April 2020 Reflections
April 1, 2020
Dear St. John’s Parish Family,
Grace and Peace in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
I hope and pray this finds you safe and healthy. As trying and difficult as these times are, we hold firm to our faith in our Lord’s unfailing love and provision for us, to be with us in whatever hardship or trial we face, and to redeem whatever suffering we might endure. Even as we journey through this most challenging Great Lent, we do so in anticipation of Pascha - the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in Whom is our own resurrection and life.
As these days of “social distancing” extend into the coming weeks, I urge us all to continue to reach out to one another in love and compassion, seeking tangible ways we may be of help to any in need. Call or text one another. Check in with someone whom the Lord lays on your heart and mind. Talk to someone you haven’t talked to in a long time. It’s more important than ever for us to be intentional about how we maintain and build community, as we are forced to be apart physically.
While we cannot gather together for our services, we are now able to live stream our services on Facebook. Presvytera Tina and I will continue to be together for services in the church, and you may join us via video for them. Our next live stream will be this Friday, April 3, at 5:30 pm, for Small Compline and Salutations to the Theotokos. We will also continue to live stream Divine Liturgy this Sunday, April 5, at 10:00 am. Please join us on the St. John’s Facebook page.
As Holy Week approaches, we are also planning to live stream all the services, beginning with Lazaros Saturday. Attached you will find the schedule of services for Holy Week.
In addition, we are creating a Zoom account, which enables us to gather together on line, with video and audio. I would like to begin a brief daily Evening Prayer service, where we could all be on line together to pray. I will be sending out more information about how to do this. Everyone who would like to be a part of this needs to download the Zoom app. I’ll give you more information once the account is up and running.
I also invite your feedback about how we might use the Zoom platform to continue to stay connected – perhaps an on-line Bible study – ideas? Interested? I would love to hear from you. Please let me know of your interest and ideas.
I know we have several of our parish family who are not on line, and therefore have no access to live streaming or Zoom. I ask that you please communicate to them what is going on, and to make every effort to keep them connected. Even a phone call to let them know what is on line would be helpful.
I would also direct you to a link to some prayers that we may pray during this time:
There are a lot of great resources out there. I would also encourage you to download the Daily Prayers App from our own Archdiocese, (goarch.org) available at the App Store. It provides daily prayers and readings, as well as readings about the Saints. Again, you can find this at the App Store.
I ask you to please keep me informed of any needs you are aware of. I am available by phone, text, or email 24/7. Communication is more important than ever. Please help us live into our life as the Body of Christ by making known the needs in our community.
Finally, I pray for your health and safety, and for that of your family and friends. I ask that we all abide by the prescribed guidelines set forth by our government, as a witness of our desire to be faithful Christians in our love and care for others. Our witness as followers of Christ during this time will remain long after this crisis is over. It is in such times as these that the Church provides hope, meaning, and healing, to so many who have no where else to turn. I urge us to rise to this challenge, and to do so in the strength of our Lord who brings light out of darkness, hope out of despair, and life out of death.
May God’s Everlasting Love, Grace, and Peace be with you all.