March 19, 2020
Dear St. Paul’s Parish Community,
In the fast-changing and increasingly challenging situation the Covid-19 pandemic places us in, many of us are expressing a wide range of conflicting emotions. This may include a sense of helplessness to do more than follow directives to distance ourselves. I’m writing now to talk about some collective and individual ways we as a community can take on the deep and sustaining practice of PRAYER as we work our way through this pandemic – grounding ourselves more fully in God’s presence in this moment, and entrusting ourselves and those we love to that Presence for all our moments to come.
As you may have seen in the news, we may have our first confirmed case of this virus in the parish. As this region works its way through the pandemic, there will be others in the congregation who test positive for the virus. At this time, we will keep confidential the personal identities of those who are diagnosed, in order to safeguard their privacy at a very sensitive time. Please be assured that our pastoral care team and prayer chain are holding specific needs in prayer, with ongoing daily pastoral support. As we care for them, body and soul, I invite you to pray in a sustained way for all who are and may become affected by the virus. If you have a pastoral need of any kind during this time, please don’t hesitate to contact Mthr. Louise at email@example.com. We will continue to develop more ways to connect with and pray for one another, so please follow parish emails and the website for further updates.
We are learning about the importance of physical hygiene. I cannot emphasize enough the benefit of a daily prayer practice as well. This can be as simple as a few minutes conscious breathing, or a cup of coffee in your favorite chair, or a walk in nature – anything that allows body, mind, and heart together to be settled and engaged. The simpler and more regular the routine is the better; daily is a minimum most find helpful to make it habit. Long-time students of the spiritual life insist that mostly we see prayer’s benefits “OFF the cushion” – meaning that this kind of embodied prayer may seem useless or fruitless in the moment, but we discover ourselves behaving in more grounded and aware ways at other moments of the day.
A further way to stay connected in prayer are the liturgies that are live-streaming at the St. Paul’s Facebook page (Facebook.com/stpaulsnorwalk). Morning Prayer and Compline stream live daily at 8:30am and 9:00pm. The Celtic Liturgy will livestream today, Thursday, at 6:30pm, our Sunday Holy Eucharist will stream Sunday at 11:00am, and our Wednesday mid-day Eucharist at 11:30am. All services can be viewed anytime after their live broadcast, and a Facebook account is not required for viewing.
In time, there will be much more that we can DO as a community, and if we are faithful to tend our inner life in this moment, and to hold others in need consciously at the center of our hearts, we will act from a place that is more deeply connected to one another and to the heart of God, which is as wide as the world.
God bless us all with that open-heartedness in this moment.