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The Church Building is Closed, message from Rick

By March 14, 2020Uncategorized
As you all probably know, the Bishop has directed the cancellation of all public worship in the Diocese, and has closed all buildings to public gatherings. I’m also closing the church office. Please do not come here. I have a dry cough, and we just don’t need to be spreading anything person-to-person. (I’m fine.) However, DO feel free to call me on my cell (301) 697-9139 with a pastoral concern. Or if you have a more general issue you can still call Ann Millan at the main church number which she will be monitoring from home (908) 766-9058.
My focus in these next few days, weeks, …… is to find ways to stay connected to each other and our faith in this time when we can’t physically gather but when we are going to need each other and our faith perhaps more than ever.
To that end, I’m starting several initiatives immediately.
1) Sunday worship will go live on Facebook and YouTube at 10AM. I’m working on ways to keep it from just me being a “talking head” and to keep us all engaged. I’ve added YouTube to our streaming options because I know some of you don’t have Facebook. If you just click on the link here you’ll be taken to our streaming page on YouTube, which right now has a static image of the church, but which will be where the service will “pop on” when we go live.
2) We are going to be doing Morning Prayer LIVE every single day for the foreseeable future. I’m doing this because, let’s face it, we’re all going to have plenty of time on our hands, and because starting our day with prayer is a good thing to do. If you follow us on Facebook, you can add prayer intentions right there in the comment thread, and we can actually pray as a community.
3) I’m going to be adding a thread to both our Facebook and Instagram pages every single day asking for people to add their own prayer intentions. This is a place where we can all share our concerns, worries, fears, and joys with each other.
4) I’m encouraging everyone in the parish to call someone else in our parish family every single day. Again, it’s not like we’re going to be busy! AND, there are people who don’t have access to the internet whose only connection to St Mark’s is going to be your phone call. So, call your friends, but also call someone you don’t know. Tell them you’re a member of St Mark’s too, and that you’re just calling to say hi. Maybe you could even offer them a prayer. If you already have the church directory app, great. If not you can find out how to get it here. And, if you don’t do apps, email/call the office and we will send you copy of the directory.
During the first three centuries of Christianity, public gatherings were illegal, and attending a gathering of worship could get you arrested, tortured, or killed. The church didn’t just survive in those days. It thrived. It spread like wildfire. As much as the Empire tried to snuff it out it just grew, and grew, and grew until the Empire could do nothing else but become Christian itself.
We can do this. We can be there for each other. We can be there for our neighbors. We can be there for the world. We can be there for people who are consumed with fear. We can be there for people who don’t know what to do.
Together, and with God’s help, we can.
Fr Rick