Dear Beloved Parishioners,
I wanted to reach out to all of you to say that I am praying for you each daily, and am hoping that you are well. We are, of course, in a time of some uncertainty with the pandemic of COVID-19, and I wanted to share a few items with you in terms of steps we are taking at St. Mary's to help us all stay healthy and safe.
Below are letters from both our Bishop, Daniel Gutierrez, and our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, which are extremely helpful and give us some general guidelines and helpful information in this uncertain time. Rather than repeat the good advice that is below, I encourage you to read and mind the good advice that is recommended by the CDC below.
In terms of St. Mary's - Cathedral Road, we are taking the following steps:
1) We are currently still offering the Eucharist at 10am on Sunday, and we will share the Eucharist in the form of wafers only, for the time being.
2) We will share the Peace by greeting, but not with physical touching.
3) I have communicated with our Sexton to be extra vigilant in his cleaning of surfaces at St. Mary's, and I, myself am also taking time to wipe down doorhandles, faucets, and other areas.
4) I have contracted with a cleaning company to do a deep cleaning on Monday and Tuesday next week. They will also be doing cleaning twice a month, at least to augment the other cleaning that happens.
5) I encourage us to be mindful of the food that we offer at Coffee Hour. Best would be to have food that is individually packaged.
6) We are planning to Live Stream the Sunday Eucharist on Sunday through our Church's Facebook Page. You do not need to be a subscriber of Facebook to see and hear our service. The link to our Facebook Page is: https://www.facebook.com/
Please stay healthy. Please practice "social distancing" if you are able to in your daily movements. Know that you are in my prayers.
(Note: This email was first sent in May. We wanted to reshare in case you missed it.)
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9 ESV
Throughout my career in public life, business and ministry, I have learned the importance of service. It is foundational that service is centered on prayer, process, responsiveness, evaluation and efficiency. Each of these guideposts are critical to success and our call to empower and grow congregations. As the Offices of the Diocese, we exist to serve you.
It is important that you all know what you can expect from the Offices of the Diocese and the Bishop in this regard:
Responsiveness: We are committed to responding to your emails and phone calls within 24 hours. This also goes for requests made via social media.
Tracking progress: We have adopted new software that tracks our work on behalf of this Office and our work with parishes. This also allows us to assign work to one another and better collaborate.
Follow-up: After we meet with churches, you should receive an email that outlines the action items of the visit. Each canon is copied on these so we are all "in the loop" on what is needed.
Office hours: Traditionally this Office closed at 4:30. We have moved that to 5 p.m. The majority of staff work beyond a 40-hour week but I think it is important that you know someone will be in the office 9-5 if you need us.
The only exception to this is Friday. I have asked staff not to schedule meetings after 12 on Friday so they can catch up on the week's work. If you call after 12 on a Friday, your call will be routed to voicemail. (If there is an emergency, please contact staff on their cell phones (visible in their email signature.)
Canon responsibilities: The canons are here to serve you. Here is how they can help.
Since we are "co-creators" in this journey, and this is your diocese, I need to hear from you and know if we are responding to your needs. We are continually seeking to improve. We are continually reviewing all processes, procedures, and budgets. As a wise elder once said: "You cannot improve what you cannot measure."
I am blessed to serve as your Bishop. Let us walk with one another, let us pray for one another and thank God for the opportunity to share in this journey as a community of hope, transformation and love. In Jesus Christ, all things are being made new.Know Jesus. Change the world.
The Rt. Rev. Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez
XVI Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania