Keeping the Faith: Notes from the Clergy

Keeping the Faith in a Time of Sickness: Notes from the Clergy

As the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on our community and our faith are felt, this page will serve as record of Rev. Luk and Rev. Heidi’s messages to parishioners and his guidance in these uncertain times.

05/01

04/24

04/17

04/12

04/03

Palm Sunday is next. Holy Week is here. And yet, the world today doesn’t feel ready to move into Holy Week. We all still feel in the desert with its dangers and trials. COVID-19 has changed our lives and our dreams more than we can express thus far, but we certainly can sense that this virus will inevitably have a ripple effect on our lives for years to come. For now, hold steady, reach out where possible, and connect with each other in the hope of our faith. The challenges we face – isolation, bewilderment, scarcity – we don’t face them alone. This is a chance to face these challenges together. One – in the scheme of things – minor question has been to stream or not to stream, that is our church services. Some clergy and churches convey strong feelings against. While I am certainly observing all safety regulations and take the virus threat very serious, of course, I also realize that the transition into this COVID-19 world has come to many as a shock, threat, and confusion. In this contexts, it feels grounding and comforting to have access to something that hasn’t changed completely: your familiar prayer space, that is the building of our Trinity on the Green. As human beings we are always connected to a place and some of these locations become a home base for our soul. Church can be one of these home bases that help us connect, with God, each other, and ourselves. As long as there is the option to stream from the church building, I, therefore, find it spiritually very nourishing to be present to you with prayer, in our church building. That physical place helps us to ground ourselves in a world that is completely in flux, to connect us with our own body and feelings, and to instill in ourselves the power of God’s compassion, peace, and holy comfort that we so need at this time. As we embark on this year’s Holy Week prayers, I look forward to join you virtually, whenever possible also through Zoom at our conference calls or in person. May the grace of our savior, the love of our God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit keep us all protected, safe and in peace.

03/27

I so glad we can connect with each other. We are all so isolated, suffering from cabin fever and getting tired of this whole virus thing. If it were not that real and present danger is lurking around the corner. I so hope that all of you are safe and well. You are so much in my prayers and I am sending you love and peace in this time of anxiety and viral threat. This is our third week streaming our services. I am starting to be a bit more comfortable to speak in front of a camera and only a camera. I have felt awkward about this, but we all walk in faith at this time. And your prayers give me great support. It is so important that we join each other in prayer. Because that is where we find our center at this moment. So join me here in prayer this Sunday morning. I should have made a note already about the rubrics in the bulletin, if you follow that while watching. You are most welcome to follow our prayer gymnastics of standing and kneeling or sitting. But I am very mindful that we should have updated our rubrics to include that you might be following us from your couch or bed or porch. Which is totally fine. Situating yourself within your comfort zone is very important a this point. To help us be connected at this moment I am inviting you, if you are able to do so, to light a candle, to join me with a piece of bread and a drop of wine, or two drops. This way we can celebrate communion, while not with regular consecration, then at least with a symbolic representation.

03/20

03/13 (Updated 03/27):

“We Are Here” – A Message from the Rector

“Lent 2020 turns out to be radically different from Lent in previous years. This year, humanity is facing a new type of test. We so wish there would be some magic halo of Christ that will fend off this nasty Corona virus. But that is not directly how God is our strength.

Strengthening Our Souls

Now that the COVID-19 virus has colored our lives darker, we are called to connect with the light inside of us. The challenges ahead are very real, but our faith in Christ can strengthen our response and guide us to become more human through this trial instead of less human. Connecting with the power of God in this hour is why I am here, why we are here. At Trinity, we have a whole community of people dedicated to expressing the love of Christ, especially in a time of trial, and to helping each other with the power of God’s light within us. Or inspired by this Sunday’s Gospel, we can help each other to connect with the source of living water in us, as a power for our daily challenged lives. Before detailing some upcoming changes at Trinity, let us connect with our Lord and Savior, our refuge and our strength in every trial and at every moment of anxiety. Let us pray for each other, pray for all people in need, in stress, all people who are affected by the COVID-19 virus, for those in isolation, quarantined. Let us pray for each member of our Trinity community.

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. Let the Church say: Amen. (For people critically ill, or facing great uncertainty, adapted from A New Zealand Prayer Book)

Protecting Our Bodies

While we find solace, strength and guidance in God and each other, we also need to take all precautions possible against the COVID-19 virus. In an email to our Presiding Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Mark Van Koevering of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington expressed poignantly the necessary decision to honor his Kentucky Governor’s request of religious leaders to suspend public worship with these words: I am loathe to cancel services, but I do support the Governor’s recommendation and think that I must humbly ask our faith communities to practice a Lenten fast of public worship this week as a sign of love for one’s neighbor especially the most vulnerable. Mindful of all the directives of the CDC, our Connecticut Governor, Ned Lamont, and our New Haven Mayor, Justin Elicker, we will proceed with Sunday services at Trinity through online streaming only. To access our services online please see the information below. Live streaming will cover Sunday services in abbreviated fashion. A small group of service leaders will be on-site to celebrate these Sunday liturgies. The church will be closed until further notice, and (almost) all programs are suspended until further notice. Please do not come to church. Our physical building will be closed for the foreseeable future. Through internet we will connect with each other spiritually. As schools are closed, so are our choir program and our children’s Sunday school program suspended until further notice. Our Tuesday Spiritual Fellowship, our Sunday Lenten speakers, or Sunday evensongs are suspended or cancelled. Holy Week and Easter will be celebrated in simplicity. Our traditional festive Easter celebration will be postponed to a Sunday later in the year, hopefully later in the Spring, when we can resume our regular services.

Building an (Online) Community

While gathering is part of our core mission and the Corona virus is forcing us to live in distance, we will organize ourselves to stay connected in many different ways. Each week, we will host a Trinity Coffee Chat, a Tuesday 12pm conference call, during which we can discuss concerns, questions, alert each other to people in need, or update each other about members of our community. This conference call can host up to 100 people. See details in the weekly eNews. We will also stream online organ meditations, poems of presence, mid-day prayer. Please check below details with dates and times. I am keenly aware that remote community connection over the internet requires, of course, a computer and an internet connection. And not everyone has access to these resources. At this point, I would like to launch a digital ministry at Trinity and call for your donation to help members of our community stay connected. Your donation will cover a basic laptop and an internet subscription for the members of our community who cannot afford this without your support.

Staying Connected with People in Need

Our crisis mode risks forgetting people in need. As the COVID-19 crisis in unfolding, we are already noticing how people who are suffering isolation, poverty, and marginalization, are paying a price. We have made the difficult decision to close the Chapel on the Green program until further notice, and redirect our energy to supporting food access for those who are in temporary shelter or quarantine. Meals will be distributed on Sunday, March 29, 2020 along with this informational resource, after which time CotG will not meet until further notice.

United as Community

The days and months ahead may be inconvenient or may turn out to be really trying. Whatever comes our way, this is a time to practice our faith that we are united as one body in Christ, that we are invited to uphold each other in prayer, and that we are called to be present to each other either through listening or through reaching out. Let us then call upon the Holy Spirit to protect us and inspire us so that we can stay connected and reach out in new ways that are needed now that we face the dangers of this virus: Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this time; for the love of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.” -Luk De Volder, Rector