Abbott and Costello’s iconic comedy routine, “Who’s on first,” seems a useful metaphor to me
as I begin my ministry as your interim rector here at St. Paul’s. It is good to be here and I am grateful for your welcome and hospitality. The name tags are an outward sign of God’s grace!
I’m beginning to learn who’s who around here— endeavoring to remember your names, the web of relationships within the St. Paul’s family, the scope and focus of your ministries and
your history and lore. Eventually, I will get it all straight in my head, unlike Abbott and Costello.
I anticipate that we will have many moments of joy and laughter along the way as we love and serve God and our neighbor. While Abbott and Costello’s shtick may be funny, it also serves to remind us of the importance of communication— open, honest, transparent communication lies at the heart of healthy, lifegiving relationships between people and within communities like the church. St. Paul’s new web site is a great resource for enhancing communication. If you haven’t seen it, check it out now at https://spechurch.com. I want to commend Julie Martin and her team (Bob Crafts, Ann O’dell, Bryce O’dell Jenny Callison, Sarah Johnson, Steve Martin, Celia Blalock, Carl Samet, Adam Pierce, and Spencer Weig) for the design and implementation of this new site. It is phenomenal, attractive, and easy to use. Want to know what is happening at St. Paul’s? Click on the website, explore the ministries and activities you might want to join, and make weekly worship a priority in your faith journey.
On the website, e-news blasts, in bulletin and church announcements, and in all communications available to us, we will keep you informed about COVID-19 and the ways it impacts our life at St. Paul’s. There is much anxiety, uncertainty, and in some cases, panic about COVID-19. The Very Reverend Steve Thomason is the Dean of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle, Washington. He is also a physician. He writes, “you are much more at risk for contracting or transmitting the common flu virus than you are of coronavirus, and getting the flu vaccine will reduce the risk to you and others. In fact, you are statistically about 50 million times more likely to contract the flu right now than you are the coronavirus.” Of course, as he
suggests in his article, that can change.
Right now, I urge you to follow the advice of the CDC and the scientific community. If you are sick, stay home. Wash your hands properly and often. Refrain from shaking hands at the Peace, or when greeting the clergy if you feel more comfortable doing so. A bow or an elbow knock is an acceptable alternative and conveys as
much grace as touch. Care is taken in the handling of the bread and wine at Communion.
The clergy and Eucharistic ministers use hand sanitizers before touching the elements. Fortified wine is used and the chalice is carefully wiped which prevents germs. If you have concerns
about sipping from the common cup at Communion, refrain from intinction. Intinction presents the possibility of fingers dipping into the wine. If you do not want to share the common cup, the receiving bread alone is sufficient to receive the full grace of the sacrament.
We are diligent about best practices concerning food. Teresa Singer has composed a helpful letter regarding the safe preparation of food for parish functions.
Pray for healing and health for those infected by the virus. Pray for the scientific community as they work to develop a vaccine. Pray for a sense of calm and diligence as we deal with this challenge and take comfort in the fact that God’s power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.”