pleasant, SC 29464
  1. Do keep Sandra in your prayers, she is exhausted.

Until next time. Please pray this with me:

Dear God, thank you for blessing us with this undeserved privilege to see another day. Our brothers and sisters around our community, nation and world are suffering and dying from the Coronavirus. We pray for a cure to end the Virus that has no side effects. Jesus, we know that you are the master architect and builder, and that when we turn to you in prayer, hearts and homes and lives are transformed. It is in your precious and healing name that we pray, Amen.

Fear Not!

Blessings in Christ,

Al+

Alfred T.K. Zadig, Jr.+

21st Rector of St. Michael’s Church

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Dear St. Michaelites and Friends:

Fear Not, Jesus is Lord (even over the Coronavirus)

You may never know that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have…

-Corrie Ten Boom

Mother’s Day!

First things first….happy Mother’s day week everyone!  Wow do we have a surprise for you this Sunday!  Our music continues to develop over this pandemic and this Sunday is going to be outstanding!  In addition to our powerful brass and singers, we welcome back our Chapel Band led by Jason Moore.  We also will be welcoming Ann Caldwell.  Ann normally sings at the 8am service and will be singing this Sunday!  A veritable cornucopia of music!  Additionally we will also have testimonies from children and adults around the topic of what it means to be a Proverbs 31 woman.   So, Mothers day is going to be a whopper!  Many thanks to all of our musicians as well as for the leadership of Dr. Chris Keenan.  Let me also thank all of our choir members and other musicians who are part of the St. Michael’s family but have not been able to participate due to the coronavirus.  We miss you and remain grateful to you! 

Church Reopening and the Annual Meeting:

Naturally, the question all of us are asking is: When will the church open her doors again?  That answer has to come from Bishop Lawrence with a recommendation from THE ST. MICHAEL’S REOPENING TASK FORCE.  That team is chaired by Dr. Jerry Reves, and we await their report.   In the meantime, our Annual Meeting/Festival of Faith has been re–scheduled from May 17 to May 31st…Pentecost.  The church may or may not be open by then.  Regardless, our vestry is chiefly concerned about the health and safety of every St. Michaelite, and therefore we will do our annual meeting virtually through zoom. 

At our annual meeting we will review vision and mission progress and of course elect vestry members and convention delegates. 

  • Every one of you matters
  • and we want everyone to participate.

So, Sunday, May 31st, Pentecost at 1pm over zoom. An Email is coming out this week with all the details of that meeting; how we will vote AND biographical sketches for our leadership elections.

Numbers are Important

Numbers are important, heck there is even an Old Testament book with that name!  And while they aren’t everything, they do reveal important facts behind the ministry.  While we do not take our significance from them, we need to know them.  What’s fascinating is that through this pandemic, our church worship attendance has more than doubled.  Consider that our average Sunday attendance (before the pandemic) between all four services was between 500 and 700 people (including adults and children).  In the 7 Sundays so far on You Tube and Facebook in this pandemic we have had an attendance of 2,123 each Sunday.  Now, a couple of caveats…that’s with Holy Week and Easter…if you take Holy Week and Easter out, it averages 1596, but here is the key:  Both of those numbers do not include more than 1 person tuning in, in other words it could be that in one You Tube showing, there are 5 people tuned in!  Consider that on Easter alone we had 1,953 folks watching it on You Tube, that number could double or triple pending how many were watching within each household. On the other hand, we don’t know how long each person watched.  It could be they all every service…or they tuned in briefly. 

Still, the numbers are staggering.  This is why your vestry voted to install a discreet permanent “Live Stream” system to broadcast not only every Sunday service, but also our Wednesday night teachings, as well as weddings and funerals etc.  This Live Stream equipment will also be handy when we’re under a hurricane watch or even severe weather.  However it’s not meant to keep you home worshiping from your living rooms, but to give us a far deeper reach throughout the world.  Praise God for the “Good Use” of technology!  And remember fear not, whenever we go back to in-church worship, we will keep our video services going until the Live Stream is fully embedded.

Proverbs 31:  The Grand Finale Fireworks of Proverbs

Finally, let me return to where I started.  On this Mother’s Day Sunday we will read Proverbs 31:10-31. I encourage you to read that passage when you get done with this letter.  In that passage we find the job description for the “ideal woman…”  Yet it could certainly also be the perfect job description for the “ideal man.”  As Solomon writes:  Charm and beauty are deceptive, but a woman who fears the Lord…now that person is to be praised.  Fearing the Lord here meaning honoring, reverencing, and submitting to Him.  What a great way to go into Mothers Day…all of us living for an audience of one…to unconditionally adore the Lord.

