In-Person Worship is Suspended
November 18, 2020
Please read this important message in full.
I am writing to inform you of my decision to suspend in-person worship at St. Michael‘s due to the sharp and dangerous rise in COVID-19 numbers which is being experienced across the United States, throughout Arizona, and here in Pima County. This decision has been made in consultation with the Vestry and our Clergy team, and with their full support. This decision has immediate effect and includes all of our Sunday worship groups including Family Mass and the Bilingual Mass.
This will be very disappointing news to many of you, given the joyful spirit with which we have returned to worship over the past seven Sundays. However, we returned to in-person worship when all the data were trending downward. This is simply no longer the case: epidemiologists describe the COVID situation in 47 states as “uncontrolled spread.” Positive test results in Arizona have risen by 77% in the past two weeks, and the rate of positive tests is increasing. In many ways, life looks and feels safe in public with precautions, but the data show us what we cannot see with our eyes and ears: Gathering in groups is becoming dangerous – and will become more dangerous in coming weeks.
Our Parish School has made the decision to return to online-only instruction after next week’s Thanksgiving Week Break. Head of School Brendan Sullivan made this decision in consultation with his COVID response team which includes local expert virologists. Hospitals and nursing homes are returning to lockdowns after a brief time allowing visitors.
We are not alone in taking action to keep people safe, which must be our first priority in a continuing pandemic situation. We take these steps because we want to be a part of the solution: working together, we can change the direction of this new wave, and move toward reestablishing safety and health for our church and for the community.
Return to Online Worship and Fellowship
This Sunday we will return to online worship and fellowship offerings. Our online worship will for the first time be a celebration of the Mass, viewable on YouTube. This week’s Mass will be very simple, but in coming weeks we will add music and other elements to enrich the service. Spiritual Communion will be a part of every online Mass. We will also return to our popular Zoom Coffee Hour. Please stay tuned for the weekly announcement this weekend for details on Mass and Zoom Coffee Hour.
Family Mass will return to Mother Clare’s popular Zoom and Facebook Live formats.
Pastor Keith Hardy and I will be collaborating on an online offering for the Bilingual Mass community as well, to be determined.
Communion Available On Your Doorstep
I will be redoubling our efforts to provide Communion to all who desire to receive it, with home visits on your doorstep from me, Deacon Cathleen Carlisle, and Father Timothy Kroh. Please don’t be shy about contacting the Parish Office to request a Communion visit.
Formation Offerings Online
We are also working on new offerings of Adult Christian Formation. Deacon Cathleen is arranging a presentation on Depression at the Holidays, and Fr. Timothy Kroh is developing a special program for Advent. Both of these offerings will be available via Zoom, and we will announce them when we have more information.
The Parish Office remains open on a reduced basis from 9:00 to 10:00 AM each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with availability at other times by appointment.
How long will this suspension last?
As before, the decision to return will be based on the data: when there is a two-week sustained decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases, we will prepare to resume in-person worship. This could be weeks or more likely months. In the meantime it is our intention at St. Michael‘s to offer a stable, consistent offering of worship each week online, and to do what we can do sustainably to continue and encourage the life of our community.
St. Paul wrote to the Christians at Rome, “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:10) All the COVID precautions we have taken have this aim: to cause no harm to our neighbors. This is the way of love. Many of us are growing weary of the restrictions, the separation, the six-feet distance, the handwashing, and especially the masks. But this is the time to double down. This is the time to press onward.
Wear Your Mask – Wash Your Hands
Keep Your Distance – Stay At Home
– Say Your Prayers –
Above all, this is a time to pray.
O MOST mighty and merciful God, in this time of grievous sickness, we flee unto thee for succour. Deliver us, we beseech thee, from our peril; give strength and skill to all those who minister to the sick; prosper the means made use of for their cure; and grant that, perceiving how frail and uncertain our life is, we may apply our hearts unto that heavenly wisdom which leadeth to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. – (1928 Book of Common Prayer, p. 45)
Thank you for your prayers, your patience, and your understanding. We’ll see you online.
David Benedict Hedges, BSG
Online Sunday Offerings
Click here for Sunday’s Lectionary readings.
8:00 AM Mass on YouTubeYou may view this Mass at any time, starting at 8:00 AM. Pray along with your Book of Common Prayer at home. If you don’t have a BCP, you can purchase one from Church Publishing. If you cannot afford a BCP, please email Br. Dave. 9:00 AM Family Prayer Service on Facebook Live
or Family Prayer Service on Zoom
(subscribe to our emails for Zoom info)
10:00 AM Morning Prayer on YouTube
10:00 AM Coffee Hour on Zoom
(subscribe to our emails for Zoom info)
Join us for conversation and fellowship – you supply the coffee & goodies.
Please be sure to make an act of Spiritual Communion on Sunday. This is a prayerful way of uniting yourself to the offering of the Mass wherever it is offered if you cannot safely attend the Mass in person.
Click here if you would like a priest or deacon to bring you Communion. Communion is available at home for those who do not yet feel safe to return to worship in the church. Communion visits are made on Thursdays. If this Thursday is not a good time for you, let us know and we can make a different arrangement.
Click here to submit a prayer request. Prayers will be offered privately, as well as on Calling All Angels, and at the Sunday Mass.
Saint Michael’s depends on the support of all those who worship with us. If you would ordinarily make an offering of money at an in-person service of worship, would you please make an offering online by clicking the green “Give Online” button below? It’s secure and easy. Thank you for your support of our church and our ministry!
Either online or in person, we hope you will join us for worship and experience the love of Jesus Christ!
David Benedict Hedges, BSG
The Rev. Canon David Benedict Hedges, BSG, Rector
Hours by appointment – please call or email.
Hollis Johnson, Parish Secretary
Food Distribution Hours:
Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
St. Michael’s School
Brendan Sullivan, Head of School
Telephone: (520) 722-8478
More info on our Contact Us page.