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Trinity and COVID-19: Important Updates for Worship and Church Operations
Dear Trinity Church and friends,
This week, a small-group of Trinity Church parishioners – including physicians and lawyers, parishioners and liturgical leaders, biotech executives and healthcare professionals, members of our staff and members of our Vestry – convened to strategize our response to COVID-19 and the unprecedented steps that Boston and Massachusetts, our nation and our world have taken to contain the virus. Under the banner, “Being Trinity Church,” we began with a discussion of our values as a parish, sharing in our several voices the essentials of what it means to be Trinity Church. Among others, we named that we are:
In the search of God in the beauty of our world and in the company of the Body of Christ
Undergirding these principles, we prioritized our primary, shared value of community: loving together, praying together, hoping together, sharing in beauty and service and worship together. This foundation strengthened us to make the necessary transition our changing circumstances demanded of us, helping us to make the fundamental shift in thinking from “How do we preserve the normalcy of our Sunday and weekday worship, formation, fellowship, and pastoral-care rhythms?” – to recognizing a different challenge entirely: “How do we witness our values and share the loving reassurance of Christ in a radically new situation, one that may persist for a time?”
Like other organizations and institutions, we struggled to get ahead of the constraint curve, that wave of new limitations crashing around us every day. As recently as Wednesday night, our Vestry met for its monthly meeting and discussed plans to pilot a virtual worship experience while keeping our usual Sunday schedule. However, by the time our meeting concluded, the President had announced new travel restrictions and the NBA had postponed its season, leaving our plans – devotedly developed and only hours old – out-of-date.
Therefore, our parish leadership, in coordination with Trinity Boston Connects (TBC), decided to afford ourselves the time and space to respond faithfully to our changing situation, and to ensure, as best we can, the health and welfare of our congregation and our city:
- We will gather online for a single, 11 a.m. worship service on Sundays March 15, 22, and 29. An invitation and simple instructions to participate will follow tomorrow (Saturday), and will be reiterated via a Sunday email.
- The Church and Parish House will be closed through Sunday, March 29. Therefore, all parish and TBC programs will not convene on campus. We will provide continuity of our communities through online instruments. A formation and small-group specific letter will follow this general message.
- We will continue to care for one another, offering pastoral care to any and all through a variety of means. A pastoral-care specific letter will follow this general message.
- Affirming the spirit and substance of our parish planning, we are grateful for Bishop Gates’ directions and recommendations that he shared in a pair of pastoral directives to the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.
Now, friends, with these gracious plans in place, take heart that we do not retreat to our respective bunkers to hide in fear and suspicion, nursing our grief and frustration over what we feel we have lost. Instead, we will continue Being Trinity Church in all times, in all places, and in all situations, seeking grace and finding meaning in these strange days, appreciating that we are taking these steps together, all with the shared intention to stop the spread of this virus and keep well our most vulnerable neighbors, known and unknown, near and far.
As we have done, let us continue praying God’s presence and healing mercy for those who are sick and those who are afraid; praying God’s courage and care for doctors and nurses, and for medical staff and scientists; and praying God’s wisdom and grace for our civic leaders and for us at Trinity Church – that we would find peace and strength in the knowledge of God’s Spirit with us, always. We pray for all of this in the name of our loving God in Christ,
Peace and Courage,
The Rev. Morgan S. Allen,