Dear friends & members of St. Matt's,
What a long year this has been. More than a year, actually. There have been many gifts to this time. And I'm so grateful for those. And I can't believe it has been 15 months since we have been able to worship together in person. Thank you for your grace and patience. Thank you for staying with us and continuing to support us. Thank you for tuning in to coffee hours, adult forums, fundraisers, fellowship events, and worship. With God's help, we have survived this time together. And now, I believe we've come to the other side.
On Sunday, I shared with you at the end of worship that I have received new communication from our Bishops. In light of the Governor's loosening of restrictions, in recognition of the many who have been and are being vaccinated, and in thanksgiving for lower numbers of COVID cases, our Bishops have also loosened their guidance to us and to all of ECCT. They have acknowledged that we are entering a new season, and the loosening of restrictions from our Bishops will allow us to move forward into a season of in-person worship. Thanks be to God.
On May 23rd, the day that we celebrate Pentecost, we'll have our first in-person service in a little more than a year. This will begin a series of outdoor services on Sundays at 8am. By registering for a worship service, you are agreeing to follow safety protocols that will keep everyone safe. Among them, you will agree to wear a mask and maintain social distancing on our campus at all times in order to protect all of our friends and members; so that the vaccinated and the unvaccinated can worship safely together. There are members of the congregation who, for a variety of reasons, are not and will not be vaccinated. So, as a faithful community, we must be mindful of those among us who are vulnerable and continue to maintain these protocols.
Throughout the month of May, our regularly recorded service will continue to be streamed at 10am on Sunday for all to join. Then in June, we'll add an indoor service at 10am which will be live-streamed to anyone at home, taking the place of our recorded service. It's important that we keep in mind that not everyone will be able to come to worship each week because of attendance limits due to social distancing. However, between the two services quite a few of you will be able to come any given week. It's also good for us to prepare ourselves for the fact that things will be different than when we last gathered in person. All of this is laid out in the protocols you'll agree to when you register. Anyone who is unable to be with us in person will be able to access the 10am service online so that everyone can participate safely each week. This hybrid worship will help keep us all connected.
This will be our pattern for June, July, and August: an 8:00am outdoor service in the courtyard followed by a 10am indoor service in the sanctuary. Both will be capped, require registration, and for you to agree to do your part to keep everyone safe. Vestry members and officers well be on hand to help and to make sure that the protocols are being followed.
We won't be opening up registration for the indoor service until the middle of June because the first two Sundays will be special. On the first Sunday in June, we've invited our Seniors and their families to be in the sanctuary, to help lead the service, to be celebrated as they reach this milestone in their lives. And on the 13th, our Bishop Diocesan, the Rt. Rev. Ian Douglas will be with us at St. Matt's to confirm the last class of Confirmands who had to wait because of the pandemic. My hope is that case numbers in Wilton will be such that Bishop Ian is able to be in the sanctuary with our Confirmands for the service and that we'll be able to stream all of that to all of you who can't be there in person. As we're still waiting for cases to come down, this remains to be seen, but that is my fervent hope so that the whole community can watch and participate, joining in prayer for these wonderful young people. And, of course, I have a few surprises planned as well. After these two services, you'll notice the opportunity to register for indoor services on Sundays at 10am beginning on June 20th.
I've already laid out plans for our worship throughout the summer, for the entirety of my leave. And all will become clearer to you as registrations become available and the time draws near. However, my sincere hope is that you are as excited and hopeful as I am about the fact that it is time for us to begin gathering together in person. Keep an eye out over the next week or two for more information about how to register. Parents should keep an eye out for information from Sam about the youth beginning to gather in person this month as well with a few special touchpoints for our kids throughout the summer.
I'm grateful for all the gifts of this time, despite the many challenges. And for the ways in which we are stronger and more faithful than we were 15 months ago. I'm particularly grateful to our Choir, to our faithful team of Lectors, to the Officers & Vestry, and to everyone who was a part of our work over the last year (and a few months). It has been a long journey. God who is faithful and good has provided. And so have you. Thank you. Now, it's time to come home. And isn't that good news?
I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord!" (Psalm 122:1)
Tags: Welcome from the Rector