Dear parishioners and friends of St. Dunstan's,
As we continue to live into the new reality of what it means to be a faith community right now, one of the most important things that we can do is pray with and for one another. Prayer is the glue that binds us all together, and I encourage you to share your intercessions (prayers for others) and petitions (prayers for yourself) in order that the rest of us might carry them with you. If there is a concern for which you would like prayer, please either email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or add it to this document. Your requests will be named before God in our Virtual Compline and Morning Prayer services.
In that vein, parishioners Ray Donnelly and Sue Carroll have given me permission to share the pastoral news that Ray's eldest son, D.C. Assistant Fire Chief John Donnelly, tested positive yesterday for the COVID-19 virus. Ray and Sue are, of course, worried and ask for your prayers, but they report that they are reassured by John's general good health and history of resilience. He is quarantined at home and says he is doing fine, with ample supplies and medications that have brought his symptoms under control. (He also is armed with a fresh batch of Sue's homemade cookies, which have known healing powers!)
Ray and Sue say that, typical for John, he has plans to "organize his fellow quarantined into something productive" via social media. As you may have heard in the media, the DC fire department has had several individuals test positive for the disease. John had been working 14-hour days as a part of the DC fire department leadership team, trying to keep the fire and emergency services for the city going while protecting the staff who could keep working. John has been with the fire department since 1992, and has served as Division Commander of Special Operations, Homeland Security, and the Apparatus Division, as well as a member of the Command Staff in Special Projects and Executive Officer roles.
Please hold John and his wife Germaine, as well as Ray and Sue and their whole family, in your prayers during this anxious time.
Also, parishioner Elin Botha has asked me to share the news that, because of the obvious health concerns associated with COVID-19, S.O.M.E. (So Others Might Eat) cannot accept regular donations of homemade food until further notice. This is a major loss for their organization, as S.O.M.E. relies on donated meals to feed literally thousands of our most vulnerable neighbors in the DC area. (As you may be aware, each month a number of faithful St. Dunstan's parishioners make casseroles that Elin delivers to the S.O.M.E. facility on the first Thursday of each month.) In order continue to provide for their clients during this period of modified service, S.O.M.E. asks for donations of over-the-counter medications, household items, and select food items. Their wish list, including information about making a financial contribution, may be found here. I urge all who are able to consider supporting the ministry of S.O.M.E. in some way.
Finally, in my video message today I commended an article from yesterday's New York Times entitled "Grieving the Losses of Coronavirus". I hope that you will take a couple of minutes to read this helpful piece about naming and beginning to process the inevitable grief that each of us is experiencing these days. Please also remember that your Rector is here to support you and your family as you work through the difficult emotions of this unpredictable time. No matter what, do not suffer in silence. You are not alone.
I leave you this evening with these words from Psalm 34 (as paraphrased by Nan Merrill in Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness):
May you feel God's presence surrounding you this night,
Please join us any evening at 9 p.m. for this lovely time of prayer at the end of the day. The Zoom link for Compline may be found here. Feel free to forward the link to friends near and far...the more, the merrier! (For step-by-step instructions for logging on to a Zoom meeting, please click here.)
Tomorrow (Wednesday, March 25), our weekly Bible study continues meeting online, via Zoom. If you would like to participate, please just click on
this link at 10:30 a.m.; you can choose whether to join via video or just
audio, depending on your preference. Grab a Bible (or use an online link), grab a cup of coffee or tea, and come join the conversation. Newcomers are most welcome!
Our Seminarian, Robin Reed, soon will begin offering a virtual service of daily Morning Prayer, which will be in addition to our nightly Compline. Like Compline, this short service will take place "in real time," via Zoom meeting. If you are interested in starting your day with Robin and some of your fellow St. Dunstan's parishioners in prayer, please be in touch with her directly at email@example.com so that you all can decide together on the best time to gather. Stay tuned for more information in an upcoming Daily Message!