View this email in your browser
SSSJ NEWSLETTER - March 20, 2020

From Father Mark +

Beloved members of St. Simon & St. Jude,

I write this in the early morning hours of Saturday, March 21.  The news is filled with nothing but the corona virus.  Churches, schools and universities are closed.  Grocery stores have empty shelves.  Restaurants are empty.  Our hospitals and nursing homes are closed to visitors.  Our families, friends and neighbors are all huddling together, trying to stay healthy and safe.  And I wonder, “Where is God in all this?”

Where is God when we cannot see the smile of a friend or feel the touch of a loved one?  Where is God in the midst of an epidemic which respects no national borders and from which we have no medical defense?  Where is God when we cannot gather together to listen to the apostles' teaching, to have fellowship, and to break bread and pray? (Acts 2:42)  

One of the things you should know about me as your priest is that I don't believe that God sends plagues and misfortune to us.  God loves us and cares for us.  God would do nothing to harm us.  But God does transform our pain and misfortune into blessing.  

So I wonder – where is the blessing in all of this?

And I'm looking at all of the ways people are trying to stay connected in the midst of separation and quarantine.  We're making more telephone calls and writing more letters.  We're using email, Facebook and the internet to stay connected.  We're taking more walks outside through the neighborhood and saying hello (from a safe distance, of course) to neighbors we haven't seen in years.

And I wonder if this might have something to do with God.  

Could it be that God is taking the isolation of our quarantine and showing us new ways to be a people again?  Could it be that God is reminding us that we are a nation of people with many different backgrounds and points of view, that still shares a common humanity?  Could it be that God is using our common vulnerability to this virus and showing us that we really need to take care of one another?  Could it be that through our church closure, God is reminding us that the church is not a building, but the people who might gather there occasionally, but love take care of one another EVERY DAY.

Could it be that God is reminding us that God is not confined to a building, but lives in the relationships we share with every person we ever meet?

Your vestry and clergy believe that it is vitally important that we remain connected as the body of Christ through this unique and trying time.  This is why Father Jim and I have begun calling every member of the congregation, while the vestry have each taken a subset of the congregation to call.  We're calling to see if you're alright.  We want to know if you need anything.  We want to know if you have anything you want the rest of the congregation to know or to pray for.  And we want YOU to know although we are temporarily separated from one another, as members of the body of Christ, we are never truly separated from God.  

Yes, we will do what we can to maintain our worship online.  We'll use whiz-bang technology to stream our service over internet and on our Facebook page and all that. 

But more important than all that is that we want to use this time for us to reconnect with you, to hear your voice and let you hear ours.  So that when this plague has passed – and it will pass – we will be a stronger community, bonded together by our common vulnerability and humanity.

May God bless you and those you love, now and always.

Father Mark+


Important Reminders!

1.  You can participate in our 10:30 Sunday service via the church's Facebook page.
To access the page, go to https://www.facebook.com/SSSJ.Episcopal.Church/.  Note: You do not need a Facebook account to access this page.
Facebook will try to create an account for you, but you can simply dismiss their offer and still get to the church page.

2.  All confirmed members of the congregation are invited to complete the Spiritual Life Inventory. The inventory will provide an honest report of where we are, and where we would like to go as a faith community.  Once we have this understanding, the vestry and future search committee can do a better search for a new rector.  You may take the survey online at https://www.research.net/r/RenewalWorks2246 .  If you would prefer to fill out paper copy, please call the church office and leave a message, and one of us will send one to you. 
 
3. We are trying to update our contact information for the congregation. If you are not receiving emailings and calling post messages from the church, it may be because we don't have current contact information for you. Please send your email address(es) and phone number(s) to office@ecsssj.org so that we can update our lists.

 
  Sharing God's Love

In this time of need and uncertainty, it is important to continue to support our mission. Below is a message from the website for Sharing God's Love. For those of us unable to go out into the community, checks can be sent for their fund. 

Items Urgently Needed

We will no longer be accepting donations of clothing or household goods until further notice as we going to a severely limited volunteer schedule and will not have the ability to process your donated goods.  Thank you for understanding during this National Emergency. 

Canned soup, jelly, canned fruit or fruit cups, Spaghetti Sauce, Tea, Canned beans, Pork and beans,Toothpaste, Shampoo, Toilet Paper, Paper towels, Deodorant, Laundry and Dish Detergent

Financial assistance to keep lights on for our clients.

**********
We are open to receive your kind donations Monday through Saturday from 9am-Noon. 

Out of safety concerns for the Coronavirus we will be moving to APPOINTMENTS ONLY for services effective immediately. We will only be able to provide food at these appointments. Please call our office for an appointment at 803-732-3188. When you arrive please remain in your car and CALL our office and let them know you are here. They will direct you as to where you can pick up your food.

Thank you for understanding during this time and know that we are implementing this out of an abundance of caution.

Please share this information so we can reach as many people as possible.

Other Food Pantries currently providing services as normal:

Christian Life – 2700 Bush River Rd., Columbia – Mondays

Cooperative Ministries –  3821 W Beltline Blvd, Columbia

Mission Lexington – 216 Harmon Street, Lexington residents

Harvest Hope – 2220 Shop Rd., Columbia

Lexington/Richland 5 County School District State Funded Feeding Sites

-H. E. Corley Elementary School (1500 Chadford Road, Irmo, SC)

-Harbison West Elementary School (257 Crossbow Drive, Irmo, SC)

-Seven Oaks Elementary School (2800 Ashland Road, Columbia, SC)

-Irmo High School (6671 St. Andrews Road, Columbia, SC)

-Dutch Fork High School (1400 Old Tamah Road, Irmo, SC)

-Food offerings will also be provided at two apartment sites in the district: Irmo Village Apartments and River Oaks Apartments

Meal service will be 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, tomorrow (March 17) through the reopening of schools. Items will be individually packaged, to-go food offerings with dietary information on the packaging. The service is only available for children ages 4-18, and children must be present to receive meals. Current feeding sites have been approved by state officials, and additional feeding sites may be added. Additionally, weekend Snack Packs will be delivered to students already receiving these food supply offerings.

 

 


 

From Harvest Hope Food Bank

For people all over our state, the past week has been challenging, stressful and uncertain. It is in times like these we expect the people of South Carolina to stand up, come together and help those in need. Thankfully, that is exactly what we saw this week. In just 5 days, I am so proud of what we have accomplished:

                       

We have set up a special Coronavirus Response Fund to be ready for the increased need during this crisis. Will you give today to help?

This fund is going to provide critical support for children and families in South Carolina. Please donate today, and consider sending this link to five friends asking if they will join you.
If you would like to make a non-perishable food donation, you can also drop off at any of our branches. Most needed items are peanut butter, pasta, canned meals with pop-tops, Easy Mac, Ramen noodles, fruit cups, granola bars, cereal and other easy to make snacks/meals.
Thank you for your support during this time. Thousands are counting on us, and with your help, we know we won’t let them down. 

In service, 

Wendy Broderick 

CEO

   Muse on This  by Fr Stan Woolley
 

A wonderful prayer to begin any day, especially now, from our “BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER.

In the Morning 

This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen. 

Ministry to the sick BCP Pg. 461


 
From Bishop Waldo

March 19, 2020
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.” Ephesians 1:15-16

In this extraordinary time, I find myself filled with gratitude and love for our common life in Christ. I’ve begun making calls to each of our congregations—to rectors, vicars or priests-in-charge where one is in place, and to senior wardens where there is no long-term priest serving. It is important that we stay in touch and aware of one another’s needs in what increasingly appears to be an extended time of trial. So I pray for each congregation and each clergyperson daily.

The challenge of social distancing for safety stands in stark contrast to our most primal Christian intentions: to be in close relationship with God and each other. Reports on this past Sunday’s technologically engineered worship services across the Diocese were heartening. This was true both for the numbers of people participating and for our communal relief in feeling connected with each other—even if remotely. Perhaps this will be the time during which the Episcopal Church truly and widely embraces and develops its technology skills and uses! (If you need help, see Canon Alan Bentrup’s technological primer on setting up remote meetings at www.edusc.org/technology.)

The physical realities of social distancing are challenging but deeply necessary to protect ourselves and to protect others. As the pandemic and estimates of future infection and death levels begin to grow exponentially even with social distancing, we must again reassess our gathering practices. Effective immediately, I am extending the suspension of public, in-person worship throughout the Diocese of Upper South Carolina at least through April 30I am acutely aware of the multitude of consequences that will occur as a result of this suspension—pastorally, liturgically, financially, and relationally.

