That it may please thee to support, help, and comfort all who are in danger, necessity, and tribulation, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord." --The Book of Common Prayer, page 151.
Dear Members and Friends of St Mark's:
I hope you are staying well and are managing to make the best of adjusting to how we are asked to be living during these difficult times.
I promised to update you with thoughts and instructions coming from Bishop Provenzano as they come, and I hope my emails have been reaching you to do that. He encouraged us to pray, be creative about getting spiritually nourished, reach out to the isolated and needy of contact. Sadly he also said services are suspended now till May 17, to keep churches closed, even for individual prayer visits, no meetings at all, work from home.
Again sadly, yesterday's directives from Governor Cuomo made stronger stipulations. No physical interactions, stay home for all but essential reasons to go out.
But there must be some blessed moments and happenings to celebrate! Some silver linings to keep up morale! What are yours? Here are some of mine:
I am so proud of Chris Adams and Kate Gabrielsen who with me have kept St Mark's going this week, doing so much that needed to be done. Kate fielded calls and queries sensitively and efficiently. And the food pantry Chris and I set up in January, ready to dispense food to local families we'd heard were in need, was ready and able to meet sudden new needs of many more families as the crisis kicked in.
Dawn and I were working closely as things unfolded, and she reached out to the BB community inviting food to be donated to St Mark's for distribution, and an online donation site was set up by Brian Tyman, raising thousands overnight! Food and supplies arrived in plenty, and we set up the hall as a distribution center, from where boxes were filled and sent out to families identified by the Elementary School as needy recipients.
It was exhausting and wonderful, but Chris, Kate and I were glad in our hearts that with Dawn and her tremendous efforts, we have pulled this off. Another silver lining was Barbara Pettus arriving last Saturday to cheer us on, and bring treats to enjoy over a reviving cup of tea! Thank you also to Jock McLean who last week helped us deliver generous donations of furniture and home goods to a needy family in the Riverhead Episcopal Mission community, and to Steve Turner, who visited us yesterday to offer help where it was greatly needed.
Turning to prayerfulness, I will say the office tomorrow online at the church on the St Mark's facebook page for anyone who would like to join in Morning Prayer. There are numerous other online services and clergy messages being posted from cathedrals and churches near and far, to be accessed any time, following what Bishop Provenzano calls offering creative spirituality, so do tune in if that appeals to you.
Assuring you of continuing prayers, and support by phone and email if you would like to share thoughts or ask for anything I might be able to provide.
Stay well, take care of yourselves and others who might need a helping hand, find pleasurable ways to enjoy being restricted, and trust that Almighty God has His loving arms around each of us and is holding us in His boundless care.
Blessings and Love
But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength 2 Timothy 4:17