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Re: FW: June 12, 2020 Update from the Church of the Advent

Since I'm not sure if this made it through (I'm getting a line that says
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From the Rector
Dear Parishioners & Friends of the Church of the Advent,

Having written for the last two emails about issues which concern the wider
human family and our role as individual persons in promoting justice and
peace in society, I write today to fill you in on some in-house topics.

Re-opening of churches. As of now, the bishop’s suspension of regular
public worship continues through the end of this month. It may (or may
not!) be that he will advise churches in the diocese that they may resume
public worship – with appropriate protocols – after that date. If and when
that comes to pass, I will share with you the mechanics of such a
re-opening. We have an implementation team that is considering the guidance
that has already been given from the bishop, governor and CDC (guidance
which we will follow), but as you know, that guidance is constantly
changing. I think it entirely likely that many parishes in our diocese will
elect to continue to suspend worship for the time being. Others, with
professional cleaning staff, good traffic patterns, vast spaces may choose
to open – again with appropriate safety protocols.

These words from the Journey By Stages document from the diocese are
important here:

Context matters. The local contexts of Episcopal congregations in
Massachusetts vary greatly. We live in densely populated cities and small
towns, suburban communities, seaside and mountain resorts and rural areas.
The places we worship are varied as well: majestic buildings, small
neighborhood churches, storefronts and summer chapels. So, too, with this
pandemic, communities are affected to greatly varying degrees ... This is
not a one-size-fits-all plan for regathering. In each community and
congregation we must consider how we protect one another and our neighbors,
carry out the mission entrusted to us and offer our prayers and praises to

Just as context matters for the choices of churches, context also applies
to choices made by individual parishioners. I speak to priests all over the
United States, and I have spent many hours in conversation sharing
experiences and best practices. For those areas of the country that have
already opened up, a pastoral issue has developed that I need to address.

In some places, parishioners have felt pressured by fellow members of the
congregation to attend public worship when not ready to do so. This is
unacceptable. On the other extreme, some people have felt shamed because of
their choice to attend public worship. Sometimes it is couched in the
language of “I can’t go to church and therefore you shouldn’t go to church
either.” This too is unacceptable.

I think we will all agree that responsible adults have the ability and
right to make choices for themselves. Each person’s context will be
different; each person’s decision-making process is complex, and will
involve evaluating his or her physical health, emotional health, spiritual
health, and seeking to come to a decision that best addresses these
aspects. In the face of strongly held views on this issue, when the time
comes for opening, charity demands that we respect the autonomy of each
person. You may expect that of me, I will expect that of you, and we should
expect that of each other.

For those who cannot come to church, webcasts and Zoom offerings will

Clergy staffing. Fr Alistair Macdonald-Radcliff returned to England this
past week, and his arrival at Heathrow made the newswires (article
below). I am thankful for his service to the parish during the rector
transition, and his wise counsel to me. I hope to have him back in
residence for a time in the future.

You already know that Fr Jay James, Associate Rector, is due to retire at
the end of this month. We will have to postpone his farewell party to a
future date, but if you wish to contribute to a departure purse, you may
follow this link: https://abundant.co/thechurchoftheadvent
designating your gift in the memo line as “Fr James.” His calm pastoral
professionalism will be missed by me, and us all, but fortunately he will
be living in Boston, and I have assured him that he always has an altar
here. Normally, I would have been looking at a successor for Fr James, but
with reduced parish activity and uncertainty about the future, that process
is on hold for the time being.

I am thankful for your prayers and support, and know that you are in my
prayers as well.

Fr Douglas Anderson

On Fri, Jun 12, 2020 at 12:55 PM Ed Futcher <edfutcher gmail com> wrote:

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