From the Rector's Study The Rev. Dr. Edward E. B. Thompson
March 14, 2020, 4:20pm
My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
We are again needing to adjust our practices in responding to the needs of the community.
Our Bishop has just sent out revised guidance urging all churches in the Diocese of Pennsylvania to convert to “digital worship” for the next three Sundays, beginning tomorrow: so, Sundays, Mar. 15, Mar. 22, and Mar. 29.
Therefore, we will not be holding on-site services tomorrow. Instead, here is the new plan:
For Sunday, March 15 (tomorrow):
ONLINE VIDEO MESSAGE from the Rector
I am going to post a short video message on our Trinity Facebook page, which will be available by 8am Sunday, March 15.
With the help of Cassidy and Kevin Gardner (two of Cathy and Kurt’s adult children), we may be able to send out by email a YouTube link of the same video message.
"DRIVE-THROUGH COMMUNION” from 10 a.m. - 11 a.m., in the Circle Drive
With AnnMarie Stanton (co-chair of Altar Guild) and Rich Englebach (Head Verger), I will conduct an abbreviated Holy Eucharist to consecrate elements for Holy Communion.
Between 10am and 11am, we will be in the Circle Drive. You can just drive up and receive consecrated host (in Dixie Cups), while staying in your car!
LIVE-STREAMING OF CHURCH SERVICES Trinity, Swarthmore does not currently have the capacity to live-stream, but other churches are offering that. (Vestry and I will be holding our monthly meeting by videoconference on Monday evening, and we will discuss options for live-streaming for Trinity.)
In the meantime, consider any of the following. In particular, tomorrow’s service at the National Cathedral, with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preaching, should be well worth taking part in, even virtually.
+ How2charist Anytime Digital online Eucharist (with prompts explaining the service, good for kids, very educational) https://how2charist.com --You need to type in your email address to gain access.
+ For live-streaming of services within DioPA, see the DioPA website link below. The Cathedral and several other churches have links. (Scroll down the page for the list.) Churches live-streaming services within PA
I am proud of how our ministry leaders are already pulling together in these times. We are here for you. Please contact me with any questions or concerns, and again, let’s keep our eyes, ears, and hearts open for those who may have special needs among us.
Yours in Christ’s love, Ted+
March 14, 2020, 12pm
What is the antidote to fear? Love. For as the 1 John says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In light of the public health emergency we are facing, I am writing you with some critical announcements about our programs and also to say how we are going to get through this together, as the community of Trinity Church and part of the body of Christ.
The larger public health situation is rapidly evolving and has required multiple changes to our planning already. Earlier this week, I met with the Care Committee and staff, and on Thursday, the wardens and I spent two hours going over every aspect of church life to determine appropriate responses. Then, the picture changed again. Our Bishop sent new guidance; the Governor closed every school in PA for two weeks and recommended further actions for non-essential activities.
The goal of the guidance and closures is positive: to slow the spread of COVID-19 so that our public health infrastructure can catch up and manage the load. To borrow the phrase used by the infectious disease specialists, we want to “flatten the curve” of the statistics. But to do so requires that we all do our part.
This is where we as a church can contribute. In light of all the guidance and in consultation with our wardens, I have decided that, at least for now and with modifications, we can still continue to worship in our space. However, for the next 30 days, other group activities will not take place on church premises. To clarify that, here are some specifics:
Eucharistic worship will continue for now:
This Sunday (tomorrow) at 8, 9:15 and 11am
Wednesday at 9:30am
Stay tuned for further modifications which may be necessary after this Sunday. How to handle Holy Week is a question we willhave to answer as the public health situation develops.
Sunday Education Hour (10am) is canceled for children, youth, and adults through April 14.
All classes and the Adult Forum
April 5 Youth Feeding Ministry
Natalee Hill is exploring ways to continue educational programming online, at approximately the same time. Also, I encourage us to consider other ways we might still help provide food to hungry families.
Lenten programming and other small-group activities will not take place as usual through April 14. This includes
Sanctuary Yoga (Monday mornings)
Wednesday Supper and Study
Men’s and Women’s Breakfast
Thursday choir rehearsals
Regular church meetings, such as vestry, will be held via video-conferencing. Choir will gather on Sundays only. I encourage each groupleader to be in touch with members and explore creative ways to keep connected and continue your ministry, as possible.
I want you to know how deeply I value all of these activities requiring modifications. It pains me to have to curtail any of them in these ways. We are church partly as we live together and love one another in these ways. To give up things like these — even to alter our rhythms — for the sake of the greater good is an act of sacrificial love. We are doing this so that people may live.
And we will get through this together. Our Eucharistic Visitors are already in touch with those receive visits. I will be following up with each of them. I will be asking vestry to work with me to advance our connectivity in virtual space (e.g., online streaming or recording). And I ask that each of us pay attention to those we are not seeing. Send me their names so we can coordinate contact, or if you’re a friend, call them yourselves.
This all may seem drastic, but I think that’s a sign of how much our common life means to us and how connected we are. Because of that, we will get through this together. We may even find ourselves, on the other end of it, strengthened as a spiritual community.
Links and messages from the Bishop and Delaware County are below. I am here for you. The Church is here for you, though in somewhat different rhythms from the usual. Look for more messages from ministry leaders regarding the specific ministries you are part of. Let’s continue to care for one another in the days ahead.
In God’s peace and Christ’s love,
For pastoral emergencies and time-sensitive communications, please call or email me.
The Rev. Edward E. B. Thompson, Ph.D. Rector, Trinity Church (Episcopal) Swarthmore, PA www.trinity-swarthmore.org office: 610-544-2297
March 6, 2020 Dear members of the Trinity Church, Swarthmore community,
I am writing to forward to you our bishop’s message (click here) regarding the outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), including his instructions and requests, and to comment on these for our community.
Out of love and care for one another, it is time to modify some of our communal behaviors. These include the following: 1) Passing the peace — Share a sign of Christ’s peace without touching. Praying hands and a bow, a peace sign, even a smile are good ways to continue this important ritual. 2) Common cup — Do not take the consecrated wine by dipping (“intincting”) the host wafer. Please see the Bishop’s further comments, below. 3) Collection of offerings — Instead of passing the plate, we will have plates in two locations: 1) At the center aisle in the back of the nave (pew area), and 2) Inside the double doors, under the window where we also place bulletins. Online giving is available through our website (trinity-swarthmore.org). As always, donations may also be mailed to the office (Trinity Church/301 N. Chester Rd., Swarthmore, PA 19081) or dropped off in person. I will be in touch directly with our faithful Eucharistic Visitors in light of the Bishop’s communication regarding home visits.
On a few other notes: If you are sick, do stay home. If you are not sick, please come to services! We need to be in one another’s presence especially when the pressures of the times tend to isolate us. Further, we are obligated by baptism to take part, when possible, in our communal expressions of faith and to pray for others. There may come a time when we need to reconsider even about this; but we are not there yet. Let’s not cheat ourselves or others out of what we need and deserve from one another.
Remember also to add to your private devotions during the week special concern for those who are sick or afraid at this time, and to pray for Trinity Church as we continue in our devotions and ministries. In that, please pray for me, as I will continue to do for you.
If you have questions about any of this, please contact me directly at this email address or speak to me in person.