Though we are in the depths of winter with the cold wind blowing and ice on the sidewalks, we also have a little bit more light each day. I think this is true for the season, and for the pandemic that continues. We are approaching a year since we all retreated into our homes, and now it seems that each day we are seeing more and more light. The vaccines are now coming, albeit slower than we all hope, and Western Pennsylvania is beginning to see a decline in our case rates. There is so much to be hopeful for, and we also are not through this yet.
After more than 20 weeks of worshiping in person through the summer and fall, at the end of November we paused in-person gatherings at St. Paul’s. In consultation with the Vestry and our Bishop, we have decided to continue the pause in person worship through Easter (April 4). This will allow us to continue to maintain the safety of our staff and congregation and allows our staff to focus their energies over the next few months. We will again consider the possibility of limited in-person gatherings in our children and youth and outreach programs. We will also continue to have drive-through communion each Sunday from 9-10AM and 12-1PM, and communion appointments in the sanctuary starting at 1PM along with no-contact Eucharistic visits.
Please watch for announcements about “take-out” and “pick up” occasions. We will have our Ashes, Lent Devotional book, Lent children and youth activities and other lent devotional items for pick-up, as well as Shrove Tuesday pancakes. This Lent we will also have two “take-out” fish fries as fundraisers for our Outreach programs.
Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter will again need to be reimagined. And I hope that we have some of the opportunities to come into the church like we did Christmas Eve. It may even be possible to do something outside, though it is a bit early for reliable weather.
This last year has clearly taught me that the church as the Body of Christ is an indelible fact; and we continue to be a community together - serving, worshiping, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ – even when we all cannot gather together in one place.
Know that Laura and I are here for you if you want to talk, vent, or pray together. Please call the St. Paul’s emergency number, 412-440-8123, if you need any assistance including if you are ill or need anything due to not being able to leave your home.
The Reverend Noah H. Evans, Rector