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.”
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 email@example.com). 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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:
- Mail your tithe or offering to the church at 71 Broad Street, 29401
- Go on our website (www.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 email@example.com.
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