Responding to COVID-19

Responding to COVID-19

UPDATED: JUly 7, 2020 | 5:00 PM

Beloved,

I’m please to share a new offering from our Director of Music, Ben Gessner, called Choirmaster’s Corner. When Ben first arrived at St. Patrick’s and Our Saviour last summer, I asked him to consider ways to incorporate his learnings from his graduate program into ways we might access as parishioners. He made his first post just before the pandemic suspended our in-person worship. Now, in July and August, he will present a weekly video series of the same name. Take a deep dive into the planning and preparation for music, including historical and modern practices. Click above to watch the introduction and then join in weekly at Noon on Wednesdays, beginning July 15 to participate.

Yours,

Our Episcopal congregation asks you to pray for: Michael Dukes, Shavonya Wade, John Michael Rowe, Sharon Armbrust, Troy KIllete, Riley Driggers, Jake Fletcher, Pete Fletcher, Jenny Cochran, Kathy Butchart, Mitch Glausier, Charlie Hough, Cindy Blauck, Donna and Perry McClain, David Ponthier, Linda Adair, David Prisant, Tommy Skender, Stacie, Luana Shafer, J. W. Willis, Rev. Tar Drazdowski, Rev. Freeman Cross, John Sheffiel, Michael Brunson, David Ponthier, James Everett, Lindsey Bridges, Maxx Bourgeault, David Wiggins, Gail Chapman, Bob Parker, Carole Utlaut, Marybeth Tucker, Constance and Troy Petty, Harold Hatcher, Morgen and the Young family, Vanessa Bruce, Glenda Franklin, Caroline Williams, Linda Adair, Bob Gegg, Carlton Davis, Vincent Sneed, Savanna Esway, Emily, Tom Shapard, Lisa Farris, Pattie Inlow, Libby Pieplow, Darell and Ali Dunn, Mike Coutu, Sylvia Berry, Betsy Connell, Rick Goodburn, Carol Wilson Slappey, Kendra, Darrien Conley and Frances King, Nancy Swanberg, Jim, Tricia Moreschi, Helen Mercer, Marilyn Lose, baby J.D. Howard, parents of J.D. Howard, The Hudson family, Harris Povlot, Eudora Pundavela, Nancy Behringer, the family of Vera Spraggins, Jim Howard, Jerry Hines, , Joel Williams, Lindsey Drone, Bonnie Pittman, Cassidy Hill, Kathy Bishop, Al Seely-Wilson, Nova Fleming, Jennifer Bishop, Maureen Pate, Annie Jamerson, Chet Dreschel, Shannon Parcel, Bobbi Windham, Terry Tanner, Nancy and Dickson Alley, Michael Price, Richard Goodburn, Judson, Ron Andrews, Cindy Griffin, Donna DeReus, Patricia Haines, Ryan Smith, Sherrie Cowart, Vivian Fleming, Jennifer Freeman, James Hogan, Donna Willis, Michael Joiner, Donna Mc Kenna, and Evie Tsasis.

Our Lutheran congregation asks you to pray for: Paul (Pete) W. Jones, Pastor Charles Thompson, Cliff Ledford, Butch Tiell, Carolyn Taylor, Beau Borst, Becky Lamb, Lynn McCracken, Rick Wilson, Gail Lane, Jeff Allison, Rueben Bargfrede, Wanda Beasley, Annie Collins, Barbara Danzer, Vivian Fleming, Helen Frazier, Tom Fuchs, Dick Grebel, Winifred Harris, Gina Hayes, Griffin Hill, Becky Kimsey, Pat Landin, Verna Lanier, Christoffer Ober, Shirley Poole, David Reed, William Searcy, Donna Timmons, Jana West, George Weeks, Stacey Fleming Weeks and Elaine White.

UPDATED: JUly 4, 2020 | 8:00 AM

UPDATED: JUne 30, 2020 | 2:00 PM

Beloved,

Last week the Diocese released updated guidelines for congregations in planning and adapting for In-Person Worship (IPW). This has been a moving target during the month of June, and the Bishop has been responsive and collaborative in development of these guidelines.

Behind the scenes here at St. Patrick’s and Our Saviour, your Vestry and Senior Warden have also been developing our own congregational roadmap to return “safely and sustainably” to IPW. These have included both indoor and outdoor options for gathering and have been updated to follow the diocesan guidelines.

As of tomorrow, we are ready to ask for your input on where we should focus our efforts from here. It is not our intention to plan for something that misses your needs or hopes for this time. It is our intention to continue to provide a faithful and pastoral leadership to our congregation and community. While we are a representative group of the community, we really value hearing your feedback and response to our planning.

The first tier of this feedback will be released tomorrow, in an initial congregations-wide survey sent out by email and text message. We will follow-up with those who have not completed the survey through our Vestry to get as complete a picture as we can from where your own hearts and minds are on the church’s ministry.

In all things, we pray that our ministry has been faithful to living the gospel and serving Christ in one another. I continue in prayer for you daily and welcome any feedback for how we can better serve your faith in this time.

Yours,

Birthday:

  • July 3 – Ken Jones 
  • July 4 – Lee Couch and Scott Long
  • July 7 – Miles Hall
  • July 8 – Al Armstrong
  • July 9 – Ruth Fountain
  • July 10 – John Cumbee and Daniella Okafor
  • July 12 – Daniel Vanoteghem
  • July 13 – Tom Borst
  • July 14 – Thomas Clements
  • July 15 – LeConte Talley
  • July 27 – June Lewis
  • July 28 – Cherylen Lewis
  • July 29 – Lamon Brand.

Wedding Anniversary:

  • July 14- Patton and Teresa Jones

Anniversary of Baptism:

  • July 1 – Brian Williamson
  • July 6 – John Michael Rowe Jr.
  • July 7 – Sarah Arnold and Karen Dees
  • July 9 – Beverly Ziemiecki
  • July 12 – Bob Cerney
  • July 24 – Tom Shapard

UPDATED: JUne 23, 2020 | 2:30 PM

Volunteer Opportunity with Partner Ministry
The Fuller Center for Housing
From Albany Area Fuller Center for Housing:

 We will be helping a local Veteran clean up outside, in order for him to keep his home.  The home is on Berkley Court off of Oakridge.  A dumpster has been provided. We will start at 8 AM Friday morning.  We also need donations of work gloves, masks, safety glasses, bottled water and trash bags if anyone is interested in helping that way.  We will work again Saturday morning assuming we are not done Friday.

 Contact Stacey Driggers at 229-343-4393 with questions or more information.

UPDATED: JUne 21, 2020 | 11:00 AM

Happy Father’s Day!

UPDATED: JUne 16, 2020 | 2:00 PM

Sunday’s Drive-Thru Parade was a success! Congratulations to our 2020 graduates: Autumn Hart, Ellie Driggers, and Davis Jones! 🎉 👩‍🎓

*Contest*
Best Decorated Car Winner : Stacey Odom-Driggers

If you or members of your family would like to opt out of being photographed at other events,
contact Kelly Rowe any time at office@stpatricksalbany.org or during office hours at 229-432-7964.

