I love the iconic line from the movie Cool Hand Luke, “what we have here is a failure to communicate.” Complaints about poor communication are omni-present in all organizations, especially in churches. Often these complaints are justified. Often it means that the person making the complaint didn’t avail themselves of the communication. None the less, effective communication is the life blood of healthy relationships and healthy organizations.
At St. Paul’s, we are community committed to the accessible, consistent, accurate, timely, and transparent flow of information about our life together that will enable us to grow in faith and help to meet the needs of others. Like most things, this an aspirational goal.
We have made good strides:
- Our Communications Committee has done amazing work in producing an attractive, easy to use website. They are keeping things current on social media platforms. We advertise our services in the StarNews. We publish our concert series. We livestream Sunday services. We produce a weekly e-news update from the clergy and senior warden.
- The Pastoral Care Committee sends copies of the sermon, Sunday bulletin, and hand written notes of encouragement and prayer to our shut-ins.
- The Pastoral Care Committee, Vestry, and clergy reach out to shut-ins, and to all parishioners with phone calls, and sometimes, when possible, in person.
Of course, we are committed to making our communications the best that they can be, and we welcome your thoughts and suggestions to help us strengthen communications.
Speaking of which. Many folks have heard about St. Paul’s Strategic Plan for growing in faith. Some haven’t. It is very important that everyone knows and understands what the Strategic Plan is, how and why it was developed, who developed it, what it means, and how we hope to implement it. This plan is an investment in St. Paul’s future. Its implementation will comprise the bulk of the work of the Vestry whose members have formed three teams to oversee the three areas of the plan: Facilities, Stewardship, & Human Resources. Beginning this Sunday, October 4 we will kick off the first of five Adult Formation classes on Zoom dedicated to presenting the plan, and offering opportunities for questions.
You will hear from the clergy, the members of the sub-planning Committee, and the Vestry teams. Because of the significance of this plan, we have extended formation time by 15 minutes which means that class will start at 9:15 a.m.
Please join us for these sessions via the Zoom link on our website home page. Be there. Invite others. This is a vital first step in communicating the necessity and importance of this plan for St. Paul’s to grow in faith and prepare for the future.
In the restaurant business a soft opening is defined as, “opening for a limited number of people at first to test services and make improvements.” The resumption of in-person services at St. Paul’s beginning on Sunday, October 11 is, in some sense, akin to a soft opening. In order to keep our parishioners healthy and safe, and to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we will be vigilant in following science based protocols for in-person gatherings. These protocols include limiting the number of people who can attend each service.
Both the 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services will be limited to a total of 25 people each, including clergy, musicians, ushers, lectors, and acolytes. Therefore, you will be required to make a reservation on Eventbrite using the link on the website home page to attend a service. Our 10:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist streaming service will continue as will the ministry of our Lay Eucharistic Visitors.
As Adam wrote last week, the church experience will feel a little different from that which you have been accustomed. There will be one entrance and one exit door. Signs will be posted to direct you. Access to other parts of the building, with the exception of the restrooms nearest the library, will be restricted.
When you come to church, you be required to undergo a temperature check, and wear a mask. During church, you will be expected to maintain physical distancing. Families will be permitted to sit together. There will not be any congregational singing, and the passing of the Peace is restricted to a bow, nod, wave, or peace sign. Communion will be administered in the form of bread only. The clergy will distribute Communion at the foot of the chancel steps.
Adult Formation and other meetings will continue online. I don’t know how long it will take to get back to normal, but however long it takes, we will remain faithful, trust in God, and continue the work of ministry we have been called to do in the most effective ways we can. Stay safe. Keep the faith.