This Week's Pastoral Letter From Fr. Tom
In this first letter to the congregation of St. Martin’s I must give thanks. The warm and enthusiastic welcome from the members was surprising and wonderful to experience. My wife, Sianee (pronounced C-N-A), George my son, and Greg, my brother (who happened to be visiting the weekend of Feb. 23) felt the hospitality and care of the parish family. It was my first Sunday presiding at Eucharist with everyone, but March 15th was the first day I began the broader responsibilities as part-time priest in the parish. A beautiful welcome. I am grateful for all that organized our reception and made my first day a very good one.
The COVID19 crisis has thrown us into a new way of being a Church. For the foreseeable future we need to find ways of keeping connected and responding to God’s mission in a changing world.
While we get to know one another, I will work closely with your Vestry, especially Jeanne Percival and Amber Root. They have already been a great help to me in my ministry. We are in touch with Bishop Sean Rowe and his staff which are working with Church at large to provide virtual Sunday Services, as well as guidance in Church life. Our congregation is strong and capable so we must ask ourselves: Is there some way we could help others? A phone call to someone who lives alone. An email to those in your life that are vulnerable. If you can give blood safely, consider doing so. Simple kindnesses to people you see, or to whom you communicate are especially powerful during these anxious days.
Most importantly what undergirds any meaningful positive action is the spiritual strength you have from within. In the frenzy of crisis, remember to take time to care of your life in Jesus. Time in prayer: personal, and with family, is essential to keeping you on track and making decisions in wisdom. Especially in Lent, a brief read of Holy Scripture like in the Day by Day devotional. Pray for yourself, the Church, loved ones and those lives you touch and the world. Be encouraged by the Christians that made it through the Spanish flu of 1920, and all of the pandemics the Church has seen and responded in ministry throughout the centuries. I have included resources below, each has a digital version, which you can access at any time.
Let us hold each other in fellowship, intercession, and prayer as we act in God’s name during this time of trial.
May the grace of the Holy Spirit be with you,
Here are religious and spiritual resources that remain at your fingertips
*Stay in touch with the Episcopal News online: www.episcopalnewsservice.org
*Sunday and weekday readings: https://episcopalchurch.org/lectionary-calendar
*Forward Day by Day devotionals: https://prayer.forwardmovement.org
*You always have access to the Book of Common Prayer: www.bcponline.org
*Just pick-up your tangible Book on Common Prayer and Bible
*Some relevant BCP pages & Daily Prayer:
Morning Prayer: page 76
Noon prayer: page 103
Evening prayer: page 115
Compline (bedtime) page 127
*Special Prayer for healing and the sick: pages 458-461
*80 kinds of Prayers and Thanksgivings: pages 810-841
Don’t forget to sing! This little light of mine….Jesus loves me…This is the day…