Pastoral letter from Bishop Marc+

July 10, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

Last week the diocese announced that we would not be regathering for in person worship as soon as we had hoped. I feel the disappointment and lament what we have lost in the last four months. The ways you have all adapted the work of the church to rise to the occasion of our current circumstances inspires me daily. All of our congregations have continued the good work of the Church in innovative ways that have adjusted our rituals and our outreach and pastoral care to serve all of God’s people.

The COVID-19 Task Force will be reviewing regathering decisions in the coming weeks. We are looking towards August with optimism that the sacrifices we have made this summer will pay off with a Fall in which we can regather in person.

In the Bay Area we are grateful that our civic leaders are closely following the latest scientific guidelines and remaining cautious about easing restrictions. We know that county health officials working in close communication with both city and state representatives are using the latest medical data to aid them as they make these difficult decisions. Nonetheless, I feel the same sadness many of you do when I hear the reports of increasing cases and spreading infection. It is easy to feel discouraged and frustrated

All of us have been thrown into an unexpected season of waiting. Waiting for the numbers to drop. Waiting for a vaccine. Waiting for something good to come out of all of this. Some have lost much during these last four months and there is suffering and grief touching many of our lives. The combination of unknowing, uncertainty, and grief that comes when we reflect on all that we have been through these last four months can certainly feel overwhelming at times. Yet I am hopeful about what the church will look like as we emerge from this waiting. This hope is founded on the ever-abiding presence of the Holy Spirit.

As the Psalmist sings:

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!

I sit with you in prayer as we wait. “Let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those in the family of faith” (Galatians 6:9-10)

Source of life and blessing,
of garden, orchard, field:
Root in us obedience to you
and nourish us by your ever-flowing Sprit
that, perceiving only the good we might do,
our lives may be fruitful,
our labor productive,
and our service useful,
in communion with Jesus, our brother. Amen.

(Revised Common Lectionary Prayers, pg 85)


+Marc

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