Posted by Sheila Thomasson

Wednesday Evening Lenten Services

Dear St. John’s members and friends,

This morning the pastors of St. John’s. St. Michael’s, First (Scots), First Baptist, and Holy Trinity Reformed Episcopal determined that the noon Wednesday Community Lenten services and lunches will be canceled because of the coronavirus. Each of us is saddened by the necessity of canceling these services and the fellowship they provide across our denominational lines. The next activity that the community group has scheduled is the Good Friday Stations of the Cross. Hopefully, we will be able to gather for this Lenten observance in preparation for the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord.

Of importance to many of you is the fact that St. John’s has canceled our own Wednesday evening Lenten Services and suppers. It is never an easy decision to cancel a gathering of the body of Christ for worship, but the current news from the CDC, the President, the Governor of South Carolina, and our Bishop’s office, have all led us to cancel the light suppers and the worship service. As your pastor, I am especially saddened that we will not be gathering for our Lenten times of worship and fellowship. Those informal gatherings provide us all such a wonderful opportunity to share our love for each other and for the Lord as we break bread together. So, please make note of the fact that Wednesday night’s services have been canceled for the remainder of Lent.

You are probably asking “What about Sunday services?” Your Vestry is currently discussing the situation and the risks. On the one hand, there is the desire to provide worship to those who are healthy and least at risk for the coronavirus. On the other hand, we don’t want to take the chance of exposing anyone to the virus for any reason. We are additionally exploring possible ways to provide worship experiences and devotional moments without having the person to person contact that could place a person at risk. This Thursday evening your Vestry will meet to make a decision about canceling worship services for a period of several weeks, as well as how an alternative worship experience or devotion could be made available to you. Dr. John Gnann has been invited to be present with us to help lead our discussions. I will report the decision of the Vestry to the congregation immediately after the meeting Thursday night. My best guess is that our decision will be to err on the side of caution in order to protect our members and the community.

In closing, I want to assure you that I and your leadership team is taking this situation confronting us very seriously. I ask you to join us in praying for the health of everyone throughout the world. Let us pray for the healing of all those affected. Let us pray for our students who are missing school, for workers who have been sent home, for those whose plans for rest and relaxation have been canceled or interrupted. Let us pray for God’s hand to rest upon us and all His world. And in the absence of formal worship opportunities, let us bow before our Lord and thank him for his presence with us through every trial and tribulation. Remember, our God is a good and gracious God. That has not changed.

I look forward to communicating with you again this Thursday evening regarding our worship schedule. Until then, stay safe and take care of yourself.

Your servant in Christ,

Pastor Butler +