March 22, 2020
This week has been filled with ups and downs and many whirlwind changes in the way we conduct our personal and social lives. Your church has been affected as well. For that matter, so have the other churches in our Diocese. Bishop Guernsey hosted a teleconference for clergy on Tuesday to discuss the coronavirus crisis. Comments focused on churches that were closed to worship and different means being tested to have parish members stay connected. We’re all struggling but are comforted by our shared faith in the Lord. The good news is: God is good, all the time. The hope that He gives us helps us to overcome the despair and uncertainty that is currently filling the news and interrupting our daily lives and routines. As always, what we do at Immanuel is rooted in prayer. Accordingly, we are focusing for now on the following areas:
1. While we currently cannot gather together each Sunday to worship and fellowship, we are providing several alternatives. Weekly we will post the Morning Prayer service and sermon for the week. A separate email will be sent indicating how to access this post. Additionally, you can pray and read scripture in the Daily Office which you can find online at: https://www.dailyoffice2019.com. Also available for your personal prayer/devotional time are the Prayer Book services of Morning Prayer, Midday Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline with the daily appointed readings inserted. The Book of Common Prayer 2019 also has four abbreviated services of Family Prayer for use throughout the day, beginning on page 67. (Please look for updates concerning future video messages on our website).
2. Over the last week, several parishioners have asked how to keep their pledge current. You may mail your check to the church office at the following address: 1529 Old Bridge Road, Suite 103, Woodbridge, VA 22192. Please be sure to identify where you want your pledge to be posted (ex: operations, building fund).
3. All Bible studies, men’s dinner, men’s breakfast, prayer nights have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. Leadership meetings will be held using video conferencing.
4. Sunday activities for Immanuel Kids will continue to be posted on the Immanuel Kids Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/IAchurchKIDS/. These activities along with the Lenten box are not for children only. Please logon and see how you can connect with Jesus!
5. Music is an important part of worship. We are working on creating a link to both contemporary and traditional hymns for you to enjoy. Stay tuned for more information.
6. Each week you should expect a call from a parishioner who has volunteered to be part of the phone ministry. This call is meant to keep you informed on the ever-changing landscape and its impact on Immanuel’s worship. It is also an opportunity for you to connect, converse and pray with/for each other. Please let the caller know if you have special needs.
7. To help respond to some of those needs, we have volunteers ready to shop for those unable to travel to the grocery store. As other needs arise, we will be exploring appropriate responses.
8. During this time when we can’t gather as usual, you can reach out to other parishioners via email or the postal service. Think about what a ray of sunshine a letter in the mail can provide to someone who is lonely. And you will enjoy the act of connecting! You can use the December directory and randomly reach out to each other. In like manner, go through the parish directory; see about praying for someone or their family, recognizing that prayer is a great comfort to anyone suffering in times such as these.
Prince William County Schools has decided that schools will be closed until April 14. We will be developing plans for meaningful worship during Holy Week. In addition, as we try new ways to stay connected, we’ll see which one works and be alert for other opportunities the Lord might unveil for us.
I refer you to part of an earlier posting regarding:
Paul’s message, in 1 Thessalonians 4: 9-10, where he writes to the faithful in that city that: “concerning brotherly love, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more.”
The love Jesus shows us reigns at Immanuel. Look at the challenges that we’ve faced in recent years; challenges He knew would hone the spirit of His love which unites us now. And as we now know, a new rector, one of strong Bible-based faith and possessing an array of gifts that God has decided we need for the next phase of our journey, will be joining us. Thanks to God for His great love for us!
If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-477-5431. I see us emerging from this time of threatening unknowns so much stronger in spirit.