Dear People of St. Peter’s,
Just last night our bishops directed all parishes in the Diocese of North Carolina to suspend in-person public worship and other gatherings through May 17 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The situation continues to change daily, and I pray that this will soon come to an end.
Of course, this means we will not be able to physically gather as a parish community for Holy Week and Easter. Our parish staff are working harder than ever to develop creative ways to continue to offer pastoral care, formation, and worship, through live-streaming, pre-recorded videos, emails, phone calls, other uses of technology, and old-fashioned mailings. Thank you for your patience as we try to find the best way for all to be included and cared for.
In addition, the bishops’ directive does not allow for any pastoral visits during this time. The clergy and members of the pastoral care team are calling and checking in with parishioners in need. If you are in need of pastoral care please dial the clergy-on-call for pastoral emergencies phone line at 704-749-6175.
Holy Week and Easter will still be celebrated at St. Peter’s. The clergy and staff will gather by teleconference early next week to develop a plan for how we will livestream the Holy Week and Easter observance, and provide resources for all parishioners to participate from wherever they are. Due to the parameters set forth by Bishop Rodman, you will not see all of the parish clergy in the livestream worship at once. We are in a careful rotation to maintain necessary social distancing.
The vestry has committed to caring for our staff, ensuring that all hourly employees continue to be paid regardless of hours spent on-site. We cannot make this possible without your continued support and stewardship. Please stay current on your pledge and consider making a special gift as you are able.
The spread of this virus and these times of uncertainty will eventually pass. Keep the faith, hold on to that which is true, and pray for one another as we continue the work God has given us to do. And when we all gather again in a few months, we will celebrate with a big party in true St. Peter’s fashion!
I would like to leave you with a poem written by a colleague in Chicago. The Reverend Erica Takacs, rector of the Church of the Atonement, wrote this beautiful poem after the news that in-public worship will be suspended through Easter Day:
“A Coming Alleluia”
They say there will be no Easter this year.
No lilies to fill a bright room
with a fanfare of pollen.
No garden, no angel,
They say that our journey
born in sackcloth and ashes
will lead us at last
And so we sit worried
that the tomb, this year,
will be found, for once,
That Mary and the others
will leave with their spices
and come back home with nothing.
That this year the women will finally end their work –
anoint and then
Ssh. Be still.
Do you not hear her?
Clucking close by like an old mother hen,
brooding and sighing and
stretching her wings?
Fear not, she says,
for I did it before –
in the silence
in the dark
in a closed and locked room
in a world that had known
Did I not once prove
once for all
that there is nothing you can do,
no decision you can make
(for good or for ill)
that can stop
The Reverend Jacob E. Pierce, Priest-in-Charge