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ECA Parish Activities and Worship Update
Grace to you and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I hope this letter finds you well and you are preparing for the upcoming days and possibly weeks, as best you can. Please remember the words of Bishop Wright of the Diocese of Atlanta when he recently addressed the COVOD-19 response and used these words, “Prudent, not Panicked” and his spiritual reflection on our Christian response was the word “Steady.” Click on link HERE
As the nation and each state tries to come to grips with the implications of COVID-19, changes will take place and we will be asked to take unprecedented steps to help reduce the rapidly spreading illness. As God’s children, we are called to be a people of faith and proclaim the Good news in the midst of the constant bad news being streamed to us daily. I encourage and invite all members to please refrain from sharing information from a family friend, former friend, or a friend who works up high in the government who has news that will be coming out. Most information is either misleading and, in some cases, downright false. I will keep the parish updated with accurate and up to date information as I get it through my positions of responsibility with the church and national guard.
The bishop has stated as of this morning, he will send out a directive to all churches in the diocese of Atlanta to stop ALL in person activities and worship services. I am deeply saddened by this step we are being asked to take, but I believe whole heartedly this action is with the best interest of those who can be deeply impacted by this illness. I am sure as time goes by, many of us will know of someone who is impacted directly or indirectly due to this illness. Please continue to pray for all facets of this outbreak and for all involved. Many churches are finding new and innovative ways to be the church and this is encouraging. My prayer is that when all of this is done, we will not forget the strong connections and relationships we have as we share in person the common bond of glorifying and praising God in our Worship services and activities we do together.
What does the bishop’s decision mean for ECA? We will continue to be the Church; we will just have to adjust for the time being. ALL in person activities and events are canceled at ECA until further notice, as I know more, I will keep the parish updated. I will live stream Sunday services; I will most likely continue to do both times of 8:30am and 10:30AM to keep us “on schedule” with our worship practices. Since we will not be able to participate in communion, I will start the use of Morning prayer, Rite I. As this period continues during Lent, I may seek for volunteers to help lead devotionals, evening prayer, or compline as a means to stay connected. I will need to see what is desired from the members of the parish since not everyone has access to Facebook or other live stream applications. I am available for phone calls, emails, facetime if you have an Iphone or MAC computer. I will make emergency visits if needed, please keep me informed of any needs you may have. We have MANY parishioners who are ready and willing to meet any needs that any of us may have come up during the upcoming weeks. The Vestry members and former Sr. Wardens have been asked to assist me with reaching out to all members of the parish to make sure you are ok. We will continue to check on everyone periodically until this facet of our “uncommon” life together is over. Please know that I am praying daily for the world, nation, our leaders, all who are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, and above all, for every single one of you by name, I ask that we all do the same for each other. We have more people than ever that will need help in some way, and most likely, some of our own parish members. We will continue to need your support with Inreach and Outreach efforts, and with support for the church, both financially and with help around the church bldgs.
I offer you this prayer; “A Collect for Guidance, BCP 57
“O heavenly Father, in whom we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray thee so to guide and govern us by thy Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget thee, but may remember that we are ever walking in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Amen.
In Christ, Fr. Paul+
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