March 12, 2020
Dear St. Paul’s parish community,
As COVID-19 health precautions continue to evolve in our region, one essential practice to help flatten the curve of the virus’s spread is “social distancing” – suspending non-essential gatherings until we are past the height of transmission, which is still ahead of us. To do that at St. Paul’s, here are some updated guidelines, based on discussions among parish leadership, recommendations by health professionals, and practices of other gathered Christian communities.
Beginning today and for the time being, we will suspend all onsite gatherings and close our indoor spaces, reassessing this weekly as the situation continues to evolve. This includes all worship services, gatherings like the Lenten Soup Supper series, and other events, such as concerts. We will work with groups within our community to assess their options and facilitate online or other gatherings where onsite meetings are not possible. Passersby and visitors to our campus will be directed to our Labyrinth and to our online offerings.
During this time, worship will continue! In the coming days, the staff and I will dream up and create the first-ever livestreamed liturgies at St. Paul’s. Even in these unexpected times, we can work to make our worship at St. Paul’s a place of learning, growth, and community. Please plan to join us on this unusual new journey.
For updates on all of these developments, be sure to read the Saturday Weekend Reminders and the Tuesday eNews, which will provide links to our online worship options and weekly updates as to the status of our response. Our website calendar will also be kept up-to-date.
I will be taking an extra precaution given the immediate circumstances: with great anticipation and joy I am meeting Javier, my husband, at the airport this afternoon after his latest teaching cycle in Europe. Because Javier was briefly teaching in Italy as the country went into travel lockdown, and after consultation with health professionals in our parish and the Norwalk health system, both of us are electing to go into quarantine for the next two weeks. Both of us have followed all health protocols, have had no known exposures, and have no symptoms, but it seems prudent to take this measure to be generously cautious in this moment of uncertainty. The staff and I will be in full communication during my time offsite.
It is likely that the closures of large public gatherings will expand as transmission rates do. We will continue to update you as our response evolves. For all of us, this is a time for open-heartedness, even while we take generous precautions and adequate protection. Please consider what safety and sensibility mean for you and your loved ones, and feel the full support of the St. Paul’s community as you take those steps. We walk together even while apart, and we can hold one another close in spirit and prayer through this uncertain period. Thanks for all the ways in which you are helping to knit community together in love!