Until next time..Please pray this with me:

Dear God, thank you for blessing us with this undeserved privilege to see another day. Our brothers and sisters around our community, nation and world are suffering and dying from the Coronavirus. We pray for a cure to end the Virus that has no side effects. Jesus, we know that you are the master architect and builder, and that when we turn to you in prayer, hearts and homes and lives are transformed. It is in your precious and healing name that we pray, Amen.

Fear Not!

Blessings in Christ,

Al+

Alfred T.K. Zadig, Jr.+

21st Rector of St. Michael’s Church

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Fear Not, Jesus is Lord (even over the Coronavirus)
You may never know that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have…
-Corrie Ten Boom

Dear St. Michaelites and Friends:

Easter Season

I know the number one question being raised right now is “When will the church re-open?” In
fact, who would have thought when we first went into quarantine that we would still be sheltered
and unable to worship in person in the sanctuary! Here we are, six weeks later and as of this
writing no clear word. As you know by now our permission to enter back into the sanctuary will
be given by Bishop Mark Lawrence, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina.
HOWEVER, we as a church are not killing time, we are doubling down in ministry. If you look
at our website you see that ministry is moving forward powerfully. Last Wednesday we had over
100 of you on the zoom call as we launched our 6-week series on Heaven! It was a great night
filled with worship by Jason Moore and a foundational teaching on Heaven. Not to mention
Sunday School Classes on Sundays over zoom, Monday through Friday noonday prayer, youth
ministry etc… This is a time to press in to highest connection!


However, we know that for many, this is a very difficult time, even a confusing time.
Yet, as I preached last week, Mary, the Mother of Jesus teaches us about waiting in times of
confusion. Mary was confused why her 12-year old Son Jesus would just go to the temple with
the Rabbis and not touch base with His parents. Three days of confusion and fear. Yet when
Mary and Joseph do find Jesus on that outdoor temple terrace there is a mixture of relief,
confusion, and angst. If we pause the story right there, we realize that truly is where many of us are. Relief that perhaps we have not come down with the coronavirus, but confusion over where
the virus came from and angst that in many ways we are missing out on each of our plans for
April, May, and even June!


Yet (one of my favorite Bible words), we are told that Mary, despite her confusion “Treasures
all these things in her heart.” Each day this week I’ve been pondering that powerful phrase.
How am I treasuring Jesus right now in my heart despite my confusion and angst? How am I
treasuring this unique time of ministry? Am I killing time or empowering time? Further, what is
Jesus teaching me to treasure now that need not be changed when the shelter-at-home order is
lifted?


At this point, four sources of treasure come to mind:
1. Treasuring time by combining Bible and prayer time with the great outdoors. Saying my
daily prayers, reading Scripture in the midst of God’s outdoor cathedral
2. Treasuring time at home with deliberate prayer. Each week we have assigned a child to
be a chaplain and organize our prayer time (the joys and challenges of being children of a
preacher!)….this has been fascinating
3. Treasuring time with more deliberate and pointed prayer with the staff on Mondays,
Tuesdays, Thursday,s and Fridays. In treasuring our time together it has made such a
difference!
4. Treasuring time by making Sunday a strict day of Sabbath…after worshiping using the
video, there is no work on this day…putting puzzles together, and living into a different
rhythm.


So, what about you? How are you treasuring the time?
Hope to see you Wednesday night for more on Heaven!

Until next time..Please pray this with me:
Dear God, thank you for blessing us with this undeserved privilege to see another day. Our
brothers and sisters around our community, nation and world are suffering and dying from the
Coronavirus. We pray for a cure to end the Virus that has no side effects. Jesus, we know that you
are the master architect and builder, and that when we turn to you in prayer, hearts and homes
and lives are transformed. It is in your precious and healing name that we pray, Amen.
Fear Not!
Blessings in Christ,
Al+
Alfred T.K. Zadig, Jr.+
21st Rector of St. Michael’s Church

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

April 22, 2020

Dear St. Michaelites and Friends:

Fear Not, Jesus is Lord (even over the Coronavirus)

You may never know that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have… -Corrie Ten Boom

Easter Season

Greetings on a busy day!  A day in the life of a Rector in quarantine for Wednesday April 22, 2020:

5:30am:           Prayers and bible reading

6:30am:           Shower

7:15am:           Zoom call with my men’s group using our Gospel Project Devotional

8:30am:           Put the finishing touches on my Sunday Sermon and the Service about to                                                   be Recorded

11am:              Video Recording begins in the church with our Audio Visual Team and all the clergy (safe distancing of course). Many thanks to this week’s Acolyte team of the Kelley family!

