April 22, 2020

Dear Friends,

Greetings to the members of St. Paul’s.  I miss you all and I pray you are well. This message is an update with things happening at St. Paul’s.  First, there have been no cases of Covid-19 within the congregation.  Although, the list of friends experiencing the virus is growing.  Our efforts to flatten the curve continue to be successful. 

There is no schedule to lift the suspension for worship.  This decision will come from the bishop.  I imagine it is a long way away.  I also imagine we will worship in small groups, rather than having a main Sunday morning service, when we do gather again.

The food pantry is very busy.  We have experienced a spike in clients for several weeks.  My thanks go to the many volunteers who staff the pantry.  There are stringent rules about volunteering.  This includes no in-person contact with clients.  Lissa Guyton did a very nice story on 13ABC.  Please look here on the parish newsletter online for the link.

The semi-annual meeting scheduled for May 17 is postponed.  We are hoping to convene in mid-August.  However, the quorum requires 50 persons.  So, it may or may not happen in August.  The current budget expires on June 30.  Vestry is working hard to develop a budget for the remainder of the 2020.  Please note our normal history is to hold the annual meeting in February, six weeks after the new budget has begun.  Such is the same with approving a new budget in August. 

St. Paul’s has received a federal loan from the CARES-Act for $59,300.  It is called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  The purpose is to guarantee payroll for an eight-week period.  If we follow the rules, the loan is expected to be forgiven.  This turns the loan into a grant. 

Pledging at St. Paul’s has been stable.  No one has adjusted their pledge or communicated any change in intent.  Please continue to support St. Paul’s as we count on your pledge.  Of course, we understand financial hardship.  Your communication is important if you cannot meet your pledge.  Please let me or the treasurer know. 

Ministry is virtual these days.  We publish a sermon meditation and a musical offering every Sunday on the website.  Bible study will continue on Wednesdays at 7 PM using Zoom.  Additional opportunities for learning and advocacy will be added to the Sunday posts every week, so please read them closely.  These will also include links to brief Sunday School lessons and activities for families with children.  The program staff are also asking parishioners to consider meeting together virtually in small groups of a few households for prayer, Bible reading, sharing of stories, and fellowship.  Think of “Tables of 8,” but via telephone and internet, without dinner and with a spiritual component.  Simple resources will be provided, and you are welcome to choose your own groups (just let Jennifer know where to send the resources if you do).

One final note:  Beware of scammers.  No one from the church will ask you for emergency money.  There have been incidences of emails impersonating me, asking for emergency gift cards.  This is fraud.  Do not fall for it.  Call my cell and talk to me by voice.  (419) 367-6921. 

This is an unsettling time.  But it is also the season of Easter, a time to celebrate new life.  We have been given an opportunity to reflect and grow.  I encourage you to keep up with your prayers and spiritual discipline.  Don’t let your Christian Formation lapse.  We are happy to help.  Contact us.  Engage the website.  Talk to your friends.  Read.  Pray.

Happy Easter,