Covid Sabbath - June 13 to 25
Back in March, the Bishops and Standing Committee of our diocese sent all the churches a letter urging us to take a "Covid Sabbath". You can read their letter HERE. While they asked us to take a couple weeks off in the first half of 2022, we knew we couldn't do so until Lent, Holy week, Easter, the Institution, the Confirmation, and Barb and Anna's services were planned and held. So we planned to take 13 days off the day after Confirmation. Our Covid Sabbath will run from June 13th-June 25th.
So what will Covid Sabbath mean for us? The letter suggests giving all clergy and church employees two weeks off to rest from two years of Covid pivoting. As such, Katy and I will be taking those 13 days away from all church work. Lynn does not feel she needs a Covid Sabbath as she is relatively new to St. Paul's, so she will be in the office 10 hours a week to field any messages that come our way. We will not have a vestry meeting in June, and we urge all of our volunteers and lay leaders to take some time to rest. Take a nap, read a novel, or go kayaking when you might normally be in a meeting or answering church email. Each group that might be scheduled to meet between June 13-25 should decide amongst themselves what the most life-giving thing to do is.
A couple teams will be very much "on" during the Covid Sabbath. Our Healing Prayer Team, led by Valerie Gaines, will be offering a healing service at 10am on Sunday June 19th at our regular worship time. I am deeply grateful to them for providing this balm to the souls of those who come to church that day. Members of our anti-racism group will be hopping on a bus on June 18th to go to the Poor People's Campaign March in Washington DC. For these teams, we encourage folks to find another time to step away for Sabbath. "To everything there is a time and a purpose under heaven"; it just doesn't always align with everyone else's time!
I want to acknowledge two points of imperfection in this Covid Sabbath. First, I know many of you have exhausting work that you have engaged every bit as deeply as Katy and I have engaged our work here during the pandemic. Many of you have been on (or closer to) the front lines of Covid, working in healthcare, schools, mental health, and various other emotionally/spiritually/mentally/physically draining vocations throughout these past couple years. You deserve Covid Sabbath too, and that may or may not be a forthcoming reality for you. If there is anything we can do to help you find Sabbath, please let us know. Secondly, Katy and I have unexpectedly been a bit absent from church these past couple weeks already as we have both been infected with Covid after having dodged it for two years. For about five minutes I considered rethinking the Covid Sabbath due to this unexpected set back, but I know that we need it and I know that St. Paul's will neither lose love nor momentum in this lull in activity.
I pray each of you can take some time to breathe, turn off your alarm clocks, follow your spirit through the day, inhale the ocean, nap in the sun, and know yourself to be beloved as a state of being completely separate from what you give, do, produce, or tackle in this life you live. Thank you for giving us this time to recharge and prepare ourselves for the exciting work ahead in a new season of ministry with you.
Yours in Christ,