Hi everybody. In our continuing effort to remain connected during this time I’d like to focus on three areas of our congregational life this week.
The present diocesan coronavirus protocols are in effect through May 17. With that date approaching the diocese has put together a task force of clergy and laity of the diocese in order to plan for the future, when some of the protocols may be adjusted. The following is from the Diocesan web site information on the Covid-19 protocols:
Worship is not the only area in which the task force is working. There are six specific areas in which considerations are being addressed:
- All things Sunday morning: worship, formation, nursery, acolytes, altar guild, etc.
- Pastoral care and pastoral services: baptisms, weddings, funerals, unction, lay Eucharistic visitors, etc.
- Outreach, direct services, and schools
- Other organizations and meetings: Bible studies, vestry meetings, and groups that use our buildings, such as 12-step programs, etc.
- Protection, equipment, safe practices and prevention: equipment such as masks, and protocols for tracking participants in case there is a possible exposure, cleaning supplies.
- Advocacy: giving witness, where necessary, on behalf of vulnerable members of our community such as bus drivers, frontline medical workers, farmworkers, meatpackers, people without access to health insurance, homeless, supermarket and food delivery employees.
The first draft report of the task force will be submitted by Monday, May 4. The goal is to have the final document prepared before the current directive expires on May 17. As we look toward the coming weeks, please remember that just as it has in recent weeks, we are taking this one step at a time, one day at a time to do our best to remain in vibrant, beloved community while keeping each other and our neighbors safe.
I suspect many of the present protocols regarding worship will remain in effect at least through May.
The 2020 Parish Operating Budget supports the hiring of three new positions which include: full time Associate Rector for Children’s and Youth Formation, part time Facilities Manager, and part time Volunteer Coordinator. It also supports two positions of part time Interim Youth Ministry Coordinator and part time Interim Children’s Ministry Coordinator moving from interim to permanent positions with an increase in hours. The goal was to have all these positions filled by June 1. Due to the coronavirus the vestry has decided, with my support, that these hires be delayed a while. But I want you to know that, at my invitation, Natalie Sroka, Interim Children’s Ministry Coordinator, and Zack Rugen, Interim Youth Ministry Coordinator, have agreed to serve beyond the May 31 date that they had previously agreed to, and I am delighted.
Zack Rugen will also be with us for a Summer Field Placement through Duke Divinity School. Besides his continuing work with Youth Ministry, Zack will be engaged with pastoral, liturgical, adult formation, and community ministry, as well as some specific areas with St. Paul’s Cares ministry as described in the St. Paul’s Cares update below. Over the years, St. Paul’s has been a congregation where those discerning a vocation to ordained ministry have found a supportive community. We are delighted to enter into this supportive relationship with Zack.
St. Paul’s Cares – COVID Update
To help address the community’s needs related to COVID-19 and the uncertainties it has produced, the work of St. Paul’s Cares has continued and even accelerated in some cases.
- In response to a call from the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry for assistance with their COVID-19 emergency response, the parish has made a $3000 donation, drawn from the St. Paul’s Cares restricted fund, to help meet the food, health care, and financial needs of these essential workers. Their efforts to put food on our tables leave them vulnerable to the virus with little recourse should they become ill.
- St. Paul’s Cares will also help fund Zack Rugen’s continued placement with the parish through the summer as part of Duke Divinity School’s Field Education Program. Besides the areas of ministry described above, Zack’s responsibilities will include helping to form a Care of Creation team for the parish. In this way, St. Paul’s gains additional staff support in vital areas while contributing to Zack’s vocational formation, preparing him for future leadership in the Church.
- We are exploring ways that the parish can support the needs of LGBTQ+ youth who are unhoused because campus housing is unavailable, and they cannot return home.
- We have continued our preparation for a visit by a communications consultant who will help us better tell the story of St. Paul’s, within the parish and outside of it.
- Long-standing plans for the parish to host Racial Equity Institute (REI) training this week were postponed, but we look forward to serving as a site in the future. This would have been St. Paul’s third time welcoming participants from across North Carolina and even from other states. We remain the first and only Cary congregation to host REI.
View copy of George’s email: Weekly Update from St. Paul’s, May 1, 2020
For all the weekly updates in this series, click HERE.