St. Jude’s COVID-19 Response Update: March 13, 2020 from St. Jude’s Covid-19 Task Force
To Our Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Much has changed since the note we sent out on COVID-19 only two days ago. Yesterday, Bishop Lucinda sent out guidance to clergy in the Diocese of El Camino Real which is consistent with our own independent analysis of the current situation, and is reflected in the temporary changes we are making in our community life, which can be summarized as:
- We will suspend public worship services for the remainder of March and offer a live-stream service at 9:30 am for each of the following three Sundays, please do not come to church. The link to the live stream is https://saintjudes.org/ and the bulletin can be found at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1CNwNkwQ6gTSFcCjShDp17Uv0T3aahFwe/view
- Other church related public gatherings will also be suspended for the remainder of March.
- The activities of some ministries will be reduced, and we foresee the potential need for new ministries to be created.
- The Safe Park program will continue, with some modifications.
- We are in the process of contacting our tenants and working with them on an individual basis.
We have brought back an old institution, the telephone tree, and over the weekend we will be making calls to all members of the congregation. In addition, both Bruce and Stephanie will be available for pastoral conversations remotely (by phone, text and email) for all, and for in-person visits in cases of critical need.
What follows is the process we went through to determine the actions we have taken, and some additional details about the actions we are taking. Ultimately, our goal is to protect members of our community and prevent or slow down the spread of the virus.
Given this fast-moving situation, on Wednesday leadership at St. Jude’s formed a COVID-19 task force to address the situation in a more focused way. Based on the available information, it was unanimously decided by the task force that we needed to take further, drastic steps in order to protect members of our parish from COVID-19. Consequently, we will be implementing major (temporary) changes to our worship services, ministry activities, and community life.
For the remaining Sundays in March, we will not be holding public services, so please do not come to church. We will go forward with streaming Holy Eucharist (this week online at 9:30 am since the Eucharist is already in place and proceed with Morning Prayer II (from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer) for the last two Sundays of March, also at 9:30 am. We wish to encourage maximum community participation–at a distance–whether through “live streaming” or private worship at home in a “holy stream” of prayer. The Morning Prayer liturgy will be available online and sent by mail next week to those who normally receive communications by postal mail. The link to use in order to watch the live stream is https://saintjudes.org/.
The morning prayer service is very suitable for doing at home, either alone or with your family or one or two others if you are unable to attend the streamed service on-line.
In terms of our ministries, some will be on sabbatical (such as Lay Eucharistic Ministers). At the same time, we see the potential need to create new ministries to meet the additional needs we think will arise in the coming few weeks (such as a Pastoral Ministry).
As a result of the pandemic, our community life will change from one of being with one another, to one of supporting each other in challenging times. We think there will be a need to set up systems to check-up on one another’s well-being, and to help others who may find themselves in quarantine by doing things such as shopping for them.
Some readers of this letter may think the task force is overreacting to the current situation. However, given the most recently available data we have seen, let us assure you that this is not the case. The best way to slow the spread of the virus is through social distancing. The forms of social distancing we are adopting for St. Jude’s reflect the current practices of our diocese, our neighboring Episcopal dioceses, area schools and major universities. We are happy to share the sources that led to our collective decision.
We are currently informing current classroom tenants of the situation. Some we will ask to go on a hiatus until the current threat passes, others, such as Live Oak, we will continue to accommodate as best as possible. In addition, the Safe Park program will continue through April.
While the proposed temporary changes in our community life will be challenging, not making them would likely be extremely painful. Moreover, given the very fluid situation, they will likely be amended further.
God’s Peace be with you and this congregation,
Dan Putler, Junior Warden and Task Force Chair
Beth Leonard, Senior Warden
The Rev. Bruce Bramlett
The Rev. Stephanie Green
Response by Bruce Bramlett
March 6, 2020
Dear Fellow Parishioners at St. Jude’s,
I am sending this latest communication out to all of you just in case you haven’t read it yet. We here in the parish have begun to put these suggestions in place. Dan Putler, our Junior Warden, will be taking the lead in bringing the appropriate people together to address theses issues and I can assure you all that we will do all that is within the realm of prudence to assure the safety and health of everyone who uses our campus. Please take all your own personal precautions as we try to keep our community safe.
Yours in Christ,