Digital VBS  |  Next Week  |  Register Today!

REGISTRATION IS OPEN!⁣⁣


Beginning on June 22, the diocese will offer a digital Vacation Bible School experience. VBS will begin on Monday, June 22 and end on Friday, June 26. Our theme for the week is “Who is My Neighbor?” Each day participants will watch a video interpretation of a story from the Bible. They will begin with Jesus’ commandment to Love God and Love Neighbor, and the rest of the stories will help explore what that looks like, even if being a good neighbor isn’t always the easier choice.

The video resources, including Bible stories and Art Responses, have been created for this VBS by different youth leaders and clergy across the Diocese. Each day will begin with an opening Zoom session with music and worship, led by the Rev. Joshua Varner, Canon for Children and Youth. Then there will be a story time, an art activity, and end with more music and worship. Each video will be available on our Diocesan Youtube Channel and will be linked from the VBS website. Everyone is welcome to go at their own pace, or join the Zoom calls as we stream the story videos together and then talk about them. If Tuesday’s lesson looks more doable on Monday, then feel free to switch it up!

VBS will begin at 9:30am on Monday, June 22, led by Canon Varner. If you plan for your child to attend VBS, we ask that you register in advance if possible. Your registration helps them make sure they know the ages of the children participating and that they’re creating age appropriate content. In addition, it allows them to communicate directly with you with appropriate reminders and opportunities. To register for the week, click below. 

For additional questions, contact the Rev. Canon Joshua Varner at jvarner@gaepiscopal.org.

UPDATED: JUne 9, 2020 | 3:00 PM

Beloved,

I continue daily in prayer for you all during this time of pandemic and broader civic unrest. When you hear from or contact your vestry members, please give them your thanks for their leadership in this time.

As our Senior Warden, Joe Wingard, shared in his recent letter, we are in active planning as we adapt for in-person worship. I have asked Joe to chair our IPW Team (In-Person Worship), and he will be working with Vestry members and ministry leaders to plan and adapt with the mission of safely and sustainably adapting for in-person worship.

We expect Diocesan restrictions begin to loosen in the July timeframe, but not sufficiently, in the Vestry’s opinion, for us to attempt in-person worship in Diocesan Phase I. Our hope is to continue coordinating with other Albany parishes and learn from ecumenical partners who have different restrictions.

This morning, we held the funeral service for Larry Danzer, a beloved member of Our Saviour (and well known to many at St. Patrick’s). It offered us a look at some of the challenges and graces with pulling together when it matters most. His and Barbara’s long-tenured leadership and persistence at Our Saviour over the years should remind us of how much we can pull together to overcome this trying time. Keep the faith!

Thank you for your continued support and prayers for our congregations and our mission.

Yours,

REGISTRATION IS OPEN!⁣⁣


The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia is offering a digital Vacation Bible School, beginning on June 22. Join for the week as we learn more about what it means to be a good neighbor. Each day will have an opening session with music and worship, story time, art fun, and a closing session. ⁣

To register and find out more, visit http://georgia.anglican.org/vbs2020/ or contact the Rev. Canon Joshua Varner at jvarner@gaepiscopal.org. ⁣

UPDATED: JUne 5, 2020 | 2:00 PM

Bishop Frank Logue’s Visit to Albany

Trinity Sunday – June 7, 2020
10:00 AM | Facebook & YouTube

As the first pastoral visitation of his episcopacy, the Rt. Rev. Frank Logue will make a ‘virtual’ visit to the churches here in Albany, in recognition of the impact and hurt of the virus in this part of the body of Christ. All are invited to tune in to the Diocesan Worship service online to see our Bishop leading the service from our Sanctuary in what he hopes will be a healing and hopeful act of presence in the midst of our separation.

*The Bishop’s visit will also be in lieu of Evening Prayer on Sunday. Episcopal Evening Prayer will resume the following week, Sunday, June 14 at 6:00 PM.

Letter from the Senior Warden

Members of St. Patrick’s and Our Saviour,

While we have recently seen progress in addressing COVID-19, we continue to face uncertainty of the way ahead.  I want to ensure you that the leadership of St. Patrick’s – Our Saviour continues to monitor the COVID-19 trends as more and more restrictions are eased in the community.  Active planning is underway, exploring adaptations on how to safely return to worship with both indoor and outdoor scenarios.  This will be a topic of serious discussion at our next Vestry meeting.  We do feel confident to say the restriction on returning to worship won’t be lifted until at least the July timeframe.  

Both the local City and County leaders have put forth a joint resolution to encourage citizens to continue to wear masks, practice social distancing, and to follow all other CDC and Georgia Department of Public Health guidelines.  And as Georgia’s Governor lifts additional restrictions and reopens more previously closed parts of the state, please remember to continue to follow the aforementioned safety guidelines, check on your family and friends, stay safe and aware as you venture out more and remain informed and vigilant. Only time will tell how long this new normal will last.  And remember, expanded testing is offered to everyone, regardless of symptoms, by the Southwest Georgia Public Health Department. Please call for an appointment, 229-352-6567 and visit their website or Facebook page for additional information, www.southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org

The past couple months have reminded me of the movie “Passengers”.  In this movie a young man is a passenger along with many others on a spaceship headed to a new world with the mission of colonization.  All of these passengers are in “hibernation”, which prevents the aging process.  This young fellow awakens early, to find himself surrounded by others still sleeping.  It does not take him long to become lonely, and desperately seek ways to put himself back into hibernation.  The crew of a few robots just doesn’t cut it.  He seeks human companionship, to the point of finally bringing a young lady out of hibernation.  Things go well for him until she learns what he’s done to her!  

Similar to our situation, we have found ourselves in a form of isolation.  And even though I have the fortune to share life with a couple family members, there still seems to be something missing.  Daily FaceTime calls with our daughter and grandson helps, but it’s just not the same as being there.  All the members of our Back 40 Crew seems to relish the short time of fellowship we share after we complete our yard work.  We’ve learned it is human nature to enjoy the company of others!   

So keep communicating with each other, and keep up the faith.  Do not be discouraged.  Let us know if you need help with anything.  We’re ready to assist! 

In Christ,

Joe Wingard, Senior Warden

UPDATED: JUne 2, 2020 | 3:00 PM

I hope you all are doing well! Much like with Mother’s Day, COVID-19 is still present and disrupting worship and celebrations that we would all be having in-person together. With Father’s Day coming up, I have offered to do a similar ministry project to honor and celebrate our fathers and grandfathers and anyone who has taken on the “dad” role. Like previously, I would love it if you all could send me pictures (office@stpatricksalbany.org) of these people and include a short caption which details their name and possibly include who all they father/ed or grandfather/ed, etc. This includes a picture of you if you’re a dad! Pictures with children and grandchildren are encouraged, but solo portraits will work too (even in memory). I would like to have these in by Thursday, June 18th. If you have any questions or need help with this process, I am here to help.

