On Being a Non-anxious Presence

Mar 19, 2020 | Clergy Corner

Dear Friends in Christ,

In normal times, I think the number one job of the clergy is to be a non-anxious presence— a non-anxious presence in worship, in Bible Study, in Vestry meetings, in pastoral encounters, in fellowship, and in outreach. In abnormal times, the job description for clergy remains the same, be a non-anxious presence. With God’s help and yours, I try my best to be a non-anxious presence. Like all clergy, sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail. I confess that it is a little harder right now, in these times when anxiety production seems to be on steroids, to be a non-anxious presence. The daily rhythm of life as we know it is in severe arrhythmia. COVID-19 dominates the news, our daily conversations, our work environments, our financial stability, our relationships with friends and family, and the level of freedom we have to interact with others and be in community.

The good news is that Jesus invites us to discover a life of inner peace, of abiding faith, and freedom from anxiety and worry even when we are navigating through troubled waters. Daily prayer, exercise, reading, watching Netflix, playing an online game, and forging community with others through reaching out to those in need appropriately in this period of social distancing, and having conversations via phone, text, Facebook, Skype, and Zoom, or an old-fashioned hand written letter are ways to keep our lives in rhythm.

Remember to use our worship tool kit on the web-site. In that light, Adam and some others have presented the idea to offer daily prayer via a zoom group that we are considering. You’ll hear more about that soon. For those who are tech savvy and for those who are not, call your friends and neighbors and let them know you are holding them in prayer and find out if they have a critical need for food, or assistance so that we may reach out to them with help.

We will continue to update you as things unfold. I do not think it is advisable to move forward with cottage Eucharists for the moment, but we will revisit the possibility as things develop. Another step that I hesitated to take, but think needed to be taken, was to close the chapel to the public at least until the end of the month as a precaution against the possibility of spreading the COVID-19 virus. I want to re-open this sacred space as soon as we possibly can. We can take comfort that God is everywhere and that God hears our prayers wherever they are offered. Please call me if you have questions or concerns. May God bless you and keep you. Keep calm. Keep the faith!

A Prayer for Quiet Confidence, from the Book of Common Prayer, p. 832

O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and rest we shall be save, in quietness and in confidence shall be our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray three, to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord.




Ray Hanna
Interim Rector