Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Letter From Your Future Written by Francesca Melandri




Letter From Your Future
Written by Francesca Melandri
I am writing to you from Italy, which means I am writing from your future. We are now where you will be in a few days. The epidemic’s charts show us all entwined in a parallel dance.
We are but a few steps ahead of you in the path of time, just like Wuhan was a few weeks ahead of us. We watch you as you behave just as we did. You hold the same arguments we did until a short time ago, between those who still say “it’s only a flu, why all the fuss?” and those who have already understood.
As we watch you from here, from your future, we know that many of you, as you were told to lock yourselves up into your homes, quoted Orwell, some even Hobbes. But soon you’ll be too busy for that.
First of all, you’ll eat. Not just because it will be one of the few last things that you can still do.
You’ll find dozens of social networking groups with tutorials on how to spend your free time in fruitful ways. You will join them all, then ignore them completely after a few days.
You’ll pull apocalyptic literature out of your bookshelves, but will soon find you don’t really feel like reading any of it.
You’ll eat again. You will not sleep well. You will ask yourselves what is happening to democracy.
You’ll have an unstoppable online social life – on Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom…
You will miss your adult children like you never have before; the realisation that you have no idea when you will ever see them again will hit you like a punch in the chest.
Old resentments and falling-outs will seem irrelevant. You will call people you had sworn never to talk to ever again, so as to ask them: “How are you doing?” Many women will be beaten in their homes.
You will wonder what is happening to all those who can’t stay home because they don’t have one. You will feel vulnerable when going out shopping in the deserted streets, especially if you are a woman. You will ask yourselves if this is how societies collapse. Does it really happen so fast? You’ll block out these thoughts and when you get back home you’ll eat again.
You will put on weight. You’ll look for online fitness training.
You’ll laugh. You’ll laugh a lot. You’ll flaunt a gallows humour you never had before. Even people who’ve always taken everything dead seriously will contemplate the absurdity of life, of the universe and of it all.
You will make appointments in the supermarket queues with your friends and lovers, so as to briefly see them in person, all the while abiding by the social distancing rules.
You will count all the things you do not need.
The true nature of the people around you will be revealed with total clarity. You will have confirmations and surprises.
Literati who had been omnipresent in the news will disappear, their opinions suddenly irrelevant; some will take refuge in rationalisations which will be so totally lacking in empathy that people will stop listening to them. People whom you had overlooked, instead, will turn out to be reassuring, generous, reliable, pragmatic and clairvoyant.
Those who invite you to see all this mess as an opportunity for planetary renewal will help you to put things in a larger perspective. You will also find them terribly annoying: nice, the planet is breathing better because of the halved CO2 emissions, but how will you pay your bills next month?
You will not understand if witnessing the birth of a new world is more a grandiose or a miserable affair.
You will play music from your windows and lawns. When you saw us singing opera from our balconies, you thought “ah, those Italians”. But we know you will sing uplifting songs to each other too. And when you blast I Will Survive from your windows, we’ll watch you and nod just like the people of Wuhan, who sung from their windows in February, nodded while watching us.
Many of you will fall asleep vowing that the very first thing you’ll do as soon as lockdown is over is file for divorce.
Many children will be conceived.
Your children will be schooled online. They’ll be horrible nuisances; they’ll give you joy.
Elderly people will disobey you like rowdy teenagers: you’ll have to fight with them in order to forbid them from going out, to get infected and die.
You will try not to think about the lonely deaths inside the ICU.
You’ll want to cover with rose petals all medical workers’ steps.
You will be told that society is united in a communal effort, that you are all in the same boat. It will be true. This experience will change for good how you perceive yourself as an individual part of a larger whole.
Class, however, will make all the difference. Being locked up in a house with a pretty garden or in an overcrowded housing project will not be the same. Nor is being able to keep on working from home or seeing your job disappear. That boat in which you’ll be sailing in order to defeat the epidemic will not look the same to everyone nor is it actually the same for everyone: it never was.
At some point, you will realise it’s tough. You will be afraid. You will share your fear with your dear ones, or you will keep it to yourselves so as not to burden them with it too.
You will eat again.
We’re in Italy, and this is what we know about your future. But it’s just small-scale fortune-telling. We are very low-key seers.
If we turn our gaze to the more distant future, the future which is unknown both to you and to us too, we can only tell you this: when all of this is over, the world won’t be the same.
©️ Francesca Melandri 2020