Peace,
Kelly Rowe
office@stpatricksalbany.org

Birthday

  • June 1 – Spencer Williamson
  • June 2 – Erin Freeman, Seth Daniels, & Gabi and Gabriel Okafor
  • June 6 – Ann Young & Zoe Marie Shipley
  • June 9 – Bert Baranko
  • June 11 – Riley Driggers & Alan Seely-Wilson
  • June 13 –Bob Cerney
  • June 14 – Eloise Talley
  • June 17 – Andy Davis & Bonnie Walton
  • June 19 – Brantley Talley & Marcia Killingsworth
  • June 23 – Joan Northrop
  • June 24 – David Hogue
  • June 25 – Carolyn Brunson
  • June 26 – Tom Strickland
  • June 28 – Clay Sisson & Angela Szpak
  • June 29 – Joe Wingard.

Wedding Anniversary

  • June 2 – David and Celie Hogue 
  • June 8 – Randy and Leigh Ann Shipley
  • June 15 –Tom and Jackie Driggers & Joe and Erin Freeman
  • June 17 – Bill and Kay Ragan
  • June 21 – Tony and Tricia Moreschi
  • June 26 –Austin and Molly Arnold

Anniversary of Baptism

  • June 1 – Doris Alley, Danielle Arnold, Joyce Bridges-Judkins, Mark Brunson, Michael Brunson Sr., Larry Danzer, Joy Davis, Jackie Driggers, Hill Gillespie, Fran Kempf, Steve Kender, Kay Ragan, Barb Strickland, Jane Swanson, Steve Tanner, Anna Vong, Al Voss, Orva Voth, and Bonnie Walton (We also choose this day to celebrate those whose date of baptism is not recorded in our church register.) 
  • June 3 – Nancy Griffin
  • June 4 – John Griffin
  • June 6 – Carolyn Gay
  • June 10 – John Cumbee
  • June 11 – Laura Talley
  • June 14 – Lindsey Stewart
  • June 19 – Casey Perkins-Lawrence
  • June 29 – Kelly Rowe

UPDATED: MAY 26, 2020 | 3:00 PM


VIRTUAL PENTECOST SUNDAY SERVICE

Send photos of you/your family wearing red. These photos will be included in the video for Pentecost Sunday service. Send submissions to office@stpatricksalbany.org by Friday, May 30 at noon.
SAVE THE DATE!
Join us in celebrating the graduates from the Class of 2020 – Ellie Driggers, Autumn Hart, and Davis Jones!

UPDATED: MAY 19, 2020 | 3:00 PM

Beloved,

Even in the midst of pandemic, of suffering and uncertainty, comes the call to give thanks. For over 125 years, the United Thank Offering, a ministry of the Episcopal Church has provided grants across the church for the benefit of the gospel. The initial intention was to return gratitude to God by making an offering of loose change when giving thanks to God in our every day lives. 

In the past decade alone, the Diocese of Georgia has received over $230,000 in granted support for ministry projects such as the Ecology Center at Honey Creek, launch of the Community of St. Joseph consisting of the homeless of Savannah, as well as feeding and development grants.

Because of our unusual circumstances this year, you are invited to bring your blue box or a donation by the church Monday-Thursday 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM or Sunday from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM. You can also mail a donation indicating “UTO” in the memo line. We’ll take our Spring Ingathering through the last two Sundays in May. 

Simply put, our giving to the UTO “cup runneth over” as we grow our generosity in these 100% granted funds across the church. I hope you’ll join me in saying thank you through these gifts of gratitude.

Peace to you,

Partner Ministry Feature

Updated: May 12, 2020 | 2:00 PM

Joe Wingard, Senior Warden and Vestry Member, and Fr. Nick present highlights of the May 2020 Vestry Meeting.

Birthday
May 2 – William Ragan Jr.
May 3 – Jordon Knight
May 4 – Casey Perkins-Lawrence
May 8 – Gabriel Lawrence
May 9 – Ava Mc Donald, Ian Sakura-Lemessy and Beverly Ziemiecki
May 10 – Gil Gillespie
May 13 – Jay O’Neil
May 14 – Jim Kempf and Cathy Stocks
May 19 – Kaidin Burm
May 20 – James Clements
May 22 – Dana O’Neil
May 23 – Peggy Hamlin 
May 24 – Carmen Moore, Jo Cerrone, Jan Dukes and Tim Davis
May 25 – Ellie Northrop 
May 28 – Brent Driggers, John Griffin and Ed Northrop

Wedding Anniversary
May 3 –Tom and Orva Voth
May 6 – Jim and Fran Kempf
May 8 – Larry and Barbara Danzer & Grant and Jennifer Combs
May 9 – Hill and May Gillespie & Uzoma and Toyin Okafor
May 22 –Michael and Carol Brunson

Anniversary of Baptism
May 5 – Ann Bolton
May 9 – Mary Shapard
May 18 – Clay Sheffield and Catherine Talley
May 25 – Kristi Baranko and Lee Ann Burkart

Updated: May 5, 2020 | 4:00 PM

Beloved,

Some of you may be familiar with the high holy day of American capitalism known as Black Friday, which follows Thanksgiving Thursday. In recent years, a Cyber Monday was added as an online shopping day for more deals on items we likely don’t need. Finally, a group of nonprofits launched an idea for #GivingTuesday on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. It serves as an informal start to the most generous time of giving for the entire year for causes we care about, the Christmas (or Advent) time.

In the middle of the pandemic, this organization decided to sponsor a #GivingTuesdayNow campaign to call us to give to those organizations that are working the gaps of the government’s response to Covid-19. Today, Tuesday, May 5th, I’m pleased to share several organizations that have received gifts of $100-250 out of our Deacon’s Discretionary Fund due to your generous giving before and during the pandemic, as well as in honor of Diana’s retirement. I hope you’ll join your church in giving to these or other organizations today for that gospel imperative of serving Jesus in serving the least of these. Thank you all!

Yours,

Updated: May 1, 2020 | 2:00 PM

Beloved,

I greet you in the name of our Christ as we enter this month of May. It is sad, perhaps, when I can barely keep up with which day it is how a new month is such an event! May holds some very special events this year, even as we still observe shelter-in-place guidance and a suspension of in-person worship. Our Interim Parish Administrator wants your help for a project she’s working on for Mother’s Day, we’ll start some more church activities geared to our families with young children, and by the end of the month, we’ll have a new Bishop and celebrate Pentecost. My hope is this May 1 brings you something to look forward too as we read with the psalmist, “I lift up my eyes to the hills, from where is my help to come? My help comes from the Maker of Heaven and Earth!”

