COVID-19: UPDATE FROM THE RECTOR, MARCH 13

Dear People and Friends of Saint Mary’s, 

Well, after that long, carefully crafted email I sent you just yesterday, the wardens and I have now decided to suspend all worship and all activities at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Newton for the next two weeks. There will be no in-person Sunday services on Sunday, March 15 or 22 (though see below!). Christ the King will also not hold services in our buildings, and AA (our largest weekly public gathering) will not be meeting here as well. Hills and Falls, the preschool that meets on our premises, has also suspended its activities. 

This is not a decision made lightly but with an eye towards doing our part in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Though we are smaller and thus are supposed to be less at risk, we also must take into account that our demographic skews towards those who are more vulnerable. We will reevaluate after two weeks. 

We will not leave you comfortless! 
This Sunday, March 15:

  • 10 a.m. Worship: I will stream morning prayer with a sermon on Facebook at 10 a.m. on Sunday. Kirsten will also be present so that you can hear some lovely music and sing a hymn.  
  • The Book of Common Prayer is online if you don’t have one at home! 
  • If you miss it live, an audio file and/or recording of the live stream will be shared so that you might pray and listen at your convenience. 
  • 11 a.m. Youth: Andrew will lead a meeting of youth (fourth grade and up) through Zoom this Sunday at 11 a.m. (note new time). The link is on the St. Mary’s youth webpage and here 

Thursday, March 19: Vespers at 7 p.m. 

  • Andrew will also lead Vespers online via Zoom this Thursday at 7 p.m. The liturgy will be displayed on the screen so that we can all pray together for our community and the world. The link is on the St. Mary’s youth webpage and here. 

Connect with Each Other

  • I encourage you to be in contact via phone and email with one another, especially with parishioners and friends who you are concerned about or who may not receive this email. If you are aware of a parishioner I should contact, please let me know. If you do contract COVID-19, it would be helpful to let me know, too. I will protect your privacy. 
  • Please contact me via email with pastoral concerns. If someone needs something like groceries and can’t leave his/her home, let me know. I won’t be visiting people in person since I don’t want to pass anything between different people. But there are TONS of options now–calling, video, texting. Be in touch!

But wait! There’s more! 

  • Do Faith at Home: This Episcopal, lectionary based website provides a prayer, Scripture, and prompts and reflections, for children to adults. It’s really good! 
  • Ways to Pray if You Can’t Get to Church: Daily prayers and resources (including a finger labyrinth!), compiled and curated by the Rev. Jo Kershew, priest in the Church of England

We will be providing more ways to interact and more resources in the days to come. I’ve been turning to this prayer these past few days. May you find some comfort in it, too.  


God of the present moment,God who in Jesus stills the storm and soothes the frantic heart; Bring hope and courage to us as we wait in uncertainty. Bring hope that you will make us the equal of whatever lies ahead. Bring us courage to endure what cannot be avoided, For your will is health and wholeness; You are God, and we need you. Amen.

Adapted from the New Zealand Book of Common Prayer

I know the back and forth is not ideal. I would rather run the risk of being an alledged flip-flopper than be part of the problem. Thank you for understanding.

Sincerely, 

Ann