1:30pm:           Clergy meeting to go over details of our Wednesday night worship service and Heaven Teaching in the Sosnowski garden…with a surprise visit of daughter Wimberly with a refreshing soda!

2:30pm:           Going over final touches of my Talk on Heaven with a couple of rehearsals

4:30pm            Workout at home

5:30pm            Shower

6pm:                Microphone checks and launching into the heaven teaching with worship over Zoom!

8pm:                Finish

9pm:                Pray with the Kids and call it a night!

Certainly we are living in a different rhythm aren’t we?  Yet there are many blessings of this time, including Zoom meetings that make it possible to wear shorts with a clergy shirt…with the option to mute yourself, or even make yourself invisible!

The biggest question people have is…WHEN will the church be open again?  As of this writing we don’t know.  Who will make that call?  That will be a directive from the Bishop who will open all the churches at once.  Again we don’t know when that will be, but in the words of David Booman’s excellent sermon from Sunday, April 19…we will wait and we will wait well! 

The Worship Task Force, along with Children and Family Task Force AND the Congregational Care task force is meeting now to make recommendations to the Vestry and me about what that first Sunday back (whenever that is) will look like…i.e…will we have Sunday School?  Will we have all four Services?  Will we have Communion?

Please pray for wisdom both for Bishop Mark Lawrence and the leadership of St. Michael’s Church that together wise and discerning decisions would be made.

In the meantime, use David’s sermon to wait well:

  • Be faithful in the small things
  • Follow the Holy Spirit
  • Face death
  • Fall on the sword
  • Focus outward

Until next time..Please pray this with me:

Dear God, thank you for blessing us with this undeserved privilege to see another day. Our brothers and sisters around our community, nation and world are suffering and dying from the Coronavirus. We pray for a cure to end the Virus that has no side effects. Jesus, we know that you are the master architect and builder, and that when we turn to you in prayer, hearts and homes and lives are transformed. It is in your precious and healing name that we pray, Amen.

Fear Not!

Blessings in Christ,

Alfred T.K. Zadig, Jr.+

21st Rector of St. Michael’s Church

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Rectors View from the Steeple:  Week Four of the Coronavirus

April 15, 2020

Dear St. Michaelites and Friends:

Fear Not, Jesus is Lord (even over the Coronavirus)

You may never know that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have…-Corrie Ten Boom

Holy Week and Easter Like No Other:

One thing I can promise you, none of your clergy or staff will ever forget Holy Week and Easter 2020!  From Palm Sunday to Easter our prayer and hope was about making all four services authentic.  I hope through the Holy Spirit we attained that goal!  Some memories that stand out to me include the Rev. Richard Grimball using his stole as a virus mask at times during our Holy Week services recording, and the altar guild showing up to transform the sanctuary from a dead tomb on Good Friday into a garden of flowered Resurrection for Easter Sunday!  Special thanks to Dale Frampton and all those on the flower guild who planned beautifully and seamlessly with the staff .  There were so many hands who while they social distanced, came through to make Holy Week and Easter unforgettable. 

No Professional Outsourced Team:

Throughout Holy Week people kept asking me, ‘Who does all the videotaping?  It must be a professional team the church hired.’  The answer is that Dr. Chris Keenan our organist has many gifts in the areas of videography and editing and has done it all inhouse!  Many thanks to new Audio/Visual staff assistant Michael Hart for assisting Chris and major thank you’s to Howard Lovett, father of Lori Moore who graciously loaned equipment for all of Holy Week!

When Will the Church open back up?