Yours,

I hope this message sees you all well. Due to the current environment and COVID-19, we aren’t all able to meet and celebrate much of anything together. Mother’s Day is coming up, and I need your help for a ministry project. I want to create a presentation/slideshow/video that will honor our mothers and grandmothers and anyone who has taken on that “mom” role. I would love it if you all could send me pictures (to office@stpatricksalbany.org) of these people and include a short paragraph which details their name and possibly include who all they mother/ed or grandmother/ed, etc. This includes a picture of you if you’re a mom! Pictures with children and grandchildren are encouraged, but I love and will accept a beautiful solo portrait too (even in memory). Because it will take some time to put together, I would like to have these in by May 7th (next Thursday). If you have any questions or need help with this process, don’t hesitate to ask – I am here to help.
Peace,
Kelly Rowe
office@stpatricksalbany.org

Beloved, one of the things about working for the Kingdom is that there will always be more to do and in the end, it is really God’s work accomplished in us. Many of you know my efforts at being available to you most any time when needed. In addition to this, the Vestry has given me feedback about publishing stable ‘office hours’ to be available for walk-ins. While I encourage us to continue observing health guidance, I wanted to offer a way we could offer office hours during the pandemic. Unfortunately, it can’t truly be walk-in right now for safety reasons, but please don’t hesitate to give me a call during these times on Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:00 AM – Noon (Call ahead to 864-923-4263). I’ll either be on the porch at the church or at my house. We can make space for most anything on your heart. – Nick

Surprised By Hope
New Bible Study Series
Wednesdays at Noon (Zoom)

“Hope Comes as a Surprise, Several Levels all at once.”

Join Fr. Nick for this video study series by Bishop N.T. Wright. Order or download the Participant’s Guide for this Study from this link: https://smile.amazon.com/Surprised-Hope-Participants-Guide-Resurrection/dp/031032470X/

Family Fellowship
For Families with Young Children
With Fun and Lesson
Tuesdays at 6:00 PM (Zoom)

Join Fr. Nick and others for some Church Family Fun and a Lesson on Tuesday Nights at 6:00 PM via Zoom. Families with Young Children will receive a separate Zoom invitation to join the meeting safely and securely.

Updated: April 26, 2020 | 2:00 PM

Beloved,

Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

It is my great joy to announce the newest member of our team, Kelly Rowe, who will serve us as Interim Parish Administrator. Kelly brings to us a background in writing and photography which will fit our growing needs to communicate in the digital age. She also brings a servant’s heart and passion for the ministry of the church. Kelly came into the Episcopal Church because of St. Patrick’s. She and her husband, John Michael, now attend Calvary Episcopal Church following their move to Americus last year.

Our hope is to utilize Kelly’s gifts during the interim to learn more about how this position can support the ministry of the church in a post-virus reality as we prepare to conduct a search for a permanent administrator. Kelly will start with us Monday, April 27, working with Diana to orient her to a training resource that Diana has developed over these past few weeks. Asked about Kelly’s hire, Diana said, “Kelly will be great, and I know that you all will show her just how wonderful and gracious you are!”

My gratitude to Aida Cerney, Lesia Irvin, and Joe Wingard who serve on the hiring team. They adapted quickly in light of the changing needs for an interim and will stay on board for the full search. 

I hope you’ll join me in welcoming Kelly to this position and partnership in ministry. See below to read a note from Kelly.

Yours,


Kelly Rowe, Interim Parish Administrator

Hello friends at St. Patrick’s and Our Saviour,

I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to serve you all as interim parish administrator. It’s exciting to know that I will be working for and with a community of people who are near and dear to my heart. I look forward to meeting some of you and continuing to grow in love and faith with all. It is my hope that I can make this transition between administrators as smooth and easy as possible for you all. I’m aware that I’m taking on a pretty big challenge – because, as we all know and are grateful for, Diana is incredible and does quite a lot! If any of you have questions or ideas, feel free to float them along to me. I am open and eager! And finally, to answer some of you: yes, I’m that Kelly who is married to John Michael – the red-head with the deep voice who sang in the choir before we moved to Americus. It’s my personal goal to make more connections with you during my tenure.

I love you all and can’t wait to get started!

Peace,
Kelly Rowe

Updated: April 24, 2020 | 5:00 PM

Beloved,

Grace and peace be with you! I write today to share, in as brief a way as this pastor can, some thoughts surrounding the church’s continuing social concerns and outreach ministry in the coming days and weeks in our state, in our community, and for our congregations.

I want to start by admitting, humbly, that the numbers I’ve seen in the news are beyond my mind’s comprehension. They are important(!), and yet I find that trying to understand them is exhausting most days. My heart, on the other hand, hurts because I’ve known someone who has died, because I know some of you have lost your jobs, because we are hurting, and the world is hurting. Our world needs and will need, post-virus, the loving and compassionate ministry of Christians through the church.



I…beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
– Ephesians 4:1-3

Even as my brain catches up to my heart, I recognize that decisions must be made in real time. I don’t envy our public or political officials, even as I pray for them fervently. In our various outlets of public communication, some of us have addressed the matter of ‘choice’ in terms of going out and getting our hair cut or nails done (and y’all see how badly I need a haircut). Yes, it is our choice to go out or stay in, and wisdom prevails for vulnerable individuals* to stay home. And, as robust a response as the government has taken to this crisis, there remain gaps for the economically vulnerable whose business, whose wages, whose livelihoods, yes even their lives, may be on the line. This is one of the ways the church (and other nonprofits) should be ready to respond because our lives in Christ are more than our livelihoods.

For those who have less choice, I want to personally appeal for your help. Our discretionary funds have been sustained through previous disasters and are ready to support people now. If you are aware of a family or person in need, including yourself, please refer them to me. We don’t have all the monetary resources in the world, but what we have was given for this purpose, to support those in need (and some of you have indicated a willingness to donate more if needed). Now isn’t the time for ideological rigidity…the virus doesn’t discriminate. We as the church can support those who have needs, who can’t safely return to work, and make sure the barber, esthetician, etc. has a cushion to land on and rise from when it is safe to do so once again.

Finally, in-person worship remains suspended as a policy of the Diocese. In the coming days, we’ll share a press release from the Bishop with some forward-looking guidance for the criteria he is considering for a return to in-person worship by region. Your Vestry will be working with those guidelines and additional measures as we plan and prepare for a safe return together. We will communicate more in the coming weeks about a safe and sustainable return to worshipping together in person. Thank you for your patience and prayers.

May you know the peace that surpasses our understanding, and may it guard you hearts in the knowledge and love of Christ.

Yours,

*https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/#appendix


Dear Friends,

I hope that you are all well and safe. Your Vestry and Rector are taking a proactive approach to ensure our health through the crisis. Fr. Nick asked me to provide you with a brief and transparent update with the financial response of the parish in the midst of the pandemic.

1. Because of your generosity, the church remains in a strong position to enter a time of economic crisis. While giving was down in the first quarter of the year, our reserves have provided enough money to continue our essential ministries. We are sharing our balance sheet for the first quarter, which does not yet account for the decline in our investments. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or our Treasurer, Sam Stringer.

2. Thank you for responding to the Senior Warden’s letter to keep current, as able, in your giving. In addition to mailing your tithe or making a gift online, I’m pleased to announce that our Treasurer, Sam Stringer, will be at the church from 11:00 AM – Noon on Sundays to receive your offerings if you wish to drop them off. You should receive a quarterly giving statement from the church at the beginning of next week by email or mail.

