Grace and peace to you from God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
I met with the Wardens of the Church of the Good Shepherd last night to discuss the way forward for our Parishes. They are at the forefront of the responses to COVID 19 in the world and therefore are the best suited to guide us in the way that we respond as a church.
The following was resolved, and I will explain it in as much detail as I can here.
WE ARE NOT GOING BACK, our journey with God is into the newness of life that He is calling us to.
We will continue to prepare our venues to host physical meetings but will focus on the ST FRANCIS ONLINE CHAPEL and review the situation at the end of September.
This is based on:
1. Entering level two was not based on a reduction in the presence of the virus nor a reduction in the risk of infection. In fact, the risk of infection has exponentially increased as the activity and movement of people has increased.
2. Our activities at church would not include any singing or physical contact or fellowship and therefore would not meet the needs of people to fellowship and worship together.
3. Many of our parishioners are aged or have co-morbidities and are at high risk.
4. Very few people have responded saying that they wish to return to physical gathering;
5. The changing of the season increases susceptibility to all forms of common ailments (flu, colds, sinus etc.) thus increasing risk of contracting the virus.
6. We have effective and authentic opportunities to worship now, and though they still require us to adapt to them, we are a worshipping, praying, learning church and can (if we are willing) adapt to a new way.
7. The challenges of life are great, and our needs are great, and we can find innovative and effective ways of meeting these challenges without the risk and complications of physical gatherings.
Therefore, we need input from you. How do you want to go forward, what are your needs, what would you like to see being done differently? We need more people to be proactive, to build this community.
But you are God’s chosen and special people. You are a group of royal priests and a holy nation. God has brought you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Now you must tell all the wonderful things He has done. (1 Peter 2:9 CEV)
You know how I have taught over the years that we are all missionaries and that our duty as Christians is to live out our lives in our context, as our act of worship. In completely unique ways we now need to take seriously our role as ambassadors of reconciliation and engage with the world as it is and as we face the emerging realities. We need to see ourselves as ministers of the word, as leaders in our circle of influence. One nice thing about Facebook is that I get to see some of your conversations.
Defending the faith, challenging the world and its sinful thinking, keep up the witness.
Again, I encourage you to share the St Francis Toti Posts on your personal pages and the WhatsApp’s on your other groups. Let’s grow the online community together.
The role of the organized Church is to equip the saints for acts of righteousness. The role of the church is now to accept its “Church Scattered” status and live the life of the “Way of the Cross” in the world. We need to take responsibility for our own spirituality and draw on the resources made available to us to grow in wisdom and knowledge in our relationship with Christ. We have everything necessary for our salvation and need to do what is ours to do for this season and not simply hanker for the past.
I encourage you to use the various platforms that we have to receive teaching, inspiration, exhortation, and encouragement so that you can be the person who God has called you to be.
Be assured of my prayers for you all.