March 21: Reaching and connecting — even while sheltering in place

From the Rector
Dear friends in Christ,
What a week it has been! I am so hearted to see all the many ways you are reaching out to one another, getting creative, and insisting in word and action that the church is far, far more than a building. If this first week is any sign, we will do beautiful and worthwhile things together in the coming season of physical separation, and I am awed by your faith and commitment to the common good.
As many of you have heard by now, we will be continuing with Sunday worship offered by life-stream but not in person until at least May 10th; you can read Bishop Marc’s latest communication here. Thankfully, even under the new state-wide shelter in place order, government officials have given faith communities permission to gather a small team of people to make that live stream happen, with the provision that they be under 65, in good health, and that as much as possible, the team remains the same from week to week, to minimize exposure. My heart hurts as I sit with these restrictions, as our diversity of voices is such an important part of who we are as a faith community. And, I understand the reasoning, want to do our part to help flatten the curve, and am very grateful that we still have a way to offer this more robust form of live streaming on Sundays.
This extended time apart raises many questions. The two that I am hearing most are: “But what about Holy Week? What about Easter??” The confluence of these dates and the need to stay apart is sad and difficult. I don’t know exactly what it will look like yet, but I can tell you that we do not have the option of moving Holy Week and Easter, we will be observing these holy days, and I trust that every bit of this great story is still true for us, no matter how spread out we may be. I am already gathering with colleagues (by Zoom, of course!) to share resources and imagine how we can enter fully into these great days, even from different places. And. Rest assured that whenever it is we can be back together again, we will celebrate with all the bells, all the whistles, and every last stop pulled out.
I know there is going to be a learning curve for all of us in the coming weeks, as there already has been. I’m grateful for everyone’s patience, flexibility, and graciousness as we learn many new ways to be together, and quickly. Things may continue to change as we discover more, but for the time being, we’ll be planning on gathering in these ways:
- Sunday Worship: Join us at 10:15 am on Facebook Live for the Liturgy of the Word (the first portion of what we usually do on a Sunday morning). We’ll be streaming this from the new Facebook page (separate from our Facebook group, though we’ll post it in the group as well.) The benefit of this change from last week is that anyone can watch it there, even without a Facebook account. Just go to in your web browser on Sunday morning and it should pop up. The digital bulletin will be available on our website and on Facebook.
- Lenten Program, Soup + Story: Join us on Tuesday from 6:00 – 7:00 pm for conversation, reflection and prayer. We’ll be gathering on Zoom:, or call 1-669-900-6833 and enter the meeting number
885-723-176. For instructions or help getting on, email Rev. Liz.
- Prayer Requests: We will share the prayer list in the digital bulletins, but listing first names only except for those who have died. Please send these requests to Tracy, at And, some members of the Healing Prayer Team are also making themselves available to pray over the phone with anyone who might need it. Please reach out to Laura Gianello if you would like someone to pray with you over the phone, and one of them will respond soon.
- Compline, Wednesday at 7:00 pm: Amanda Szakats will be hosting a church gathering and Compline (the last prayer service of the day) on Zoom on Wednesday, March 25.  If you are new to Zoom, it might be helpful to tune in at 6:45 to learn how to use the technology.  At 7, we will have “breakout rooms,” small groups where we will discuss how we are all doing. Compline will begin at 7:15. Have your prayer book handy and open to p. 127. If you don’t own a prayer book, here’s a link: 
Here is the link to participate in Zoom:, or call 1-669-900-6833 and enter the meeting number 642 862 9617.
Friends, I know these times are exhausting, frightening and stressful. It will take a while before we have anything resembling new routines, let alone normalcy. And we are in this together, and we will get through it together. Please reach out to me or to one another if you need extra support, and please see below for some of the ways we are beginning to organize ourselves to respond to these times with love.
You all remain in my prayers.


Ready to Help!
As we settle into the new reality of social distancing and sheltering in place, many needs are arising in our community. We are organizing ourselves to respond to these needs. Those who are older or who have underlying health issues may not be able to go out to get what they need, parents who have children out of school may need some emergency childcare, and so on. For those who are under 65 and totally healthy, please share your availability on this Google form to help with various needs as they arise. When someone reaches out with a need, we will then email this team we are creating (that you are signing up to join by filling out this form) to match someone to meet the need. Under the governor's order, there remains the provision that we can leave home to bring necessities to others, and we aim to meet those needs as safely as we can. For those who do need to stay at home, there are already a few ways to plug in and help, and we are working on more. (And welcome your creativity here, too!) Thanks so much for your generous spirits!

Food Barrels
As you probably know, we are trying to fill 13 food barrels for the Monument Crisis Center over the course of Lent. The need is now greater than ever, and with the church building closed for gatherings, we have to get a little more creative! You can now drop off food on the porches of the following vestry members’ houses: Neil Crawford, Vidah Johnston, Sheila Hassell Hughes, and Amanda Szakats. We are also looking for more folks to take barrels home, both to make them more accessible for our members and also for neighbors to contribute. Please let Rev. Liz or Neil Crawford know if you’d like to take one. Thank you!

Labyrinth Sign-Ups
Thankfully, our government still deems outdoor exercise to be an essential activity. Our labyrinth remains open and available around the clock a place to walk and pray. And, in the hopes of making it easier for people to practice safe social distancing, we are encouraging folks to sign up for times to use it. This is not a guarantee that it will be empty when you’re there, but with the orchard available as well, there should be plenty of room to spread out. You can sign up for slots here.

Invitation to a Remote Writing Group
Dear Church Family,
We, the Vestry (the church board), have been brainstorming ways to keep us all connected as shelter-in-place orders take effect in the Bay Area.
With that in mind, we would like to start a “writing group” made up of people who are willing to send out hand-written notes, letters, or cards to other members of our parish family. This is something you can do from your own home. What a wonderful way to care for one another even though we are not able to gather together!
Are you willing to send out letters, cards, notes, drawings, cartoons, or such to others using your own supplies and stamps? This is a great opportunity for your children and youth to connect to other church members.
Would you like to be on the team? If so, please contact me to be added to the list of “writers” and receive your list of contacts. Respond by Monday, March 23rd. Then we will get started!
These are most unusual times for us; but we are the Church, whether we meet in the building or pray from wherever we find ourselves. Now is a great time to spread God’s love and to truly care for one another.
All will be well,
Laura Gianello

Church Office Hours
The church office will have varied hours Monday - Friday, but email and voicemail will be monitored on a regular basis if you have any questions or concerns. (925) 685-2288 or