Lent, Holy Week, & Easter: A Coronavirus Update.

Update 4/4/2020: Holy Week at Home Kits were distributed April 3&4. You can make your own! See our Holy Week at Home page for all details about worshiping at home during Holy Week.

Update 3/29/2020: We are preparing Holy Week at Home worship Kits for our members. If you are not a member and would like one, please click here to sign up or text KIT to 360.810.3292 . The Kit will include directions, liturgies for at home, items necessary (e.g. palms for Palm Sunday), and instructions for connecting with the St. Christopher’s community during Holy Week and Easter. We look forward to worshiping with you!

Dear Ones,

I’ve received notice from Bishop Rickel of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia that all diocesan congregations will remain closed to the public through Holy Week and Easter.

This has not come as a surprise to most clergy, including myself. And I have been talking with my colleagues about backup plans prior to this announcement. So here is our plan…

  1. Our building will remain closed to the public during Holy Week and Easter. We do not know yet when normal congregational worship will resume. We are taking this one day and one week at a time. However…
  2. Online Worship Continues. We will continue to broadcast online worship using Facebook (no account required) and Zoom (please download here). I am so pleased and grateful to announce that the ELCA has given us a grant for nearly $800 in video equipment to continue our online ministries. We give great thanks for this added blessing!
  3. Worship at Home. We encourage you to pray, read and study Scripture, and worship at home. To this end, we will provide helps and instruction, especially for Holy Week and Easter. The four Biblical places of worship for the Church were at the Temple, in the Synagogue, individually (alone), and in the home. Worshiping at home is nothing new to our faith.
  4. Outdoor Worship. We will provide suggestions for worshiping outdoors, especially using St. Christopher’s outdoor Labyrinth and outdoor Stations of the Cross. Keep in mind, social distancing is required at all times (6 feet apart, please!). And we are saddened that we cannot safely make restrooms available to you. However, the outdoor church grounds are open.
  5. Congregational Easter. When this shutdown is over and the majority of our congregation is eligible to gather together for worship, we will have a Maundy Thursday & Good Friday service on a Saturday afternoon and then a BIG Easter Celebration on that Sunday, including Easter egg hunt and other celebratory activities. To be clear, this will happen on a weekend that is not the actual date of Easter. And so our first gathering back together with the majority of our congregation, regardless of what time of year that is, will be our congregational Easter complete with Maundy Thursday/Good Friday celebration the evening before. We do not know when we will be permitted to gather safely again, so we cannot yet plan for a date. But we’ll be ready for it when the opportunity comes.
“But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” – Jesus (in Mat. 26:29 KJV)

In the mean time, remain faithful in prayer, study, and worship. Make extra efforts to reach out to others and stay connected to your spiritual home. Hold on to hope and give it freely and tangibly to those in need. At all times and in all things, let Love rule over your thoughts, over your words, and over your deeds.

Easter will come.

In Christ Jesus,
Fr. James+

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