3. PPP/CARES Act: The church was approved for a Paycheck Protection Program ‘forgivable’ loan through Renasant Bank for approximately $25,000 in the first round of funding. Over the next 8 weeks starting in May, the portion of this loan spent on personnel, mortgage interest, and utilities will be forgiven and help our cashflow through July. Because of this, we’ll be able to return our team to full hours and pay for May and June.

If you have any questions at all about our finances, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. JoAnne and I are praying for health and safety for you all.

Yours in Christ,

Steve Tanner, Chair
Finance Committee

"Because of your generosity, 
the church remains in a strong position to enter a time of economic crisis."
- Steve Tanner, Finance Chair

Updated: April 20, 2020 | 4:00 PM


From the Rector’s Desk


Beloved,

I write today to share the news of our beloved Diana Rogers’ retirement on April 30, 2020, after 20+ years of faithful ministry as our parish secretary. Some version of this letter has probably been started by my two predecessors as the idea has come and gone over the past few years. However, there is a quality of faithfulness that Diana has to the Lord, and to the Church (within and beyond her own tradition), that kept her prayer and discernment focused on the right time for this decision. She has been the steady rock in our leadership transitions, and for her forbearance, there is much rejoicing in the Kingdom of Heaven.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. 

– Ecclesiastes 3:1


One of the first conversations I had with Diana after arriving was about something with the computer and bulletins. I had asked her what she does when something doesn’t work right (as technology is bound to fail), and her response: “I look it up.” I give thanks to God for that quality in her, where curiosity, practicality, and fidelity make for a good and faithful disciple and partner in ministry. Y’all, Holy Week and Christmas, church week in and week out and just about everything else receives the joy and competence she has brought to us so lovingly. 

I know you all have lived these stories with her over the years. In so many ways, she has been the first pastoral care giver, the voice you knew you could hear when you called the church, and she has held us in many seasons and “every matter under heaven.” In another time, we might say to ourselves that we could celebrate her better. But in a “time to refrain from embracing” physically together, I hope you will join me in giving thanks to God for the ministry of Diana Rogers. I hope you’ll email, write, or call or show her love in these next two weeks. We will announce staff transition plans in a separate communication. (See her note on below.)

In lieu of the customary purse we give to departing team members, Diana has asked instead for us to contribute to the Deacon’s Discretionary Fund. In talking with her, she said she wants our gratitude to return to the Lord and help people who need it most. While we have benefited most from her faithful ministry, I invite your generosity so that others may do the same.

With gratitude for the ministry of Diana Rogers,


Dear friends of St. Pat’s and Our Saviour,

As you most of you know, and to those who do not know, I am retiring.   As this has not been an easy decision for me, I believe at this time, it is the right one. This is not a “goodbye”, as we will continue to see each other out and about when this is all over: Publix, Target, Walmart, Lowes, Starbucks,  Newks,  doctor & dentist offices, and DW school events.

I want to say that I love each and every one of you. It has been my blessing to be with you all at St. Pat’s and Our Saviour.  I could fill pages of memories that we have shared together over the years.  You have been a wonderful part of my life and so many of you hold a very special place in my heart as dear sisters & brothers in Christ. 

Thank you for the kindness, grace and love given to me over these many years.

The Lord bless and keep you all,
Diana


Updated: April 17, 2020 | 11:00 AM

Beloved,

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

We have all now come through what I hope will be the strangest Holy Week and Easter of our lives. We have gathered in our homes and online to hear again the saving deeds of God in history and looking for deliverance in our own time.

Even as we come through this first week after Easter, we remember that the church observes Easter for 50 days(!) remembering that the resurrected Jesus appeared to his disciples before his ascension to the right hand of God and finally the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

As you continue to experience the changes in your own lives, so as the church do we continue to adapt and look for ways to share the Easter Joy in this different time. Your Vestry met on Monday to discuss our response and forward looking planning for our ministry in this season. Above, you’ll find a recap of our meeting with Aida Cerney, Junior Warden that I hope you’ll find helpful and meaningful. 

We continue to stand ready to support and serve the community. As mentioned in the video, there are so many of you serving in your own ways, with gifts and sharing for the sake of the suffering and those who relieve suffering.

Look for more announcements at the beginning of next week as we continue in Eastertide. I am here with you and for you in all of this.

Yours,

Updated: April 9, 2020 | 4:00 PM

Letters from Rector and Senior Warden


Updated: April 3, 2020 | 5:00 PM

Holy Week Schedule

Daily
Compline at 8:00 PM from St. Patrick’s

Palm Sunday | April 5
Episcopal Palm Sunday with Sermon at 10:00 AM from the Diocese
Lutheran Palm Sunday with Sermon at 10:00 AM from Holy Cross, Athens
Virtual Coffee Hour at 11:00 AM on Zoom
Episcopal Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM from St. Patrick’s
Holy Week At Home Booklet

Wednesday in Holy Week | April 8
Lutheran Vespers at 6:00 PM from Our Saviour
Episcopal Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM from the Diocese

Maundy Thursday | April 9
Episcopal Maundy Thursday at 7:00 PM from the Diocese
Lutheran Maundy Thursday at TBD
Holy Week At Home Booklet

Good Friday | April 10
Stations of the Cross at Noon from the Diocese
Episcopal Good Friday at 7:00 PM from the Diocese
Lutheran Good Friday at TBD
Holy Week At Home Booklet

Holy Saturday | April 11
Holy Saturday at 12:00 PM from St. Patrick’s
The Great Vigil of Easter at 8:00 PM from the Diocese

Easter Sunday | April 12
Episcopal Easter Sunday at 10:00 AM from the Diocese
Lutheran Easter Sunday at 10:00 AM from Holy Cross, Athens
Holy Week At Home Booklet


Updated: March 28, 2020 | 5:00 PM

Worship Schedule Updates

Worship Schedule  |  Online Services from St. Patrick’s and Our Saviour
After announcing a service schedule last week, the Diocese announced simultaneous livestream offerings with us. We will observe the following complimentary Worship Schedule:
 

Sundays
Episcopal Morning Prayer with Sermon at 10:00 AM from the Diocese
Sermons offered by Lutheran Synod
Virtual Coffee Hour at 10:45 AM on Zoom
Episcopal Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM from St. Patrick’s

Wednesdays
Lutheran Vespers at 6:00 PM from Our Saviour
Episcopal Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM from the Diocese

Weeknights
Episcopal/Lutheran Compline (in development)
Led by Parishioners
Contact Fr. Nick if you are interested in leading Compline 1x/week

Virtual Coffee Hour at 10:45 AM Sunday

Join us Sunday at 10:45 AM for a Virtual Coffee Hour on Zoom with Fr. Nick. You can find the link on the website by clicking on the event: “Online-Coffee Hour”. Hope to see many of you there!


