Staying healthy and fighting the virus…St. Alban’s to suspend for two weeks

As I wrote to you yesterday, in tough times…wilderness times…such as the ones we acknowledge in Lent, we do not always know where we are. But we do always know who is with us.
God is in our midst, now and always.
Another key lesson we’re taught in wilderness times is that we are not in control. Consciously surrendering our desire to be in charge opens up space for God’s presence in our minds and hearts and actions. Surrendering our anxiety and trusting in God’s love makes space for us to be alive in that love–and take our own steps of loving.
Nothing has reminded me that we are not in control quite like the swift spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.
By surrendering our claim of control and being open to God’s call to love one another, we at St. Alban’s have been able to respond to this fearful time with love, and to make prudent choices.
I’m pleased we took initial steps in these past weeks to protect each other and try to keep our times together healthy.
Now that Governor Mills has announced the first presumptive case of COVID-19 in Maine and asked that all large gatherings be cancelled, I have decided to suspend all in-person parish activities and Sunday worship for the next two weeks. I’ve done this in consultation with Bishop Brown, other rectors, our St. Alban’s officers and associate rector Holly Hoffmann.
It is, of course, my primary duty as rector to offer the sacraments and serve God’s people, so this is a very difficult decision. I love being with you! And I appreciate that so many thoughtfully planned activities will need to be postponed. I regret this deeply. There will again be ‘a time for embracing.’
But I make this choice with a clear understanding that for now this is the best way to show love for each other and our neighbors–particularly those most at risk and to do our part in slowing the virus’ spread.
This is a choice grounded not in anxiety, but in love… and with careful listening to the science that tells us the best way to suppress the pandemic is to “flatten the curve” of the virus’ spread by reducing person-to-person contact, particularly in large groups.
Surrendering our anxiety to trust in God’s love makes space for us to be alive in that love…and take our own steps of loving…even in wilderness days. 
This choice is our way of trying to love each other even better.
In the days to come,
  • We will communicate on-line opportunities for formation and common support. We’ll try to be creative.
  • The office will remain open. The staff and I will continue in place.
  • We will prayerfully evaluate how to proceed after the two-week period.
  • I will be available to you every day by telephone, voicemail and email.
And we will pray together! Maybe not in the same room, but for the same healing grace of God to touch all people. I invite you to reach out to one another, particularly those who are alone or vulnerable, on the telephone or online. Connect in ways you might not have done before. Be creative! Be joyful. Do not fear. Take the best of care.
Remember, in tough times…wilderness times…we do not always know where we are, but we do always know who is with us.
We are in this together and God is here with us, providing strength and guidance and the awesome, reassuring gift of love.
In peace,
  
The Rev. Timothy A. Boggs, Rector

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St. Alban's Episcopal Church
885 Shore Road
Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
Phone: (207) 799-4014
stalbans@stalbansmaine.org