Well, I know the question you all might have is when will St. Michael’s open its doors for public worship within the 4 walls of our sacred space?  As of this writing we do not know the answer to that question.  The answer will come from Bishop Mark Lawrence who will give a directive to all the churches in the Diocese….in the meantime…

Easter Season Connection:

As you know, Easter is not one day but 50 days that connects us to Pentecost and the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  Here are 4 great ways to stay connected during the great 50 days:

  1. Continue to transform your home into a sanctuary of worship!  Check out our website page called Coronavirus Response, and tab over to resources.  There are many ideas there to transform your home into a worship space similar to the ancient church!
  1. Learn more about heaven!  We will continue our theme from the Easter sermon on heaven with a 6 week series on Wednesday nights called:  From our Earthly Layover to our Heavenly Makeover.  Every Wednesday at 6:30 beginning with worship and a teaching by the clergy team.  Zoom information is forthcoming
  1. Connect Daily and Weekly with St. Michael’s.  Remember we have daily devotionals and live noon day prayer throughout the week.  And of course weekly we have Sunday worship with sermon questions, as well as Sunday morning Sunday School and small groups
  1. Think Missionally! Continue to tithe so your church can be both as healthy as she can be AND be a place where people can receive help for their ministries and needs like rent and food.  Remember there are three ways to give:
  • Mail your tithe or offering to the church at 71 Broad Street, 29401
  • Go on our website (stmichaelschurch.net) and give electronically (under Giving)
  • Text stm to 73256 (REALM)

If you have any financial questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Meredith Buyck at meredith@stmichaelschurch.net

This Sunday we will feature the entrepreneurial ministry of Caroline Baker who started a ministry of sewing face masks.  What missional ministry might you have during this time that could make a wonderful impact?

Until next time..Please pray this with me:

Dear God, thank you for blessing us with this undeserved privilege to see another day. Our brothers and sisters around our community, nation and world are suffering and dying from the Coronavirus. We pray for a cure to end the Virus that has no side effects. Jesus, we know that you are the master architect and builder, and that when we turn to you in prayer, hearts and homes and lives are transformed. It is in your precious and healing name that we pray, Amen.

Fear Not!

Blessings in Christ,

Alfred T.K. Zadig, Jr.+

21st Rector of St. Michael’s Church

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Rector’s View from the Steeple:  Week Three of the Coronavirus

April 2, 2020

Dear St. Michaelites and Friends:

Fear Not, Jesus is Lord (even over the Coronavirus)

 You may never know that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have.                                                                                                 -Corrie Ten Boom

Epic Recording Day:  Turn Your Living Room into a Cathedral

It went from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. — an epic day of video recording for our Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday services complete with Spartacus the horse (playing the role of the donkey in the triumphal entry of Jesus), the reading of the passion, the Maundy Thursday foot washing as well as the stripping of the altar. Bishop Lawrence also came to video a word of encouragement, which has been sent to the entire diocese as well as his Palm Sunday sermon. What a day!

Next week we will be recording Good Friday and then Easter Sunday. With these incredible services upon us, I do hope you and your entire HOUSEHOLD will gather to not only watch but participate in our video worship services. There is a difference between watching a service and participating … participating means:

  • Standing to sing
  • Sitting to hear the Word read and proclaimed
  • Kneeling or sitting to pray and confess.

Turn your living room into a cathedral!  

Many thanks to Dr. Chris Keenan and his audio-visual team who have done a superb job in making these services both authentic, real and beautiful. Remember that every service contains sermon reflection questions at the end to induce great household discussion. Each video service will be available through our E-blast and website.

This Sunday:  Palm Sunday!

So, believe it or not, this Sunday is Palm Sunday with two special guests, Spartacus the horse as well as our preacher, Bishop Mark Lawrence, who will not only be our preacher but we will be making his sermon from St. Michael’s available to all the churches of the diocese.

Beyond the Virtual into the Tangible:  Holy Week Tool Kit

To move us beyond the virtual into the tangible, beginning this Friday, we will lay out what I’m calling a good old-fashioned drop box/tool kit under the portico. Under the portico you will see our welcome cart that has been re-purposed as our Holy Week tool kit. There as of Saturday, April 4 and at your leisure you may pick up (blessed) palm fronds for Palm Sunday, as well as the Good Friday nails. These two iconic symbols will help make your worship via video something real and tangible. Also in that Holy Week tool kit you may get all your bulletins, including Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday (you may also print them from home).

We Want to See Your Pictures!

Please take pictures of your family worshiping together and email or text them to paigegrimball@stmichaelschurch.net. We will post them on our website in our Coronavirus Response section under FEAR NOT!

What will happen on Easter?

Many of you have been asking:   Will we have communion on Easter? A very important question indeed. This is where being an Anglican is so wonderful. The answer to that question can only come from the bishop as he seeks an answer that is both theologically wise and communally safe. He will be sending out a Communion directive next week, which we will obey.

