Dear fellow parishioners –
I am writing to update you regarding the operations of St. Mark’s considering the most up-to-date information on the Covid-19 pandemic. After consulting with the Bishop’s office (see his latest communique here), soliciting input from various medical professionals, and discussing with the Vestry, we have opted to indefinitely suspend gathering at the church for any non-essential activities. With the Day School electing to cancel classes so long as the Jonesboro School District remains closed, that presently means that until further notice the only activity physically occurring at the church will be a modified operation of Two Saints’ Kitchen.
Some may say this is an overreaction. To that, I say that now is the time to aggressively act to “flatten the curve.” If preventative measures are not taken until positive cases are present, it may very well be too late to effectively control an outbreak. I encourage everyone to do your part to help prevent a potential overload on the healthcare system by taking social distancing measures and staying away from others as much as possible. Credible reports regarding Covid-19 indicate that the virus may be most contagious among individuals who are infected but who are not experiencing symptoms. For that reason, this virus is not one that can be contained by simply asking those who do not feel well to stay home.
Unfortunately, doing our part means sacrificing and making unpleasant modifications to our routines. For that reason, we should all be especially sensitive to the social, spiritual, and emotional needs of our fellow parishioners during this time. I encourage everyone to stay in touch with your fellow parishioners with a call, text, or email to maintain community even when not physically present with one another. Also, if you intend to continue financial contributions to the church, please feel free to either give via tithe.ly or mail checks to the church office. Although office hours will not be maintained, we will be checking the church mail and visiting the office to take care of necessary business items.
I also intend to send a weekly email to update on various matters, share information regarding outreach ministries, and otherwise remain in contact. I will also send a link to a suggested online service for each Sunday that our hiatus continues so that perhaps all who wish to join can worship together by participating in the same online service. For the first week, I encourage you all to tune in to the Christ Church service which can be found at the following link:
Regardless of whether we meet at the building, or whether we connect and worship virtually, we are still the Church that is called to be a light in a dark world. I am very thankful for the Two Saints volunteers, and I commend them for their willingness to continue providing their vital ministry to those in need in a way that limits the spread of the virus. Depending on how things develop in the coming weeks, we may find ourselves being called to help in even more ways.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you are aware of any needs that need to be addressed. I will also forward Communique #904, which was just sent from the Bishop’s office, and which contains additional information regarding the pandemic and its impact on the church.
Until we can see one another again, I pray that everyone remains healthy and that God provides you comfort and peace.
Tom Haynes, Sr. Warden