Dear Cathedral Congregations,
Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
This week marks a time of transition in our common life as a community of faith. In previous communications I noted May 10th as our targeted date to consider returning to our buildings. At the time of that communication, I noted the rapid pace in which things are changing. Now the May 10th target date has passed and our State Governor, The Honorable Ned Lamont has extended the stay-at home order to May 20th.
Today I write to share with you an update regarding our next steps:
- The Congregations Committee has formed an ad-hoc committee to discuss details about our future resumption of in-person gatherings. This committee, which includes lay leaders, Canon Pallares and Deacon Matthews, will advise me and join me in the decision-making process about our next steps of reopening. The work of the Committee will be informed by the guidelines provided by our bishops, included below, as well as information provided by the State of Connecticut and by science in general. Safety will remain our priority.
- At the beginning of this crisis, I consulted Bishop Douglas regarding online worship and reopening. Bishop Ian was very supportive and wise. For parishes, the Episcopal Church’s General Canons and ECCT Canons stipulate that “the authority over public worship resides in the rector/priest in charge of a congregation.” In our Cathedral’s governance structure, as noted in the Cathedral’s Constitutions and Statues, “the Bishop Diocesan delegates to the Cathedral Dean the direction of and authority over the work of the Cathedral worshipping community including the programs and liturgy of the congregations comprising the worshipping community”. Bishop Douglas empowered me to explore next steps and make the necessary decisions. Just as I do, Bishop Douglas believes that these decisions are best made in collaboration with our lay leadership. I am thankful for Bishop Douglas’ leadership style and support and for the collective wisdom of the Congregations Committee.
- We will continue our online worship at least through June 20, 2020. Bishop Ahrens encourages ECCT clergy to hold lightly (in the Buddhist sense) our expectations of resuming in-person worship. I extend the invitation to you - to also hold lightly this date. Safety for all is our main concern.
As we continue to gather virtually, please continue to keep every member of our cathedral and all those affected by this pandemic in your prayers. Our Sunday services are as follow:
- 10:00 am Morning Prayer in English with virtual choir.
- 11:00 am Morning Prayer in Spanish with virtual choir.
Our online gatherings provide a safe and pastoral space for conversations and fellowship. ECCT is providing outstanding resources and updates that may be helpful for you personally, and helpful for us as a community of faith. Please visit the website at https://www.episcopalct.org/covid-19-coronavirus-updates/
Canon Jorge, Deacon Bonnie, Tom Smith, Rose Fichera-Eagen and I continue to connect pastorally with our cathedral members through phone calls, text messages and emails. Should you have a pastoral need, please do not hesitate to contact any of us.
I am thankful to our Church Street Eats and Church by the Pond leaders Nancy Jacobs, Theresa Greaves, Mike O’Brien and Louis Ruddock for their resourcefulness and faithfulness during these challenging times. Please keep them in your prayers as they are our front liners, participating in God’s mission.
As we continue to be an active community of faith in the world, I remind you that your financial contributions are important to sustain our common work. Please send your pledges via snail mail to 45 Church Street, Hartford, CT 06103 or visit our website and donate online.
Let me conclude this note with the following collect from the Book of Common Prayer:
O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
In God’s service,
The Very Rev. Miguelina Howell, Cathedral Dean