We have had morning prayer (without Communion) for the last two Sundays and the phrase that has come to me is “holy deprivation.” Sometimes the longer you don’t have something you crave, you really understand how much you need it. I think of Corrie Ten Boom’s famous reflection:

You may never know that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have.

Holy deprivation can be a beautiful discipline.

There are also many of you who have wonderfully sent in some great Easter ideas! Thank you! The good news is this, remember, Easter lasts for 50 days, and we will try and incorporate your ideas in this wonderful new season. However, right now with our Holy Week video recording/editing schedule it’s safe to say your staff is a bit stretched. Keep those ideas for the great 50 days coming!

2 Personal Stories

My Mother:

Many of you have asked about my mother, thank you! Ina was scheduled to have chemotherapy for her cancer, but it has been delayed due to Covid-19 concerns. In one of our phone calls it was clear she was scared and fearful. Certainly living alone through this time is especially painful. BUT! It then occurred to me that because our worship is now global, she should be worshiping with us every Sunday! So, I called one of the staff in her independent living high rise community in Boston. They so kindly set her up at a computer in the building and cued up the St. Michael’s Sunday service on our website. So every Sunday she walks on down and worships with us! Ina couldn’t stop talking about how wonderful it was and how great it was to be back in the sanctuary she loves so much! If you have a loved one in your life who lives away, or a neighbor across the street, send them the link to our worship! www.stmichaelschurch.net/coronavirus/worship-online

My Father:

This past week, like many life groups, small groups and Bible studies, we re-started “Theology Over Coffee” on Zoom technology. It was a great first day back! Last week as we were setting it up it occurred to me that this is a terrific opportunity to add family members and friends who live in far-off places. So, I called my father and he got on our first Theology Over Coffee Over Zoom! I was so proud of him — at 88 years old and loving technology. God is clearly up to something amazing. If you are in a small group of any kind, I do hope you are using Zoom, and if so, invite others from around the country to join you! Theology Over Coffee Over Zoom is open to all men of all ages and meets every Wednesday at 7:30.

To join in from your computer, go to https://zoom.us/j/157870232, and then click on Open Zoom Meeting. Or join through your smartphone. Just download the Zoom Cloud Meetings app, select Join Meeting, then enter the Meeting ID: 157 870 232

As I wrap up my observations from week three … please know, all your clergy, staff and their families are well. Please continue to pray for bishop and friend, the Rt. Rev. Steve Wood; he has the coronavirus and, as of this writing, is still in the hospital. Also, please continue to pray for the Rev. Dr. Peter Moore who is stable and recovering from his second brain surgery for his tumor.

Finally if you know of someone in need of financial relief, let me know so we can help out and please continue to be faithful with your tithes and offerings. Like your family, bills still need to be paid and we want to get through this with no hiccups! You can give in three ways.

  1. Mail your tithe or offering to the church at 71 Broad Street, 29401
  2. Go on our website (www.stmichaelschurch.net) and give electronically (under Giving)
  3. Text stm to 73256 (REALM)

If you have any financial questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Meredith Buyck at meredith@stmichaelschurch.net

Please pray this with me:

Dear God, thank you for blessing us with this undeserved privilege to see another day. Our brothers and sisters around our community, nation and world are suffering and dying from the Coronavirus. We pray for a cure to end the virus that has no side effects. Jesus, we know that you are the master architect and builder, and that when we turn to you in prayer, hearts and homes and lives are transformed. It is in your precious and healing name that we pray, Amen.

Fear Not!

Blessings in Christ,

Alfred T.K. Zadig, Jr.+

21st Rector of St. Michael’s Church

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
                                                                                                   ~Isaiah 41:10 

My Brothers and Sisters,

Fear not, Jesus is Lord (even over the Coronavirus).  We know that even in times of extreme uncertainty there remain unshakeable truths that we can rely on.  These are the firm foundations of our faith.  So do not fear.  The Lord our God is always with us.  With this certainty in mind, I am writing to share with you the decision taken yesterday by Bishop Lawrence and shared in a conference call with all the rectors of our diocese. 

For the next two Sundays (March 22 and 29) we will be providing a video of the worship services with the sermon, so you can worship from home at your computer.  Yes, we will sing the hymns, pray the prayers together, hear the Word of God read and proclaimed!  The link to the worship service video will be in the weekly Messenger (e-blast).  The Sunday bulletin as well as  a .pdf version of the sermon may be accessed directly from the website.

