This morning I met with several clergy colleagues, and we agreed together that, as rectors of larger Memphis parishes, the CDC’s directive against meetings of more than 50 people meant that must cancel Sunday worship services for the near future. Wednesday night programming for children and adults will also cease for the time being.
Since its numbers are small, we will still offer our Wednesday Eucharist at 12:05 p.m. this week. And our clergy and pastoral care team will continue to be active and available to you. Call the church (901.525.6602) or email Paul McLain (email@example.com) or Scott Walters (firstname.lastname@example.org) to arrange for a visit or call.
I write of ceasing Sunday worship with a heavy but hopeful heart. Since our founding in 1832, Calvary continued to worship through times of hardship and uncertainty, even during our Civil War. But, at this time, we are being asked to lay down an important part of our lives, not primarily as an act of self-preservation, but for the sake of others who might suffer should the spread of COVID-19 not be contained.
But we also need our Christian community only more intensely in times like these. Which is why we are asking what new forms of common prayer we might put into practice given the present constraints on our lives. You will hear more in the days to come. But we plan to stream Morning Prayer live online with sermon and music on Sunday at 10 a.m., and we will make resources available for you to pray along with us.
We are also working on other ways to connect and deepen our faith together by way of blog posts, a video Bible Study, podcasts, and a live-streamed service of prayers for the evening mid-week. Soon we will invite you into these and other ways of being the church even now.
I leave you with St. Paul’s great exhortation from Romans, chapter 8, which is as true today as it was 20 centuries ago. Let’s remind one another of this continually in the days to come.
“I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”