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Lent is one of the few seasons in our lives when we are invited in a formal way to reflect on what it is like to be human, to be limited, to be mortal. So much of what the world tries to sell is eternal youth, happiness, and comfort. In the church, we know that simply isn’t true. Lent is a time to look into the corners of our souls, our families, our businesses, and our parish to see where the cobwebs are. Perhaps we need to be more in prayer, more in fasting. Maybe, we are being asked to give more of our time or our wealth to create a more just world. I’m not sure what your souls look like, but I know that mine could always use a good dusting.

~Fr. Burch

Join Us on Our Lenten Journey

Lent 2020 Update: March 18

Friends in Christ,

I’ve never been a pastor during a global health scare, and you’ve likely never attended a church that needed to avoid meeting. So, this is going to be new for all of us. Still, they don’t make churches much more clever or hardworking than St. Mark’s, so I imagine we will get through this together. The Temple in Jerusalem going way back to Biblical times was destroyed TWICE, and that didn’t stop our ancestors from praising God, so I think we have good precedent for thriving through difficult times. Likewise, St. Mark’s was already a parish during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, so these walls have seen at least one world-wide health event and are still standing. 

The following is a partial list of ways that we will be a church in diaspora for the next several weeks:

Morning Prayer: The staff, members of our community, and I will host online Morning Prayer each weekday at 9 am on Zoom, an online meeting platform. You have received an invite to the event already, and if you need the link again for some reason, contact us.

Evening Prayer: I will host online Evening Prayer each Wednesday evening at 6 pm via Zoom. This service will include a short homily.

Apocalypse Happy Hour: On Thursdays from 5-5:45 pm, I will host a time for folks online to share thoughts and feelings over the beverage of their choice. I see this tongue-in-cheek time as a place to decompress and to have some facetime with one another and with the pastor. Check your email around 4:30 pm on Thursday afternoons for the link.

One Book, One Parish Lent book discussion will continue online via Zoom. Thursday night, at 6 pm, we will discuss pages 90-144 of Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies. Look in your email for an invitation. 

Bedtime Bible Stories: Matt has been working to make short videos of Bible Stories for children at bedtime. If you want to be added to Matt’s distribution list, contact Matt

In these next weeks, you will be getting phone calls from vestry members, from me, and from other parishioners to check on you and see how things are going. Be kind to yourselves. Be kind to one another. It is a time of great uncertainty, and that stress can live in our bodies and come out in unexpected ways. Walks aren’t canceled yet, and I recommend them to you as a form of prayer. God has a lot to say when we’re walking. 

Email will continue to be the primary way that we communicate changes in the parish and in additional programming. Check it regularly for updates. 

God is mighty and full of abundance. This morning, seventeen people attended Morning Prayer online and two were visitors. Even in our difficulty, St. Mark’s was able to open its “doors” to visitors, and I intend for that welcome to continue. 

Blessings,

Fr. Burch
(Ian+)

Note from Sara:
I imagine that it’ll get confusing to manage all these different Zoom meeting invites. I hear ya! I’ve added all the invites into our calendar events. You can always find our calendar on our website or on Breeze. Just find the event you’re interested in participating in and click on the description. Your link can be found there.