May Rector's Letter
Dear Parish Family,
In this month’s Rector’s Letter, there is only one topic: how we take a big step forward together.
This Sun, May 10, we will have Mass on the lawn by the back parking lot at 9:30am. Bring your own lawn chairs and spread out as much as you like. There is room back there for hundreds of people to gather while observing all social distancing guidelines.
Let me walk you through my thought process that led to this decision:
- The Southlake Fire Department came by yesterday and let us know that at 25% capacity the occupancy of our church building is 52 people. Given that it takes at least 7 of us to lead worship, that only left 45 people being admitted into the building at a time.
- We had a cleaning crew come to disinfect the building on Sunday. It took them right about 2 hours. If we wanted to have multiple services in the church, we would need to disinfect between each of them.
- I have no idea how many people will want to come to mass at St. Laurence this Sunday. If we wanted to keep the services inside the church building, and we were anywhere close to our normal Mother’s Day attendance, we would need to celebrate 8 or 9 masses in order to comply with the Governor’s suggestion of 25% capacity.
So, it's going to be a beautiful morning. There is tons of room on our back lawn for everyone who wants to come to worship to be comfortably spread out. Bring your own lawn chairs and sit wherever you like. We will have music and the mass that we’ve all been missing—just in a very different setting. Some of you who’ve been around St. Laurence a long time will remember that it was an old St. Laurence tradition to celebrate the Ascension Day mass outside, so this is not an unknown activity for us.
The Church Is Not A Building
It's never been more obvious to me that St. Laurence is not a building. Over the past 6 weeks, the acts of love and compassion at a distance have been amazing and truly inspirational. The word “family” has never been a more apt description of who we are. As I was praying over this reality, that we are a people not a building, the idea of doing mass outdoors came to me. This is the safest way we can begin meeting again for Sunday worship and I give thanks to God that we have such a big beautiful area in the back where we can do this.
When you come this Sunday we are asking each family to sit at least 6 feet apart from the next family. We are also asking you to wear masks that cover your mouth and nose. On a normal Sunday, I give hundreds of hugs and handshakes. So, this will be hard for all of us, but at the current moment, we are asked to refrain from doing so. Please make every effort to comply with the CDC recommendations about distancing and the wearing of masks.
The Body of Christ will be distributed to the faithful this Sunday. The Bishop has asked us not to share the chalice for now. Since we’ll be outside, we’ll form lines, with proper distancing, and I will safely give communion to any who desire to receive it. Just take off your mask when you come forward to receive Holy Communion. Be assured that I will be wearing a mask as I distribute Holy Communion to minimize the possibility for any spread. I have been practicing how I can distribute Communion in a way where I don’t have to touch anybody’s hand directly. I will describe more on Sunday morning how that will work. Please be assured that I want to do everything I can for all this to be as safe as possible.
If You’re Not Comfortable
If you’re not comfortable with all of this, I respect that very much. Please know that the service will be live-streamed on saintlaurencechurch.org and from the St. Laurence Facebook page and I would ask you to pray with us that way if you feel more comfortable doing so.
Grace For One Another
When we’re together this Sunday, please remember that everyone is in a different place with all of this right at the moment. I’ve heard from lots of the Parish family over the last few days. Some people at one end of the spectrum are sure the threat level is really high and others are sure that there is little threat at all. Since we are brothers and sisters, this is a great moment for us to be really supportive of each other, and give each other lots of grace. If you feel comfortable being in very close proximity to someone else, just know that they might not feel comfortable with that at all! Maybe you’ve hugged somebody every Sunday for years…just know that some of the social dynamics may have changed in the last 6 weeks. So, please be aware of this and be sensitive to it.
God bless you all. See you on the back lawn this Sunday!
Fr. John Jordan