Public services at St. David’s, and at all Episcopal churches throughout western Washington, have been cancelled until further notice. The people of St. David’s stay in touch via a weekly email newsletter, frequent phone calls, and a weekly gathering for worship via video-conference.
As much as we regret the need to cancel public Sunday services, we are also very aware of the need to do what we can to help protect the health of our members and our whole community during this state of emergency declared by the governor. We urge everyone to follow the recommendations of public health officials to help prevent the spread of this virus. Stay home whenever possible. If you must go out, wear a face covering, and maintain at least six feet of distance from people who are not of your household.
This is a big change for us. Gathering on “The Lord’s Day” to hear God’s word together, pray together, and break bread together, has been the core ritual of our faith for two millennia. Our Baptismal Covenant asks us to affirm that we intend to “continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers.” To give up this central practice of our faith is disconcerting.
It is important to recall, however, that the core value of our faith is love of one’s neighbor. We are followers of Jesus, who, like the Prophets who preceeded him, taught that acting out of love, compassion, mercy and justice for our neighbor is a value higher than the keeping of any rituals. Acting in love and compassion, in these days, means doing what we can to help those who need help, while also doing our best to avoid sharing contagion. So check on friends who may need assistance, maintain 6 feet of distance, and wash those hands!
This is also a good time to remind ourselves that the church building is not the Church. When we cannot meet together in person, we remain a community of faith, members of the Body of Christ, in communion with one other on this island, throughout our diocese, and around the world.
During this unsettling time, please hold this parish and its members in your prayers, and all your friends, neighbors and loved ones, too. Maintain community by staying in touch via telephone and internet. And when we cannot be together in the flesh, remember that we remain united in the Spirit, a sacred presence to one one another that, like the Peace of Christ, is beyond all human understanding.
In addition to our weekly Sunday worship via video-conference, you may also want to take advantage of services available via the internet. St. Mark’s Cathedral will live-stream an 11:00 AM Sunday service throughout this emergency closure. That service is also archived and available as a video recording throughout the week.