I don’t have the exact numbers at hand, but I am fairly certain that there hasn’t been a time since 1980 when the percentage of white mainline Protestants in the general population was HIGHER than the percentage of white evangelicals. That’s at least four decades – maybe longer. But this is a genuine shift away from white evangelicalism toward mainline Protestantism. | Diana Butler Bass
Bishop Craig Loya will visit St. Mary’s on Sunday, June 20th. Bring your lawn chair for a special baptismal liturgy in the Memorial Garden at 9:30 AM to welcome him. The Bishop will host a town hall style conversation at a reception following the service. Join us to give Bishop Craig a genuine St. Mary’s welcome!
We are following a plan to safely reopen our doors and worship in person. Our first priority remains the spiritual and physical wellbeing of our parish community. We are confident that, as Bishop Craig Loya has said, we are “learning to negotiate risk with love.”
Masks are no longer required for persons who are fully vaccinated. We encourage worshipers to use personal discretion and to respect the space and choices of those around them. People who are sick or exposed to someone with Covid-19 should stay home.
We recognize that everyone is not yet ready to resume indoor activities. For those choosing to stay safe at home or are otherwise unable to attend, we will continue to livestream the service on our YouTube Channel each Sunday.
At a recent meeting with clergy in charge of parishes, Bishop Loya gave us discretion to begin limited outdoor worship as of July 1. It is my intention to hold “Lawn Chair Liturgies” in the Memorial Garden at St. Mary’s beginning at 9:30 on Sunday morning, July 5th, weather permitting.
Our order of worship will be quite abbreviated, and there will be no celebration of the Holy Eucharist at this time. Worshipers will be expected to comply with all current disease transmission prevention guidelines including:
Stay home if you feel sick
Wear an appropriate face covering/face mask
Observe a minimum of six feet of physical distancing between household groups
We recommend you bring lawn chairs or a blanket to sit on — no chairs will be provided. Remember that the Memorial Garden lawn is a bit uneven and the grass may be quite wet from dew or overnight rain. Worship materials will be provided for one-time use each week.
For now, we will encourage everyone to depart immediately following the worship service. We may be able to stay for some form of a BYO coffee and fellowship time later in the summer if disease transmission levels continue to decrease.
The church building and Guild Hall remain closed pending authorization to reopen from Bishop Loya.
I have mixed feelings about gathering again, even outdoors. While I long to be together with all of you, I have an even greater longing to keep everyone safe and healthy. Most of us fall into the “at increased risk” category for Covid-19 infection. We are relying on you to follow our safety and health guidelines to protect yourself and others.
The danger of infection has not passed, and we must all be diligent in adhering to the disease transmission prevention guidelines. We may need to suspend outdoor worship if there is an increase in the Covid-19 infection rate in the future.
We know that some of you may choose to stay safe at home for a while longer, and we will continue to provide worship resources and pastoral support by email and telephone for the foreseeable future.
Stay safe, stay well, and I look forward to seeing you again soon!
Our Annual Harvest Festival Potluck Dinner and Dance is Saturday, November 2. Music by the Back Porch Band begins at 5:00 pm with dinner at 6:00. Bring your friends, neighbors, family and a favorite dish to share. Suggested donation is $10 per adult.
All proceeds benefit area food programs through Second Harvest Heartland Food Bank.