A Message from the Rector, Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Dear St. John’s Family,

The more things change, the more they stay the same, it seems. Both change and continuity seem to be before us right now. Some parts of life are moving back toward normal right now, with restaurants, hair salons, and retail stores get back to business. Some Christians are gathering for worship again, particularly our Roman Catholic neighbors. Plexiglass shields will be between their priests and people at Communion, and all will be wearing masks as they gather in gyms and halls, six feet apart. There are hints in their practice as to what we may have to be content with when our time to gather comes.

As it stands now, our bishop has suspended in-person worship through May 31 and will consider options for enlarging in-person worship when DHEC has posted 15 consecutive days of declining numbers of positive COVID-19 tests. We have had some days of consecutive declines, always followed by a day or more of increase, for some time. It is hard to speculate when that point may be reached. I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Our worship life continues online, as do Bible studies and opportunities for fellowship. We’ll do what we can by these means as long as we have to. Please stay involved in the Body of Christ in these ways, trying as they may be. And experiment with them as you need to. I was with my family instead of at church last Sunday, when Fr. Scott was preaching. When all had been rustled from their beds and fed at 9 am, we worshiped using parts of the 8 am service recording. I had the boys read the lessons and then we listened to Fr. Scott’s good sermon. Then we prayed for the church and for the world, and I was pleased to hear my sons pray from their hearts. Think about what you might do to nurture your own spirituality and that of your household with the resources St. John’s is providing. One size doesn’t have to fit all.

We may need a measure of your understanding in the days ahead, as Michelle Rabon completes her long and faithful service as our Director of Parish Operations. We will post the position for applications this week but will be without a lead administrator for a while. The restrictions on our ministry make this a better time than some to be short-handed, but we will miss Michelle’s steady hand in the days ahead. I know you will be understanding of any bumps we experience. If you haven’t, please let Michelle know how much her work has benefited our ministry. I look forward to seeing the difference she will make at Still Hopes.

Most of St. Paul’s letters to young churches conclude with a section of exhortation, in which he encourages them to fight the good fight, to run with endurance, to discipline the will and the body. Philippians 4 says, “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” We are in such time, a time of keeping on keeping on and remembering what was and what can be again, in the great goodness and love of God.

Think on these things and keep on doing the things you have learned and received in Christ. Nicholas+