This is because Bishop Mark Lawrence has suspended live Sunday worship in all the churches of the diocese for the next two weeks.  In addition to the Bishop’s directive and out of concern for the well-being of all our St. Michael’s family, we are also suspending all campus-based ministries.  These include Super Wednesdays, Life Groups/Small groups, Bible Studies, etc.  The church offices will be closed.  This is a precaution not of fear but of love, acting out of concern for a climate conducive for the spread of this highly contagious virus, as well as for those among us in the most vulnerable categories. These decisions are also consistent with directives now being promulgated by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Yet this does not mean we have to be disconnected!  In addition to Sunday Worship being made available on Video, Sunday Confirmation will be held electronically.  We also encourage Sunday School classes, life groups and all small groups etc., to meet electronically as well.  When I say electronically, I mean using platforms like Skype, Facetime, Facebook, or Zoom. 

We will be training up our life group leaders on technology that allows everyone to be fully present through live video.  Regarding children and family and youth ministry, our leadership will be reaching out to maintain critical connection during this time. 

Two more ways of staying connected

  • Each day as we have done over the last 9 years, I will send out our Bible in One Year reading on text, email and Facebook (if you are not getting this and desire to receive it, please email Trish McGuinn at trish@stmichaelschurch.net). We will also be sending a daily Gospel Project devotional as well.
  • This is also our time to love our neighbor as ourselves, so if you know of someone in need of pastoral care, or if you have a neighbor in need, please contact your life group leader or the Rev. Richard Grimball at richard@stmichaelschurch.net. The entire clergy team is also available for prayer and consultation.

Finally, during this very surreal time, please continue your tithes and offerings.  Even though we aren’t collectively gathering at the church, the congregational expenses continue.  It is very possible that some may suffer a loss of income during this challenging time.  Therefore, I ask that those of you who can, please give over and above your normal tithe.  Remember there are three ways to give:

  1. Mail your tithe or offering to the church at 71 Broad Street, 29401
  2. Go on our website (www.stmichaelschurch.net) and give electronically (under Giving)
  3. Text stm to 73256 (REALM)

If you have any financial questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Meredith Buyck at meredith@stmichaelschurch.net.

I and the other rectors of the diocese will conference with Bishop Lawrence on March 30 to discern what direction the Holy Spirit is leading us.  During these next two weeks, let us continue to pray for one another, to love one another, and to assure one another that God is our sovereign protector under whose care we have nothing to fear.  Fear not!  Jesus is Lord, even over the Coronavirus.

 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Dear St. Michaelites and Friends:

“No King is saved by the size of his army…The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him and those whose hope is in His unfailing love. We wait and hope for the Lord, He is our help and our shield. May your unfailing love be with us Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” -Proverbs 33:16

I am always amazed at how the “Bible in One Year” readings assigned for each day simply provide the backbone for our daily lives. Today is no exception as we continue to pray for an end to the pandemic of the Coronavirus.

Last week we began a four-part response to the outbreak. We will continue to do so this week as guided by Bishop Lawrence and the best practices of our Diocese. They include:

1. Increased prayer for the victims of this virus and an end to the pandemic

2. Sanitizing stations all over campus

3. Passing the peace verbally and not physically

4. Receiving Communion in one kind only (through the bread).

5. Additionally, the pews and sanctuary have been sanitized.

Our Sunday worship will proceed as normal; however, we have postponed several ministries, including the Day of Healing Prayer, the Water Mission Walk For Water and the Baby Shower in honor of the Lowcountry Pregnancy Center.

On a personal note, many of you have been asking about our daughter, Wimberly. Wimberly was in Florence, Italy on exchange for the semester through the University of South Carolina. Fortunately, she did not travel to northern Italy and was not at risk for exposure at the time she was there. She flew home on Saturday, February 29 and is now officially past the incubation period. We are so thankful she is healthy and symptom free. Thank you for your prayers!

Speaking of prayers, please pray this with me:

Dear God, thank you for blessing us with this undeserved privilege to see another day. Our brothers and sisters around our nation and world are suffering and dying from the Coronavirus. We pray for a cure to end the Virus that has no side effects. Jesus, we know that you are the master architect and builder, and that when we turn to you in prayer, hearts and homes and lives are transformed. It is in your precious and healing name that we pray, Amen.

Blessings in Christ,
Alfred T.K. Zadig, Jr.+

21st Rector of St. Michael’s Church