27 March 2020
Dear St. Luke’s,
Grace and peace to you in this unique time. As with all aspects of communal life right now, St. Luke’s is reimagining what it means to be in community with one another. Your Council has been working alongside the staff to discern what our immediate future will be. We write with a few important updates:
Worship and all congregational activities are moved online until further notice. This will include Holy Week and Easter. This was a sad decision, as the Holy Week services and Easter are such a joyful and sacred time for our community. But, we believe it was the responsible one. The staff will continue to work with creativity and intention to provide space and resources for those services.
The discretionary funds available to Pastor Erin have been increased. The economic repercussions of the shelter-in-place order are wide-ranging. We are committed to supporting those who this impacts the most, and this increase allows Pastor Erin to meet anticipated increased needs from our congregation with flexibility and efficiency. If there are funds remaining at the end of the year, they will be given to community organizations that are immediately addressing those facing economic hardship.
Now more than ever, we are grateful for your faithful giving. If it is in your ability, maybe you would consider an extra one-time gift to increase our response ministry during this time. Your gifts allow us to not only respond to this pandemic as indicated above, it also allows us to continue some financial support for our custodial and composting services and their employees.
Further, your gifts provide peace of mind for our hard-working staff. We have committed to retaining all our staff at full capacity.
Last, our physical isolation has seen the birth of many acts of kindness and inspiration among and beyond us. St. Luke’s is looking for new ways to spread cheer and connection throughout our community and beyond! Contact Em Jacoby if you are interested in being part of a brainstorming session for the new cheerfulness ministry.
St. Luke’s Council
Erika Dornfeld, Chair
Charlotte Flynn, Secretary
Justin Perkins, Vice-Chair
Erin Coleman Branchaud, Pastor
A note from Pastor Erin about Holy Week:
It is so sad to think about not being together with you for the great Three Days of Jesus’s passion, death, and resurrection. These stories are central to our Christian faith. These nights are some of the most special of the whole year. We will miss the sounds, sights, and feelings we had hoped to experience together. We will miss each other.
You’ll be hearing more from the staff shortly about what it will look like for us to keep Holy Week differently this year. In the meantime, I invite you to notice any feelings you may have: disappointment, sadness, fear, grief. You are not alone in those feelings. In fact, those feelings are part of the journey of Jesus that we remember every year in Holy Week. Jesus’s journey to the cross means that we are never alone in the pain and suffering of our lives–God is with us. And God is always bringing new life out of death.
The stories of our faith are not less real because we are not able to meet together. Perhaps this year we will hear them in a new way. The promise of the resurrection is not less true, even if the joy feels muted. Perhaps this year we will experience resurrection differently.
What the great Three Days remind us, year after year, is that God is faithful. God keeps God’s promise of love to the end: heading into the city, washing the disciples’ feet, sharing the meal of freedom, journeying to the cross, dying in solidarity with all creation, rising to liberate us all.
I cannot wait to keep the Three Days with you again this year. It will be different, but in these stories God is still transforming our lives and changing the world.