Ryan Holiday's "Daily Dad" reflections

Every day Ryan Holiday writes a reflection called "Daily Dad," and these are wonderful reflections and admonitions to those of us who are dads, but also those of us who are in the midst of caring for our family, our friends, our communities, and our selves. 

I love reading his work every morning.

Here is today's reflection:



image

People are freaked out. Events are cancelled. Schools have been let out. You’re working from home, or, at least, not going out like you used to. Money is being lost. The elderly and vulnerable are at risk. We are seeing, laid bare, what incompetent leadership looks like...and how fragile our institutions are. 

Is there any good that can come of this? On a large scale, no. But there is one silver lining to look at here: You’re spending more time with your kids, as a family. You’re being reminded, vividly, of what’s truly important in this life. You’re able to see just how much you took stability and the modern global world for granted, and how when that falls away, what’s left is the core unit of family. What’s left in stark relief are the people and relationships you care about most. 

So as you sit here, going a little stir crazy, push those fears and anxieties out of your mind and focus on what matters. Drink in this time with your family. Go play a game with your kids. Watch their favorite movie on the couch tonight. Work on a project in the garage together. FaceTime with your brother or sister or son who lives across the country. 

Heed this reminder, seize this moment. The present is all we have. Nobody knows where this is going to go—-except that, like all things, it will eventually pass. But right now? Right now, the silver lining, the gift of it, is that it’s an opportunity for you to cherish your loved ones. It’s a chance for you to be a good father. It’s a chance for you to be together. 

Take it. It was bought at a high cost and it would be a tragedy on top of a tragedy to waste it.


Humility


Monday, March 30, 2020

St. Francis Preaches to the Birds


The Lord's Prayer with our Rector


Thich Nhat Hanh ~ wonderful Zen master!



Click HERE or on the image to see some 
Thich Nhat Hanh's videos

Becoming Minimalist: How Will The Coronavirus Impact Minimalism?

Becoming Minimalist Logo

How Will The Coronavirus Impact Minimalism?

I started pursuing and writing about minimalism 12 years ago, in 2008, right in the middle of the global recession.
Back then, as you might expect, many were discovering minimalism out of necessity.
I can remember some of the email messages I received back then. One of them stands out as particularly significant. A lady wrote to me:
I was searching for ways to live on less because my husband just lost his job and I found your website. I want to thank you for what you are doing. I am beginning to see that living with less doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
For the next 12 years, the economy grew. Until today, where every indication is that we are going to experience a fall in GDP for two successive quarters—the definition of recession. This recession will be global in nature.

I sat down this weekend to reflect on that fact. And how the coronavirus recession will impact minimalism going forward—not from a health standpoint, but a financial one.
First, let’s be clear, I want as many people as possible to live a minimalist lifestyle. The benefits are incredible: more time, more money, more energy, more focus, more opportunity to pursue those things in life that bring real happiness—however we choose to define it.

Minimalism is a lifestyle that should be adopted by everybody.

But I don’t want anybody to be forced into it.
It is never an ideal circumstance for someone to lose their job or be forced into a situation of having to live on less through a recession or no fault of their own. I don’t want anybody, anywhere to be forced into minimalism.

I want people to choose it on their own.
For two reasons:
1. When people are forced into minimalism, it is less likely to have a long-lasting effect. It might, but that is a rare case. Instead, when someone is forced into minimalism, they begin to see it as a sacrifice, a trial, or a setback. And as soon as life can financially return to the way it was before, people will return to their previous lifestyle.

