- Trinity Voices
Being Trinity Church: Letter from the Task Force Chair & Rector
June 28, 2020
Dear Trinity Church and friends,
We hope that this letter finds you and yours in good health and wellness. Following up on the Wardens’ letter of last week, I join Morgan in this message and write to you as a fellow parishioner, husband, and father of three, and as a medical scientist engaged daily in the study of COVID-19.
Though life as we knew it before this virus had its own challenges, our lives also enjoyed many blessings. Among the gifts of those days, we all took refuge in our Trinity Church worship. Praying, singing, studying, and being with each other on Sundays provided us all a safe harbor of goodwill and Grace. No longer able to be with one another in-person is a loss that all of us feel. However – and thank Goodness for technology! – with constancy in our “From Home” services and programs, we have found continued strength and encountered the Holy Spirit in unexpected ways, drawing from a new fountain of faith that has continued to enlighten our lives and those around us.
Thereby, the COVID-19 disruption of our daily lives, habits, and routines, has not compromised the spirit of our community. We have steadfastly created pathways and channels to see and hear from each other, whether via Zoom, Facebook, Vimeo, or old-fashioned phone calls. While not ideal – and longing for the joy of in-person smiles, hugs, and exchanges of the Peace – these innovations balance our love for fellowship with a diligent commitment to the safety of our parishioners and our Eastern Massachusetts neighbors.
In March, Trinity launched a Task Force to share personal perspectives and professional expertise about how and when we could responsibly worship together in-person. We have met regularly since the week of March 9, and we have carefully tracked the direction of our judicatory, the Diocese of Massachusetts, and the guidance of the Commonwealth.
Unfortunately, our country is now witnessing a steady increase of COVID-19 cases, and, poignantly this past week, a sobering resurgence in areas of loosened restriction, highlighted by southern and Sunbelt states. To share only one thread of numbers, consider the cases in Florida: two weeks ago (June 13), Florida reported a then-high 2,124 cases. Last Saturday (June 20), the state confirmed a record 4,639 positive diagnoses. Yesterday (June 27), the state confirmed a new high of 9,636 cases.
This is obviously very unsettling and worrisome. While we understand that both the State and the Diocese of Massachusetts are allowing for the opening of worship under strict guidelines, we are also watching as early-opening states now retighten their pandemic constraints. Around the country, we are seeing churches that reopened only weeks ago, now shuttering their Sunday services. We recognize that these urgent changes of plan come at a high cost, both emotionally and financially. While we are thankful that Massachusetts is currently containing the virus as well as any state, the Florida example (as one among many) reminds us how quickly the situation can change. Therefore, after careful, prayerful consideration, our Task Force recommended that Trinity defer our in-person worship and fellowship activities until at least Labor Day.
Though I share in the disappointment of this necessity, we will continue to convene and monitor the situation, looking forward to when conditions improve. I also find hope in our shared Spirit and fellowship, and I hope that you will do the same. If we can stay faithful and generous, I believe we will ultimately emerge out of COVID-19 with an even greater sense of love and community, blessed by a humility and gratitude that will make for an even stronger Trinity Church.
I will now turn this message over to Morgan, who, in light of this timeline, has some programmatic updates to share.
With gratitude for Niven’s leadership and support, I join in his concluding encouragement! While acknowledging our grief for what we cannot do, let us take heart in what we can.
This Tuesday, June 30, formal registration for “Camp Trinity” will open. Themed, “Many Members, One Body,” this program will begin with a “campfire” on Tuesday night, July 28, and conclude with our worship on Sunday morning, August 2. During the four days between, we will convene both intergenerationally and in age cohorts from young children to adults. Appreciating how “screen weary” all of us are feeling, we will leverage our technology to get us outside and moving. Please look forward to an email from Sarah Neumann and our Program team this week, and I hope I will see you at Camp!
Between now and then, our “Coffee Together” program continues through Friday, July 24. Nearly every weekday, a member of our staff will gather via Zoom for a small-group conversation with no more than six parishioners. Responding to the simple prompt, “How are you?”, we are enjoying the opportunity to check-in with one another. Registration is simple and can be accomplished here.
Finally, though we know a return to our previous pattern of Sunday worship and programming will not be possible for some time, we also know that sharing in our sacred space on Copley Square and being together in-person need not be all-or-nothing propositions. Aiming for the launch of our fall Program Year, know that gears of creativity are turning! As we found exciting means of staying connected during these first months of the pandemic, so, too, will we find fresh, safe means of coming closer to one another – in spirit and in fact.
Take care and be well,
Dr. Niven R. Narain
Chair, Being Trinity Church Task Force
The Rev. Morgan S. Allen