Feast of St. Patrick
March 17, 2020

Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Collect for 3rd Sunday in Lent)

Surely it is God who saves me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, and he will be my Savior.

(The First Song of Isaiah)


Beloved members of St. Simon & St. Jude,

I greet you in the name of Jesus Christ, our healer, teacher and guide.

As I was reading the collect from this past Sunday I was struck by how much it echoes what might be called the Congregational Anthem of St. Simon & St. Jude, the 1st Song of Isaiah. God alone saves us; God alone protects us from all that assault our bodies and harm our souls.

By now most of you have already heard that Bishop Waldo has determined that all public worship services in the diocese are to be suspended at least through the end of the month. It is our hope that we will be able to resume Sunday worship on Palm Sunday, but this is not assured. Although I am saddened by this, I believe it is the right thing to do. In the interest of the Common Good, we must do everything we can to slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Therefore, all in-person worship services, church meetings, Christian Education classes, fellowship activities and book studies at SSSJ are cancelled until further notice.

At the same time, we need to support each other. And we are working on ways in which we can continue to worship God and to support one another during this quiet time:

  1. I am still available for conversation, prayer, counseling and pastoral care. We can meet in person or via phone/video chat. If you want to talk, pray or have a visit, please call me on my cell phone, send me an email (frmark@ecsssj.org) or leave a message at the church office.

  2. This past Sunday, we were able to successfully stream video of our Sunday services via the church's Facebook page. We will continue to do so for the duration of our worship hiatus. 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.

  3. We need to be able to get in touch with you. 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.

  4. The vestry will be meeting (via conference call) to discuss ways for us to support one another and remain in contact with each other. One way under consideration is to reestablish our “shepherd list,” by which each member of the vestry takes responsibility to call a few families from time to time, just to see how we're doing. If you would like to help in this ministry, please let me know.

Perhaps this Lent is a good time to remind ourselves that the Church is more than a building and happens more than just on Sunday. The Church is the assembly of all faithful people who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. As we show our love for our neighbors by keeping our distance, let us remember that in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (Romans 12:5)

Faithfully yours,

Father Mark

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The Episcopal Church of St. Simon & St. Jude · 1110 Kinley Road · Irmo, SC 29063 · USA

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