Monday, March 23, 2020

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 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 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.

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, 


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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