Updated: March 26, 2020 | 2:00 PM

A Message from our Senior Warden

Fellow Parishioners of St. Patrick’s and Our Saviour,

As might be expected during a time of uncertainty, monetary giving has decreased over the past two months.  This is due, in part, to the loss of opportunity to physically contribute offering during scheduled services.  And also as a result of the recent, sudden downturn of the economy.   And unfortunately, in the first year of our new treasurer, a few accounting entries were recorded erroneously within the increasingly complex accounting system previously used by our church, which led some to withhold their tithes awaiting corrective action.  These accounting errors have been corrected and addressed by the hiring of a CPA who assisted in the implementation of a new simplified accounting system, as well as the Vestry approving the resourcing of our Treasurer with assistance through a new Assistant Treasurer position and through increased bank and investment account reconciliations and a new Audit Chair on the Finance Committee. To be clear, the Vestry is committed to transparency and recognizes our part in supporting the treasurer and the countless hours of dedication to our finances.

Our giving for February was 27% under budget.  Giving in March is also continuing to not meet budgeted amountsdue to the interruption of worship services.  In light of our reduction in income, I would like to take this opportunity to stress the importance of our giving as we battle COVID-19, and encourage those who may have refrained from such, to catch up and to return to continuing their regular giving as able.

Here are a few ways you can give and support the church.

Gifts and tithes can be 

  • mailed through the Post Office, 
  • placed in the church mailbox, 
  • made online at http://www.stpatricksalbany.org
  • made by texting “give” to 229-384-0050
  • Online bill pay is a free service provided by most banks, and usually allows one to set up automatic payments on a set schedule.
  • Donations to the discretionary fund for emergency support can also be made at all of these places, specify “Deacon [or Priest] Discretionary Fund” in the memo.

Your Rector and Vestry understand that some in our congregation may also be facing financial hardship in this time. Please be in touch with Fr. Nick if your family needs assistance or if you need to delay or adjust your pledge for the year. The discretionary funds exist especially for times such as these.


In the meantime, courses of action have been developed by the Wardens in collaboration with the Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair that reduce spending.  The following courses of action have been or are being implemented:

Expenses

  • Mortgage:  The new mortgage agreement reduces the monthly payment by $800.  This savings assists in meeting financial obligations.  
  • Electricity:  Thermostats within the buildings will be adjusted to reduce electricity consumption while allowing for continuity of minimal operations.
  • Bill Payments:  Current practice is to pay bills as received.  During the existing crisis, bills will be paid by due date.  
  • Diocese Tithe:  If needed, delay payment for up to 2 months.

Personnel
For all of our personnel, we are committed to caring for them and working with them individually if there are other needs, and the way we do that would not include paying them while not scheduled to work. The benefit of being a church is that we have more than just a employer/employee relationship, and they will be included in the same survey assessment of needs that has been sent to the congregation.

The following actions pertain:

  • Choir Director/Organist:  Allow use of 4 annual Sunday PTO (paid time off) to be used now, vice quarterly.  Explore possibility of use of technology for long distant recording of choir members on a ¼ time basis, which represents a cut in compensation by half until services resume.  
  • Nursery Director/Assistant:  Allow Sunday PTO to be used now, vice tertilely. Furlough during crisis.
  • Contract Cleaning Person:  Reduce cleaning from one cleaning/week for each building to one cleaning/month.
  • Parish Secretary: Status Quo for now. Although the Church Office is closed, secretary working on vital projects for after crisis. Vestry will continue to monitor and determine whether reductions may be prudent.  
  • Rector:  Status Quo for now. Crisis situation has lessened some of the Rector workload, while greatly increasing other.  Vestry will continue to monitor and determine whether reductions may be prudent.  

It is hard for some of us to talk about money.  But in times like these, it is necessary.  I hope you receive this note in the spirit intended, that is, to make our congregations aware of the situation, to advise of ongoing actions, and motivate us towards giving in support of the church we love.

Yours in Christ,
Joe Wingard 


Updated: March 24, 2020 | 4:00 PM

Worship Schedule Updates

Beloved,

“Be of good courage, hold fast to that which is good.”

The above quote comes from a blessing found in the 1892 and 1928 editions of the Book of Common Prayer, and it is a blessing that our Bishop, Scott Benhase, has used in his episcopate this entire decade. I hope that it gives you some inspiration in these longer and longer days of physical/social distancing. Our faith is rooted in the idea that we strive to hold fast to that which is good, to God, even as our faith reminds us in our inability to do that well, God always holds fast to us. Being of good courage in these hours (and hours) looks like doing less rather than more, a prescription God obeys after the making of the whole creation and ask us to do the same. How have you thought of our current restrictions as requiring of us good courage?

Worship Schedule  |  Online Services from St. Patrick’s and Our Saviour
Our continued restrictions calls for some regularly shared worship opportunities digitally. With the varied offerings from the Diocese and other parishes having bugs to work out, Fr. Nick has decided to offer a fixed offering of services until further notice (keeping in mind, we might discover our own bugs). The following will be offered:

Sundays
Episcopal Morning Prayer with Sermon at 10:00 AM on Facebook Live
Lutheran Vespers at 6:00 PM on Facebook Live

Wednesdays
Episcopal Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM on Facebook Live

Weeknights
Episcopal/Lutheran Compline (in development)
Led by Parishioners
Contact Fr. Nick if you are interested in leading Compline 1x/week

All videos will also be kept for watching later at the same links when provided.

Holy Week and Easter

Worship Schedule  |  Holy Week and Easter
The clergy of the diocese received the following from our Bishop, Scott Benhase, earlier this week:

With new information coming from the CDC and from the Presiding Bishop’s office…as much as it grieves me to decide this, we need to cancel in-person worship for Holy Week and Easter. We still are on the upside of the curve and until we are on the downside, we must do this. Therefore, the Diocesan Staff will work to livestream the liturgies of the Triduum and Easter Day. Stay tuned for more information.

I remember something Bill Stafford+ told us in Church History class nearly 40 years ago: The world was held together by the payers of the faithful to God during the darkest days of the Middle Ages. And now as well.

-The Rt. Rev. Scott Benhase, Bishop of Georgia

As previously stated, we will monitor the Diocese’s plans. Fr. Nick is working on developing an offering of the Stations of the Cross as well as other ways to experience Holy Week and Easter from home. He attended a webinar offering by his alma mater, Virginia Theological Seminary, and is partnering with Lutheran Worship Planners, The Rev. Drs. Gordon Lathrop and Gail Ramshaw to help all of us to experience well this critical part of our faith as an Easter people of the Resurrection. More information to come by early April.

Study and Prayer

Study and Prayer  |  Online Options Forthcoming
Beginning this Sunday, March 29, we will return to offer our Lenten classes.

On Sundays at Noon, we’ll offer the study “Entering the Passion of Jesus: A Beginner’s Guide to Holy Week” via Zoom conferencing meeting software. A link will be published in an email later this week.

For our Wednesday Class on “A Spring in the Desert, Canon Logue has offered a link to the videos and study guide for his class, which are available here: https://georgia.anglican.org/about/bishop-elect-frank-logue/a-spring-in-the-desert/ These are not for public sharing, but only for our parishioner use with the devotion published for Lent 2020. This will be a self-guided study and please call me if you have questions or would like to arrange any discussion groups.

I am interested in offering other tutorials and offerings during the week. If others are interested in collaborating with me in any way, please let me know.

Pastoral Care Updates

Pastoral Response Update  |  Vestry Check-ins to Each Parishioner
We have heard back from over 70% of the parish in our rapid response survey and through vestry phone calls. Thank you for your generosity! Thus far, we have had the following needs identified and connected with the help offer:
3 request conversation partners, connected with 15 who offered (coordinated by Marian White).
2 request meal delivery assistance, compared to 7 who’ve offered (they are being coordinated by Fran Kempf and Leigh Ann Shipley)
1 special need with diapers, which have been delivered

Pastoral Visits Limited  |  Suspension of Holy Communion Distribution through March 31
With guidelines from the Whitehouse relating to “15 Days to Slow the Spread”, we will continue to limit in-person pastoral visitations to gatherings of less than 6 people and suspend the distribution of Holy Communion through March 31 beginning tomorrow, subject to further updates. Those desiring in-person visitations or pastoral visitations with communion may use a rite of “Spiritual Communion” said together with me. Please let me know.


Updated: March 20, 2020 | 11:00 AM

A Message from our Senior Warden

Fellow Parishioners of St. Patrick’s and Our Saviour,

We are all experiencing anxiety and concern over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. News reports on COVID-19 never seem to stop, and roller-coaster from “gloom and doom” to “nothing to worry about” can confuse even the smartest of us. I’d like to take a moment to reassure you that your church and members of your Vestry and Rector care about each one of you, and are there to help you through this time of trouble.

Nothing is more important to us than the mental and physical health and safety of our congregation and our community. Therefore, as you know, we have cancelled in-person worship services and continue to work to provide online opportunities. And we are working to stay in contact with each of you, in order to check on you and determine if you need assistance in any way. Each of you will be receiving a telephone call weekly until the “all clear” is sounded throughout our nation.

In the meantime, continue to follow guidance of health officials, who continue to emphasize the importance of hand washing. There is a general shortage of hand sanitizer, so use soap and water which is very effective. And I recommend turning off the TV and radio and spending some time outside, enjoying the nice weather God has sent us! All the rain we’ve had this winter has led to a bumper azalea crop, so get out there and enjoy them!

All of our thoughts are with those who have been affected by the coronavirus. The outbreak has created uncertain times, but we want to assure you that we remain focused on taking care of you. Talk with each other, and help each other as you are able. We will get through this together and come out a stronger congregation!

Yours in Christ,
Joe Wingard

Updated: March 19, 2020 | 4:00 PM

Beloved,

We all continue by faith in these days of pandemic and disruption. Please know that my daily commitment is to the human/pastoral response you need from your leadership right now. We are adapting swiftly to shift our model of church, which is humbling, in this time of social distancing and virus spread. Here are some updates that I am offering today, in consultation with our Senior Warden, Diocese, and the Episcopal Church, and mindful of continuing updates to come from our local, regional, and national leaders and public health officials.

New Restrictions for Dougherty County  |  (begins tomorrow) March 20-27

  • All gatherings of more than 10 people are banned, including church services.
  • Parks are closed.
  • Restaurants can only serve take-out, drive-thru, and delivery meals.
  • All entertainment venues are suspended, including theaters and bowling alleys.
  • All gyms are closed.
  • All grocery stores and retailers can only have 25 percent store occupancy and no more than 50 people inside at a time.


Pastoral Response Update  |  Vestry Check-ins to Each Parishioner
Your Vestry has committed to weekly verbal check-ins and offerings of support and prayer during this time. Working with the Senior Warden, I have designed an action plan and care call guide to support connecting needs with those who can help. Please look for a survey after this email is sent to let us know your needs and how you are doing. This will get worse before it gets better, so let’s keep being the church and connecting with one another. This is also a great time to write letters, make phone calls, and connect with people in your life, in our congregation. 

Worship  |  Online/Live-Stream Only through at least March 29
With guidelines from the CDC asking us to restrict gatherings of 50 or more people through May 11 as well as updates from the Diocese and Presiding Bishop’s office, we are suspending in-person worship through Sunday, March 29, subject to further updates. Instead, we will soon announce a schedule of worship services available online as a live-stream or for viewing at a later date. Some of these services will be in partnership with local, regional, and national parishes, such as the Evening Prayer service offered tonight at 6:00 PM on the Diocesan Facebook Page.

Pastoral Visits Limited  |  Suspension of Holy Communion Distribution through March 31
With guidelines from the Whitehouse relating to “15 Days to Slow the Spread”, we will limit in-person pastoral visitations to gatherings of less than 6 people and suspend the distribution of Holy Communion through March 31 beginning tomorrow, subject to further updates. Those desiring in-person visitations or pastoral visitations with communion may use a rite of “Spiritual Communion” said together with me.

Study and Prayer  |  Online Options Forthcoming
Because of this extended period of social distancing, subject to change, I am looking for ways to offer courses of study and prayer in this interim time. I will have more information regarding these updates at a later time.

Peace to you,

Updated: March 15, 2020 | 10:00 AM

Beloved,
In relatively short order, we were able to livestream a service of Holy Eucharist for the Third Sunday in Lent. We will announce future service offerings in advance, likely in collaboration with other local and regional churches. Thank you for your patience with us in this disruption to our worship life together. Also a big thank you to those who worked hard to pull this together, including Ben Gessner, our Director of Music, and Lenn Lewis, lector and videographer.

Updated: March 13, 2020 | 3:30 PM

Good afternoon beloved,

I want to enjoin you in prayer and response to the ongoing issues surrounding the coronavirus. I write to share an update with you regarding our response to Coronavirus. All Christians are called to care for the most vulnerable among us. We intend to do what we can to protect persons most vulnerable by playing our part in “social distancing” or the limiting of contact person to person during pandemic levels of viral spread. After consulting with the advice of local health officials, our Senior Warden, and our Diocese and Synod, we are announcing a suspension of all gatherings through the next two Sundays, subject to continued assessment, effective today, Friday, March 13, 2020. There is a growing consensus among epidemiologists that earlier action will lead to a return to the ‘new normal’ more swiftly. More details on the specifics of our decision are below:

St. Patrick’s Dinner | Take-Out Only | 5:00-6:00 PM

The St. Patrick’s Dinner will proceed on a take-out basis. Tomorrow, Saturday, March 14th, take-out boxes will be available to pick up from the church from 5:00-6:00 PM by coming into the parish hall.

Worship | Suspended

Until further notice, all in-person worship services and meetings of more than 6 people will be cancelled. We will monitor this and provide updates week by week as we anticipate returning to a modified or full schedule. Fr. Nick is working on solutions for live-streaming of services, and recommends parishioners visit our Ministry Partner Forward Movement, which publishes the popular daily devotional: Day by Day.