2. Being forced into minimalism causes many people to adopt a disaster-focused mentality. Think of the generation that emerged from the Great Depression and their learned behavior to keep everything just in case they would need it someday.

And it doesn’t require a 10-year Depression for this scarcity-mindset thinking to emerge. Sometimes just a natural disaster—a hurricane, fire, or earthquake—can cause people to respond with a desire to hoard items for the uncertainty of the future.

People being forced into minimalism is never an ideal circumstance. We prefer people to choose living with less on their own.

Of course, there are positive aspects that will emerge from this worldwide crisis that could spark voluntary simplicity:

1. There are a lot of people who are being forced to spend more time at home than before. When we are forced to spend time at home, we are also forced to confront our stuff and our possessions. We begin to see how much we’ve accumulated over the years—and how much is unnecessary.

Being at home means we can take the time to figure out how our home functions and what we want it to look like going forward. As Michelle Obama recently said about the quarantine, “It’s a good exercise in reminding us that we just don’t need a lot of the stuff that we have.” This could be a response that many will have going forward.

2. The nature of work is going to change. Working from home is going to become commonplace in businesses all around the world—not just in the short-term, but in the long-term as businesses recognize the overhead that can be saved and more and more employees demand it. The change in how we work holds great potential in motivating people to declutter their spaces and environments at home.

3. Many people are going to reassess their finances and budgets. They will ask questions like: “Why weren’t we able to get ahead when finances were good? Where was all our money going? How much were we spending? And how much can we cut back both now and in the future?”
People may arrive at these questions because they are forced into them or simply from a desire to be more financially stable and prepared for the next crisis. Either way, many are going to stand face-to-face with their spending and start asking deep questions about whether their pursuit of physical possessions was really the best use of their limited resources.

4. Whenever we face legitimate concerns about life and death, we begin to ask deeper questions: “What is important in life? Where should I be focusing my time and my energy? Am I giving my family and friends as much focus as I should? Am I living my greatest life of significance and meaning?”

As we ask these questions about values and purpose, we run into minimalist principles. Minimalism is, after all, about removing distractions so we can focus on those things that matter most. Life’s deepest questions often lead us there.

5. People will become intentional about re-entry into what they used to define as “normal.” Our lives, just a few weeks back, were busy, stressed, hurried, and rushed. As life begins to take on a new normal, many of us are going to become intentional and reassess what we desire to bring back into our lives. What commitments do we want back? What hobbies do we want to continue? And what purchases do I want to continue making going forward?

Final Thoughts
Remember this: You can’t control the people around you. You cannot control how the entire world is going to respond to this pandemic and subsequent recession.

We can invite people to minimalism. We can make the case for it. We can argue for why it’s a better way of life than accumulating more and more.

When it gets right down to it, we can invite others—but we can only control ourselves. We can only take control of how we are going to personally handle our lives going forward.
If you have found this blog post because you’ve recently been forced into owning less, I am sorry for your circumstances. But let me encourage you, you do not need to view owning less as a sacrifice. Owning less means you can find a more intentional life, focused on those pursuits that bring meaning, fulfillment, and joy to your life.

If you’ve been pursuing minimalism for quite some time, I encourage you to be intentional about re-entry into the world when this crisis ends—which it will. Stay focused on those things that add value to your life, that bring lasting joy into your life, that help you pursue your values—and not those that distract you from it.

There is no doubt in my mind that this current crisis is going to affect the world in countless ways. Minimalism, as a lifestyle, will be positively and negatively affected—both individually and as a society.

Let’s make sure we learn from it as best we can.

Do not be weary


Amazing Grace Documentary with Bill Moyers


Sunday, March 29, 2020

Morning Prayer







Sunday Morning Prayer on YouTube ~ 29 March 2020

"I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:38-39




Dear Beloved Parishioners of St. Mary's - Cathedral Road,

On Sundays, I will lead Morning Prayer at 10am according to the Book of Common Prayer in a "said" service (no music).  I will use YouTube Live to post this service, and I hope that you can join in with me.  If you have a Book of Common Prayer at home, I will reference those pages for the service.  Alternatively, I will also post the readings on our church's website so that you can follow along.  https://stmaryscathedralroad.blogspot.com/

I am saddened to not join with you all in person this Sunday, and the two Sundays following, but after careful prayer, discussion, research, and discernment, we have decided that this is the best step forward at this point.  I pray that you all are staying healthy, that you are practicing social distancing, and I also hope that you know you can call or email me at any time.  

