Coping with Coronavirus

Wandering in the Wilderness: Coping with the Coronavirus

Updated April 23, 2020

As we settle into the Covid-19 Coronavirus longer-term crisis, St. Mark's has made the transition from an active in-person church to an active online church. We are live-streaming our Sunday morning 10 a.m. services through our YouTube channel and our Facebook page, both of which are accessible from our home page. As the "stay at home" time period continues, Bishop Michael Hanley has extended his request for the suspension of all public worship getherings until further notice. The church building is thus closed to the public until further notice. With current estimates that the case load has peaked on April 9, we likely have at least several more weeks before we can have any gatherings of any size. The earliest such gatherings could occur is the end of May.

As you are likely aware, Governor Kate Brown's Executive order, issued on Monday, March 23, effectively prohibits all non-essential activities and asks businesses to have their employees work from home if at all possible. For that reason, our Parish Office remains CLOSED to the general public, though staff will be working there on occasion to accomplish tasks that cannot reasonably be done at home. We are continuing to evaluate things as they come and have not made any long-term plans for services, though at this point we're expecting the program year to end on Sunday, June 14 with us continuing with only a live-streamed service. As of March 26, our Food Pantry has closed and is directing all requests for food to ACCESS.

We have created this web page to serve as a hub for resources to deal with this health crisis, including resources for prayer, study, and general well being. Please continue to check this page for updates as things develop.

Like any small business, the church continues to incur expenses such as salaries and utility costs, even without people showing up to events and worship services. We encouage those who are financially able to support St. Mark's during this time to continue to do so by using our online donation portal here or by mailing your check to the church, as many of you have done. Because many will be financially impacted by this situation and will be unable to maintain their support, we encourage anyone who can do so to increase their financial support of St. Mark's for at least the next two months to offset that financial hit. Thank you to all who have continued your gifts to St. Mark's during this difficult time.

It is now over a month since we began "going virtual" on March 22. It was initially via Facebook and we are now simulcasting to both Facebook and  YouTube under the following links:

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClTe7vXbFa0kujF2IDyhAyg

FaceBook (our usual page--like us and follow us!): https://www.facebook.com/StMarksMedfordOR

Again, thank you for your continued engagement with, and support of, St. Mark's during this time.

-- The Rector and Vestry of St. Mark's


Resources for Prayer and Worship

We also have some options available to us as Episcopalians that don't involve in-person worship gatherings. If you have a Book of Common Prayer (BCP), you are invited to pray Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer, and/or Compline. If you don't have a BCP handy, you can access an online one by clicking here. You can also download a PDF copy by clicking here.  You can "pray along" with Morning Prayer each day by listening to "A Morning at the Office" (from Forward Movement) by clicking here. An additional resource is the Daily Office from the Mission of St. Clare, which includes music. They also have an iPhone app and an Android app for daily use.

There are also a large number of resources offered to sustain us individually in worship, many of them by Forward Movement. Some that are available are:
Forward Day by Day Online:

https://prayer.forwardmovement.org/forward_day_by_day.php
This is an online version of the classic devotional book we have available in church.
Forward Day by Day Podcast:

https://www.forwardmovement.org/Pages/Item/12306/Podcast.aspx
If you're into podcasts (online audio broadcasts), you can access the Forward Day by Day Podcast and get a daily devotional reading.
Faith at Home eNewsletter:

https://www.dofaithathome.org/
A weekly newsletter with prayers, activities, etc... for home.


An Updated Word from the Rector: Keeping on keeping on...

Dear Family of God at St. Mark's:

An updated word from me about all of this: This is going to continue to feel strange and uncomfortable. It feels the same way for me trying to navigate our church through it as it likely feels to you. We are used to gathering together each week for worship, prayer, and conversation (and coffee!).  We are used to giving each other hugs and handshakes. We can't do that now. We began this as what I encouraged you to think of as an "extended Lenten discipline" and we are continuing it as an experience of the early church during this Eastertide (Easter season).

As I noted at the end of the service on Sunday, March 22, I am taking a self-iimposed fast from the Eucharist until such time as we can again gather together for it in person and invite you to do the same with intentionality. While I could certainly celebrate the Eucharist with my family and/or on camera to all of you, it seems like the least we can do while the rest of the world convulses around us is to abstain from the Eucharist. In the Orthodox traiditon, this used to be done all the time for Lent, so of necessity we are taking up this tradition now. If you still have consecrated wafers, you are invited to receive them while praying the Communion Under Special Circumstances service at an apporpriate time before embarking on this fast.

Finally, we are well into using the Zoom Videoconferencing service for all of our meetings and gatherings. Specifc links can be found by clicking here. To use this service, you need only a telephone. However, for full participation, a computer (or smartphone or tablet), an Internet connection, and a microphone attached to your computer are helpful. A web camera is helpful so we can all see one another, but not essential. All smartphones, most tablets, most laptop computers and some desktop computers have both a microphone and a web camera. Also, when calling in, using earphones hooked up to your computer helps with hearing other people on the call without generating feedback. If you need help with this technology, click here for a brief tutorial, or I can help if you contact me. You may also comment below and your message will be relayed. Above all, please feel more than free to pick up the phone and call me at (541) 414-4847 or another member of the church if you feel at all disconnected from our life together. Not everyone has the technological resources or know-how to join our video chats or even to view our services.

Please continue to pray for one another, for St. Mark's, and for me as your priest. I continue to pray for you.

-- The Rev. Tom Sramek, Jr., Rector

Post a Comment