A Pastoral Update from the Rector
Dear Holy Cross Family and Friends,
Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
It goes without saying that we’re in a strange time in our common life. And although what’s going on is unique to our experience, I was reminded last week that as unique as our situation is, the scripture holds true, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) As it turns out during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918, churches and public venues were similarly closed, even in the Upstate NY area. Unlike our forebearers, though, we have several important advantages. First, we have a better understanding of disease and how it spreads. And secondly, we have means technological means to overcome the distance and isolation which slowing the community spread of infection requires.
I am reminded of a favorite word of our dear friend the late Jane LeCount. In her last years, every time I would visit with her, she would always remind me of the word “connections.” She’d remind us that we’re all connected in some way. In this time of our “quarantine,” it’s important for us to stay connected. From the telephone to Facebook, from email to Skype, we’ve got plenty of ways to keep those connections open. I want to encourage you to keep making those all-important connections with your friends, your family, and yes, your Holy Cross family! Keep the community of Holy Cross alive and well!
Community lies at the heart of the of our Christian faith and our life as the Church. And while this pandemic has taken away from us the ways in which we are normally formed as a community, I’ve been encouraged by those who have joined us in following our services online. There are even some folks who have created online accounts for the sole purpose of participating in the streaming services. Your presence, your comments, your likes and shares are an encouragement to me personally and I thank you for them. Please keep joining us for these online services, and do share the live stream and other posts from our Facebook page to your own page when you see them (by clicking share on the post), and invite your friends and family to like our church’s page. This will help others see what’s going on here. These little acts of evangelism are great ways to encourage others to join our community – even if it’s only online for right now. You never know what fruits God will bless us with down the road.
For those who don’t use Facebook, I am working on finding a way to stream the services to YouTube. You don’t need an account to watch videos on YouTube. Presently, I am doing my best to make sure the services we stream on Facebook are uploaded as a video on YouTube so you can watch later. Generally, it takes a few hours after the live service to get these up on the site. Also, if you haven’t already, head over to the Facebook and YouTube pages, like and subscribe to them and turn on the notifications so you know when we’re live or have uploaded a video.
While we can’t be together physically during this season, our spiritual communion will continue, as does the sacramental ministry of the Church. We continue to offer the Mass on a regular basis during which we pray for your needs and the needs of the parish. Mass will be streamed at 10 a.m. on Sunday and at noon on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Please don’t hesitate to call or email or text me your concern and intentions which we can pray for during this time. Also, during this time, the sacraments and pastoral care for the sick are still available. Please don’t hesitate to contact me about these needs if you know of them.
While we were hopeful that we might get back to normal in time for Holy Week and Easter, it’s clear now this won’t be the case. Our Bishop has extended the cancellation of public services until after Easter and this will probably be extended for a long period. While we can’t change the date of Easter, we will no doubt plan a big “back to church” Sunday when it happens and encourage people to attend in great numbers!
For now, our Holy Week Schedule of Streaming services will be as follows:
Palm Sunday – 10 a.m.
Tuesday & Wednesday – 12 p.m.
Maundy Thursday – 7:00 p.m.
Good Friday Liturgy – 12 p.m.
Holy Saturday Liturgy (Not the Easter Vigil) – 10 a.m.
Easter Day – 10 a.m.
Lastly, on behalf of the Vestry and Finance Committee, I want to ask you to be mindful of your financial contributions to Holy Cross. Even though our in person Sunday liturgies are on hold, our financial obligations are not. While Holy Cross does have a small endowment from which we could draw to cover some of our expenses, even this has taken a significant loss due to the drop in the stock market recently. The finance committee is working as I write to find ways to help make giving easier for everyone through online/electronic means. In the meantime, mailing your envelopes to the church is the best method. Your continued contributions during this time will ensure that we’re meeting our financial obligations as the come up now and not having to play catch up in the future. Thank you in advance for your support. I know for some people this crisis has also meant a loss of income and we are appreciative of any support you can give.