Distribution of Holy Communion | By Appointment Only

Distribution of Holy Communion will be provided at home and at church (in groups of 6 or fewer people) following the Book of Common Prayer’s “Communion Under Special Circumstances.” Do not show up to church this weekend unless you have made a reservation for private distribution. You must schedule a time for communion. Call Fr. Nick at 864.923.4263 or click on the button below to make an appointment as follows:

  • Sunday Mornings | 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM | Reservation Required
  • Wednesday Evenings | 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM | Reservation Required
  • At Home By Appointment

Other Events | Suspended through March 25th

Other events outside of this window will continually be reassessed and announcements made as soon as possible to support planning.

Pastoral Response

Your Vestry and Rector are committed to a comprehensive pastoral response to those in our community and beyond. St. Patrick’s and Our Saviour will continue to care for our parishioners and one another during this time of dispersion. We know how to be in community without being under the same roof. We will be touching base with each parish family at least once/week through this time starting this Sunday, March 15. If you need anything at all between our check-ins, please call Fr. Nick directly at 864.923.4264 or email: rector@stpatricksalbany.org


Updated: March 12, 2020 | 11:30 AM

THIS is why things are being cancelled due to #COVID19 in one perfect picture. It is NOT because people are getting hysterical or because they believe the virus is so deadly they are panicking. It is because we only have so much capacity to deal with lot of very sick people. If we can delay the spread by keeping people away from each other, we have a chance to help more people effectively and not overwhelm hospitals and infrastructure. There are only so many nurses, doctors, hospital beds and pieces of equipment to help people that may eventually get virus related pneumonia. 

Several of you have shared this image on your Facebook Pages. It is a concept called “Flattening the Curve”. Fr. Nick, along with parish and diocesan leadership, are actively monitoring information from local health officials on when it might be necessary to suspend certain or all gatherings. We are not quite there, and when we get there, I can’t say how long it will take for that curve to flatten. We are committed to safety and health, physically and spiritually. Please check here and on our Facebook page for more updates.


Updated: March 11, 2020 | 4:00 PM

Fr. Nick sits down with Alan Seely-Wilson to discuss the issues related to the Coronavirus at St. Patrick’s and Our Saviour.

Beloved,

I want to enjoin you in prayer and response to the ongoing issues surrounding the coronavirus. Earlier this afternoon, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared this a pandemic in response to the spread of this new virus.

Earlier this afternoon, I sat down with Dr. Alan Seely-Wilson, who has both studied viral illness and served in clinical settings during the height of the HIV Epidemic, to discuss some of our responses here locally. You can click on the link above or button below to view this video. I want to offer some responses that have been initiated by the Vestry and myself that come into place for now. If there are additional guidances, we will communicate them broadly.

Pastoral Availability
No matter what or how you feel about this virus, please reach out to Fr. Nick if you need help in prayer, in concern, in frustration, in anxiety and need someone to talk to or pray with or visit. He can be reached by email: rector@stpatricksalbany.org and by phone: 864-923-4263

Presence of Illness
It is highly likely that the illness is already present in Dougherty County. There have been fewer tests available, depending upon the geography, but please know that we are taking these precautions assuming, reasonably, that the illness is already or soon will be present in our area.

Ongoing Events
St. Patrick’s and Our Saviour will continue with all currently scheduled events, including Sunday Worship, Wednesday Activities, the St. Patrick’s Dinner this Saturday at 6:00 PM.

Feeling Ill
If you feel ill or symptomatic, please plan to stay home, follow health guidelines, and contact Fr. Nick directly if you wish to receive communion at home.

Adaptations for Worship and Gatherings
Hand Sanitization
Upon entry to the Sanctuary and upon entry to communion, a member of the Vestry or Usher will offer Hand Sanitizer. This isn’t mandatory and washing your hands is better, but please heed this encouragement for your personal hygiene at key moments in our worship. Altar ministers and Altar Guild will continue to sanitize before serving, as has been our practice.

No Water in the Font
Until further notice, we will remove the water from the baptismal font in order to prevent possible spread through this universal solvent.

The Common Cup
We will continue to use the common cup at St. Patrick’s. We will shift to the metal vessels due to their antiseptic-like quality and the continuing strong research that show no indication of spread through the common cup. Ministers will continue to wipe the interior and exterior rim of the chalice between communicants, use of care to rotate the cloth during use, and use of a clean cloth for each chalice.

Intinction
The practice of intinction (by minister or communicant), will be suspended until further notice.

Eucharist in One Kind
Receiving Eucharist in one kind only is perfectly appropriate and spiritually is exactly the same as receiving both. We do not have to receive both bread and wine to have had Communion. If you have any concerns about the common cup, simply receive the bread.

The Peace and other personal interactions
Strive at the peace and in personal interactions to refrain from shaking hands or hugging (which is hard for this southern boy), including before or after services. In place, you may simply bow or use the peace symbol. Also, if someone gels after shaking hands, now isn’t the time for personal offense. The goal here isn’t to be unfriendly or inhospitable, but rather to do all we can to ensure each other’s well-being.

Offering Plates
Ushers will not pass the offering plates during communion. Instead offering plates will be stationary for you to place your offering upon entrance to the Sanctuary or to communion. You may use a giving envelope or fold your gift to ensure anonymity. If you need information on how to make a gift electronically, you may contact the parish office or click here.

Cleaning of Surfaces
We will work with Latressa to ensure the following surfaces are a part of her increased awareness. During her cleaning, she will sanitize door handles, pew tops, restroom handles, locks, and faucets, and importantly, the altar rail with cloths and a sanitizing cleanser.

Closing Thoughts and Invitation to Peace
Lastly, there is no need to panic despite all that you may be hearing on the news. The risk of being infected with Covid19 is still low, and vulnerable or immune-suppressed populations should receive additional guidance from your doctor. Being infected does not automatically mean that you will have contracted a life-threatening illness. Follow the common sense measures set forth by the CDC and then beyond that, do whatever of the above makes you feel safe. In the meantime, we pray for those who have contracted the virus and for those working to keep us safe from it.

Peace to you,


From the Diocese
“Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Jesus said these words to the disciples as he walked toward them on the surface of a storm-tossed Sea of Galilee. In all our times of doubt and uncertainty, the Holy Trinity is present with us as Jesus said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” This remains true even as we are inundated with news about the COVID-19 virus.

In this time of uncertainty, how do we respond?
First and foremost, the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization guidelines are clear and should be followed. These include the oft repeated counsel to wash your hands frequently, clean all frequently-touched surfaces, and stay home if you are sick. The complete information is online here:

CDC’s updates: http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/
WHO’s updates: http://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Epidemiologists agree that COVID-19 is here to stay. This new virus will infect the entire country to a greater or lesser extent in time. The goal for now is to slow the spread of the infection so as to not have our health care system overwhelmed. Bishop Benhase says, “The most important point for all clergy in charge of congregations: You do what you think is best for your people. I trust your respective judgments.”

As Bishop Benhase has said, “Let’s love one another, pray for one another, and not give into anxiety.”

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