To mitigate these consequences, conversations are already taking place among clergy and pastoral care committees of the Diocese about best practices for tending to pastoral needs. Canons Alan Bentrup, d’Rue Hazel, and Jimmy Hartley are scheduling regular Zoom conferencing opportunities to facilitate these conversations at Convocational levels. These sessions will allow us to address other areas of concern as well, such as, How do we ensure that congregations have access to Holy Week services regardless of their technological capabilities? Should we focus on Morning Prayer as our primary corporate technological worship? How do we tend to ongoing Christian formation?

For congregations in leadership transitions, we are addressing what adjustments we need to make in search processes to ensure safe, wise, and thorough discernment of God’s call to clergy and the people whom they will serve.

This weekend, the Diocesan Executive Council (DEC) will meet—via Zoom—to consider, among other things, how we can corporately address and strengthen the most vulnerable congregations in our midst? It is clear that allcongregations, and Diocesan House—and indeed virtually all places of employment—will be facing financial challenges. Thus, this is becoming a time during which we discover more deeply both our personal and corporate strengths and to use them to build up our communities and our abilities to respond to individuals.

The White House hopes to send support checks to many Americans, checks that will be greatly needed, and much-appreciated by many of our congregants. Should this happen, some among us will have the capacity to manage without that extra assistance. If you are in that circumstance and do receive a check, you might consider donating all or part of that assistance to bolster your congregation’s food, clothing, housing, or mental illness ministries, which serve some of the most vulnerable of all people. Or, you can offer extra support to your congregation, which is almost certain to experience new financial stresses.

Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds.” Remembering these words of comfort reminds us also of their challenge, especially in uncertain times, to trust God’s love and care for us, come what may.

The apostle Paul, who built the Christian movement, rooted in love, against enormous odds and continual threats of violence reminds us constantly of our transcendent unity in the One who loves us more than we can ask or imagine, Jesus Christ.

Be safe. Call the lonely. Extend the help you can. Receive the help you need. And rejoice in the love that surrounds you.


Your devoted brother,

+Andrew, child of God and servant of the Lord Jesus.

To assist you in your personal prayer, here are some links to websites and apps for daily prayer and devotion:

     Planning For the Future 
                    Let’s Make It Happen

   Fonda Bohr is beginning plans for a Craft Show and Bake Sale to be held in conjunction with the Pumpkin Patch this Fall. Anyone and everyone, man, woman, or child, is encouraged to participate. What is your craftiness? This time of being home, looking for things to do is a good time to begin making those items. Some craft stores have online sales to get supplies, or a short shop at “social distance” could be done. 
   If you have ideas to share, contact Fonda at  fondabohr@yahoo.com
Home-803-781-7555  Cell-803-269-4412

"The Light in the Darkness"
A meditation offered by The Venerable Calhoun Walpole, Archdeacon of the Diocese of South Carolina

 
The other day, David Brooks wrote a column about the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. During that time in certain cities, health care workers would plead for people to step up and care for the sick, including thousands of children. He notes that few stepped forward to care for them—for fear of contracting the disease.

Brooks goes on to point out that one of the truly perplexing features of the 1918 pandemic was that when it was over people didn’t talk about it. Very few books were written about it. Yet, roughly 675,000 Americans died. Maybe, Brooks posits, it is because people did not like whom they had become during the pandemic. The cultural effect, after the death of those hundreds of thousands, was one of disillusionment and fatigue and spiritual lethargy.
 
Jesus says: “If you want to save your life you will lose it. If you lose your life for my sake and the sake of the gospel you will find it.” It is the Christian paradox. Jesus went to the cross—not so that we don’t have to—he went to the cross and asks us to meet him there. It is Lent, the season in which we have the special privilege of denying ourselves and taking up our cross and following Christ.

 Brooks goes on to note that during the 1918 flu it was the health care workers who found their life—even if they lost their life—in service to others.
 
We the Church are also a hospital—dispensing not antibiotics or performing surgeries on the body—but rather dispensing living water for thirsts too deep for words—and providing the space—even if now, for a season, from a distance—for us all to bring whatever scars or pain or wounds too powerful to name—to our Lord Jesus.
 

 

News or thoughts to share? Contact Pat Woolley at Newsletter@ecsssj.org or
803 662-0504.

Twitter
Facebook
Website
Copyright © 2020 The Episcopal Church of St. Simon & St. Jude, All rights reserved.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp