Note: You can download a copy of this letter here.
Beloved St. Andrew community,
We want you to be aware that St. Andrew is committed to being proactive, reasonable, and instructive as we respond to a complex and rapidly evolving situation around the spread of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and the resulting infection, COVID-19 (from Corona Virus Disease 2019). The health and safety of our community and all of our partners who share the facility is paramount. Yet we also recognize that at the heart of our faith is life that is shared. We need to be together, even as we need to protect one another, and honor the choices of others—especially those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 and other corona viruses. We trust we all will refrain from making judgment or taking offense in this time of anxiety.
Therefore, we do not anticipate “neglecting to meet together” (Hebrews 10:25), even as other organizations may choose to do so. At this point we plan to worship together weekly. We have and may cancel, reschedule or hold remotely other meetings. Exercising an abundance of caution, we have implemented additional preventative measures to reduce contamination and transmission, including these:
Note: You can download a pdf of this letter here.
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus…” ~Philippians 2: 1–5
January 9, 2020
Beloved St. Andrew Community:
Did you know we have multiple, interrelated behavioral policies that help us to ensure health and well-being in our communion—especially those we consider most vulnerable among us? Our priority of care for our children and vulnerable adults is a sacred trust. It grows from the sacraments; from the promises we make in baptism and the insights we gain at the communion table.
First of all, there’s baptism. In this sacrament we intentionally and with self-awareness gather around promises. Foremost are the promises we understand God to be making to all God’s creation, to the church, and to individuals known in the stories of God’s fidelity throughout the scriptures, and particularly in the self-giving of Jesus who is our pattern for life and ministry. Our own promises to and for one another emanate from the God who acts first. In response, as a congregation, we promise to care for the baptized as if they are our own:
A few weeks ago, we asked for your prayers in our discernment around moving to weekly communion. Since then we have spoken with many of you and on November 3rd,we sought understanding together in Aftertalk. Session met this past Monday where we reflected, and prayerfully thought about next steps. We take our promises to God, and your trust as your current session very seriously, and we discerned that while the call to weekly communion is strong we, as a community, need more time to be with this question and all that it would mean to us and to our life together as a church body. So, we will be back in touch soon with some more ways for us to think and pray together about this, and as a session we will keep paying attention for God’s wisdom and call. The subject will stay on our session docket until the way forward is clear and we look forward to being in ongoing conversation with you.
Thank you for your prayers and your sense of where the Spirit is leading.
From the Session
You've no doubt heard by now that the Session has authorized the celebration of weekly communion during the "extraordinary" times of our church year, the seasons of feasts and festivals—Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter and the transitional Sundays around those seasons. In our understanding of the church year, extraordinary is contrasted with so-called "ordinary" time, those Sundays when the paraments are green, those Sundays in our yearly cycle that celebrate God's presence in the slow and steady-growth ordinariness of our life. Together the seasons alert us to the astonishing variety of ways we encounter the transforming presence of God in our lives.