~Peter+

The Rev. Peter M. Carey, Rector
St. Mary's Episcopal Church
630 Cathedral Road, Philadelphia, PA 19128





St. Mary's Episcopal Church - Cathedral Road - YouTube Channel



Due to the COVID - 19 Virus, we will NOT be holding church services in person beginning Sunday, March 15th through at least March 29th.  

We will be doing Morning Prayer on Sunday at 10am using our YouTube Channel
Image result for youtube images


Click the above image or HERE to visit our YouTube Channel


Instructions




















Saturday, March 28, 2020

Lenten Psalm of Awakening



Come, O Life-giving Creator,
and rattle the door latch
of my slumbering heart.
Awaken me as you breathe upon
a winter-wrapped earth,
gently calling to life virgin Spring.
Awaken in these fortified days
of Lenten prayer and discipline
my youthful dream of holiness.
Call me forth from the prison camp
of my numerous past defeats
and my narrow patters of being
to make my ordinary life extra-ordinarily alive,
through the passion of my love.
Show to me during these Lenten days
how to take the daily things of life
and by submerging them in the sacred,
to infuse them with a great love
for you, O God, and for others.
Guide me to perform simple acts of love and prayer,
the real works of reform and renewal
of this overture to the spring of the Spirit.
O Father of Jesus, Mother of Christ,
help me not to waste
these precious Lenten days
of my soul’s spiritual springtime.
–Edward Hays, from Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim

Faith, Hope, and Love Abide




If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man I gave up my childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully; even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I Corinthians 13: 1-13

Have mercy


Friday, March 27, 2020

Giving to St. Mary's online

“And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, 
so that by always having enough of everything, 
you may share abundantly in every good work.”
– II Chronicles 9:8 


Please use our online giving process by clicking the green "Give" button below and then enter your information in order to set up one-time, weekly, or monthly giving.


We are partnering with the online giving organization, Tithe-Ly, which is recommended highly by our Bishop and Diocesan Office, and is used by many other churches here in Pennsylvania and across our nation.


Thank you for your continued support of our ministry and mission.




  


Generous isn’t always the same as free, Seth Godin



Generous isn’t always the same as free, Seth Godin

People have been generous with you through the years. A doctor who took the time to understand your pain. A server who didn’t hesitate and brought you what you needed before you even knew you needed it. A boss who gave you a project at just the right time.

Gifts create connection and possibility, but not all gifts have monetary value. In fact, some of the most important gifts involve time, effort and care instead.

Money was invented long after humans arrived on the scene, and commerce can’t solve all problems.
In this moment when we’re so disconnected and afraid, the answer might not be a freebie. That might simply push us further apart. The answer might be showing up to do the difficult work of connection, of caring and of extending ourselves where it’s not expected.

give thanks to the LORD




Thursday, March 26, 2020

Dave Matthews plays live tonight to support Small Business

A note from the Brothers of the St. John the Evangelist Society in Cambridge, MA

A note from the Brothers of the St. John the Evangelist Society in Cambridge, MA

My dear Friends,

My Brothers and I have been deeply touched by the messages of concern and hope that so many of you have expressed since we made the difficult decision to close not only the Guesthouse, but also the Monastery Chapel for public worship, during this time of tremendous anxiety.

Never before has a line from our Rule of Life seemed so appropriate. In the chapter on Worship we read that we Brothers offer our worship … on behalf of the entire world. At a time when so many Christians are cut off from physically gathering to worship and celebrate the Eucharist, our life of corporate worship continues. Even though others may not be able to be physically present, your presence is none the less felt. This is especially true at the daily Eucharist and Compline, when we have the opportunity to mention before God so many of you by name. We offer our worship on behalf of the entire world.

Last week we made a recording of Compline which is now online at www.SSJE.org. We invite you to join us, wherever you are, and uphold the entire world in your prayers.

Please know of our prayers for you during this anxious time.

Faithfully in the One who calms our fears,

James Koester SSJE
Superior

At this time when the Monastery Chapel is closed, the Brothers invite you to join us for our nightly Compline - the ancient monastic service of bedtime prayers.

Morning Prayers this morning


Morning Prayers with our Rector, and his doggies, this morning


From "Becoming Minimalist" - 25 Things to Do with your Family While Stuck at Home


Becoming Minimalist Logo

25 Things to Do with Your Family While Stuck at Home

As with most the world, we’ve been spending a lot more time at home in recent days.
It’s important, in these unique times, to redeem the hours and make the most of the moments we have together. There are negative ramifications to the current state of affairs in our world—and you don’t need to see them broadcast in the media, many of you are experiencing them firsthand.
But the negative effects of the Coronavirus do not need to overwhelm us. We can also choose positive effects: spending time with family, taking longer rests, finding solitude, and escaping the busyness of our normal lives.
With that in mind, here’s my list of 25 things to do while stuck at home to redeem the time and make the most of it.
0. Wake up, get dressed. I need to include this one here because it’s important to start each day with the right attitude. Every day is an opportunity to make the most of it. Don’t miss a single opportunity—regardless of the circumstances around you.
1. Declutter. Minimize your possessions and declutter the stuff in your home. The more we spend time in our home, the more we can recognize what can and should be removed—and the more time we have to do it. Check out Clutterfree if you’re looking for steps to get started
2. Learn new card games. I grew up playing cards‚ even as a young child. And not just Go Fish and War, but strategy games like Hearts, Spades, Rook, and Pinochle. They taught me how to think ahead, play out scenarios, and learn from others. All valuable life skills.
3. Make phone calls. Safe to say the phone call is making a comeback. All those people you would usually see at work, church, or social gatherings, give them a call to say hello.
4. Teach your kids life skills. My son is a junior in high school and my wife and I have a long list of life skills we want him to know before he leaves the house. We’ve been using these weeks to make up for lost time. If you haven’t already, use the time to teach your kids cooking, laundry, cleaning, car repair, budgeting, or any other life skills that come to mind.
5. Go outside. If still allowed in your local area, go on long walks or hikes. Spend time in the park or walk along the river.
6. Workout. We need to be taking care of our physical bodies and taking care of our physical fitness during this time as well. Look up at-home workouts/yoga on YouTube or Google and do them together as a family.
7. Watch educational programs. I see a lot of people spending time on Netflix—binging movies and television shows. And there’s certainly a place for that. But you can also watch educational documentaries on Netflix and YouTube about history, science, or events in the world.
8. Learn a new skill. Been wanting to pick up a hobby? Now’s your chance. Learn a new language or how to code. Pick up an instrument or new artistic skill. Because of the Internet, finding a teacher (free or paid) has never been easier.
9. Create. I started this blog as a hobby—somehow it grew to over 2M readers/month. Start something of your own. Create a blog or a YouTube channel. Write some stories or poetry. Or use your hands in the workshop. Create something, we need you now more than ever.
10. Do a Facebook Live. Nothing to it. Just click a few buttons on your phone and suddenly all your friends can see you. It’s super fun. If you haven’t before, now’s your time.
11. Write letters. To a family member or friend you haven’t seen in awhile.
12. Invent a game. Looking around the room at the supplies you have, make up a game to play with your kids. Or better yet, invent an entire Family Olympics where each member of the family gets to pick 1-2 of the events. Keep a running total of the points.
13. Read books. You should probably be doing that anyway.
14. Late night movie with the family. Depending on your local school situation of course. But if it works, there’s nothing more fun for little kids than staying up past bedtime, eating popcorn, and watching a movie with mom or dad. Make it happen.
15. Video chat with friends. Whether it’s on FaceTime, Skype, Facebook Messenger or Zoom, connect and hang out online for a little while.
16. Home repairs or a deep clean. Make up some ground on that list of yours.
17. Sort through boxes of old photos. Keep the best and put them in photo albums or digitize for future generations.
18. Clean up your computer digital files. Here.
19. Curate and organize your recipe/cookbook stash. I use index cards to keep all my favorites in the same place.
20. Make up TikTok dances with the family. I see a lot of those short, choreographed dances being posted. Super fun for everyone.
21. Create games to share with family members. Invent a WordSearch or Crossword Puzzle using the members of your family and send them out for everyone else to complete during their downtime.
22. Take a class online. You can find plenty of courses for kids and adults available for free online. Including Yale’s most popular college course ever.
23. Order takeout and have a picnic. If your local community still allows that, you can support local business and enjoy time outside as a family (weather-permitting of course).
24. Research your family tree. You can use online tools or do it the old-fashioned way—calling family members to begin piecing it together.
25. Learn online tools for business. One’s thing is for sure—business is going to change going forward. Learn as quick as you can how remote work is accomplished: Zoom, Slack, Skype, Dropbox, and numerous others. Now’s your time to learn them.
There are so many options to make the most of the time now—and probably ahead of us for a little bit longer.
What have you been doing that could be added to the list?
---

"my cup runneth over"

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Peace of Wild Things



The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


Wendell Berry

Do your little bit of good




Monday, March 23, 2020

Celtic rune of hospitality


Greetings on a soggy Monday afternoon ~ 23 March 2020





“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 
Matthew 11:28-30

Dear Beloved Parishioners,

On this rainy afternoon, I find myself praying for each and every one of you.  Once again, we were able to have Morning Prayer "together" yesterday, and I appreciate hearing that many of you were able to "tune in" for it.  

I wanted to be in touch in part to share our Bishop's message which he sent today, and I have shared it below.  In particular, our Bishop has laid out a plan that we will not meet "in person" for worship until at least May 4th.  He is also working with his staff, and with the clergy of the Diocese to seek ways that we can celebrate Holy Week and Easter even by remote.  Also, please continue to fulfill your pledge to St. Mary's; our expenses continue even in this uncertain time.  

I wanted to share a few ideas for resources for this strange and uncertain time.  

Do check out our church's website at stmaryscathedralroad.blogspot.com/ as I am posting there each day, and you can find links and resources down each side of the website/blog.   If you also scroll down through the site, you will see previous postings.

I also recommend taking a look at the National Cathedral's website at cathedral.org and its YouTube channel for a variety of resources. 

Just today I "joined in" with worship at Canterbury Cathedral, which was quite wonderful.  It is always great to feel connected with our sisters and brothers, "across the pond."  

One of my favorite writers and religious figures is the Benedictine Monk, Brother David Steindl-Rast, who writes on prayer, gratefulness, and the abundant life.  His organization, "A Network for Gratefulness" has a wonderful YouTube channel.    One of my very favorite videos he produced is called, "A Good Day, with Brother David Steindl-Rast," which I recommend highly. 

One of my favorite writers these days is Ryan Holiday, who writes books about the ancient stoics.  While not particularly Christian in outlook, I find his writing compelling, and his three books, "The Ego is the Enemy," "The Obstacle is the Way," and "Stillness is the Key," are all pretty quick reads, and full of historical and biographical examples.  RyanHoliday.net

I am attaching some wonderful photos which Valerie James shared with me of flowers in the Spring; enjoy!

Please know that you each are in my daily prayers and I hope you are finding ways to stay connected with one another.  Please do call and email each other, and do let me know if there are particular concerns for you, your families, and your friends.  Please stay in touch.  

In Christ's Love, 


~Peter+

The Rev. Peter M. Carey, Rector
St. Mary's Episcopal Church - Cathedral road





(This, and additional instructions, have been shared with our clergy as well.)

March 23, 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Each day seems to bring with it new changes. As we enter into them, let us remember the words of our Lord in Isaiah:

“See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” 43:19

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the laity and clergy of this beloved diocese. While this Lenten season has unfolded in ways none of us could have anticipated, we live with the hope of Christ and look forward to that day which is upon the horizon where we can proclaim “Alleluia.” 

After much prayer, and further consultation with the clergy, leadership and laity of the diocese, I now provide further pastoral direction related to the worship and spiritual life of our churches:

However, it is imperative our faithful have access to worship. Therefore, in keeping with my previous directive, clergy may lead services with a minimum number of assistants in attendance (not to exceed 10). If you are celebrating the Eucharist you should consecrate, but not offer, the chalice. If you hold a service, you should offer access to it via computer or phone. If you do not hold worship, please direct your parishioners to another church which is doing so. A growing guide to streaming your service and a directory of churches offering remote access to worship can be found on our website Additionally, you can contact us for support.

Please know that I do not make this decision lightly. Over the past week, local, state and national authorities are issuing varying restrictions on the size and number of gatherings and I am told that further restrictions will be issued. This week, the Presiding Bishop wrote that “considering this changing landscape, I believe that suspension of in-person public worship is generally the most prudent course of action at this time.”

I am mindful that the lack of physical access to Holy Communion can be distressing. I will forgo receiving the Sacrament until such time as our churches can safely resume celebrating Holy Eucharist in person. I do so gladly and with full assurance that we are still recipients of the Real Presence of our Lord. 

How our Holy Week and Easter celebrations will unfold is yet to be seen but it will be glorious.  We currently have a committee formed to develop and offer creative services for these most holy days. We will celebrate together as a diocesan family and if it is from our own homes connected by phone or computer, we will still rejoice. 

In the meantime, I encourage you to do the following in regards to conducting services, reaching the vulnerable and connecting with one another:

  • Virtual Meetings. Make arrangements to offer your discernment, education, bible studies or other meetings by video or phone conference call. Contact us if you need assistance with us. We are experimenting with new technologies each day and are available 24/7.
  • Vulnerable Communities. Please continue to check-in with your elderly, sick and shut-ins on a regular basis making use of phone, video, and written communication as appropriate to protect their health.  
  • NA and AA. The same encouragement from my previous letter is in effect for AA and NA groups instituting the cleaning and recommended hygiene practices.
  • Further Restrictions. In the event that the Governor issues a “stay at home” order or further restrictions, we will abide by those directions and further instructions will be sent as necessary. (For clergy, a list of things to consider is currently posted to the clergy Facebook page and is available here too.)
  • Continue Pledging! I also ask that you continue to give your pledge to your church. While in-person activity may be suspended, the church is not closed and we must support those employed. The sextons, musicians, administrative staff, youth ministers, etc., need our continued support at this critical time. We must also not forget those church members whose business has been affected as well as the small business in our communities. 

The first Easter was celebrated by a few faithful women and then shared by the rest of the disciples. Let us hold the spirit of that first Easter and the many Easters through the years. Through it, the Body of Christ is becoming stronger and the resurrection is the sign and proof that our faith is not in vain.

As a testament to that truth, on Easter Sunday, I ask we join with our sisters and brothers in the Diocese of Western North Carolina in proclaiming our faith through the sounds of ringing bells.  On April 11 at 10 a.m., I ask every church to ring their bells for five minutes as a resounding symbol of our faith in the grace of Jesus’s resurrection and the gift of new life. We are also asking the faithful in their own household to join in and ring a bell, beat a drum or otherwise make a joyful noise unto the Lord. Let southeastern Pennsylvania hear the sound of joy as we proclaim the hope of our Jesus Christ.

As we continue to journey through this time together, take care of each other. Call one another, be kind, check on those who are lonely. Let us love boldly and without reservation. See you on Zoom, through the internet and in my prayers.


Your bishop, shepherd and friend,
Bishop Daniel
Know Jesus. Change the World.
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