Dear members of the Trinity community,
I’ll admit, I’m getting more than a little tired of all this time apart from you all. I continue to pray daily for our congregation—for your health, safety, strength, and perseverance. I really want life to be back to normal, even though I recognize that the “new normal” is going to be very different for some time.
But there is some good news. The situation in New York City regarding COVID-19 is improving. As of today, four of the seven healthcare milestones that Gov. Cuomo is using to gauge New York State’s “reopening” have been met, and some others are trending positive. As difficult as it has been to close our church buildings and stay physically apart, those actions surely have helped contribute to these positive developments.
That said, there are still a lot of unknowns about the course of the virus, and everything I’m reading and the advice we’re getting indicate that it would not be safe to reopen Trinity’s churches or offices. So, I’m writing today with the news that we are extending our closure once again, until at least July 6. Moves by other institutions are in line with our decision, including our own diocese’s call for public worship to be suspended until July 1.
I would like more than anything to be able to announce a date when Trinity and St. Paul’s Chapel will reopen. We have a task force that is meeting regularly to look at and plan for how and when we can do so safely and wisely. But until we have more concrete guidance from the state and city on which organizations can open when, what gatherings will be permitted, and what will be required of us, we can’t determine a reopening date with any confidence.
On a separate but related note, I want you to know that we’re announcing to the staff today that our office building will remain closed—and we will continue to work from home—through Labor Day. While it is difficult for our staff to be apart, we are working remotely very effectively, and there is no compelling reason to bring people back into the office during the summer. This does mean that the Commons space also will remain closed into September, but we will be able to restart construction work in 76 Trinity Place in early June, as permitted under New York State guidelines. This means that when we do return to the building, construction work in the Commons should be complete.
So, I’m asking for more of your patience. With every week that passes, I’m grateful for the opportunities we have to worship online together—but it is not the same, and we all know that. I miss seeing you in the pews and sharing the Eucharist with you. I miss catching up on your lives after church on Sunday. I miss hearing our choir sing. I miss meeting in person with the Congregational Council. I miss those normal interactions that we’ve all probably taken for granted.
But I am heartened by the way we’re taking care of one another, the way we’re extending our community and finding new ways to connect with one another. When we are back together—and we will be back together—I hope we remember how we loved each other through this pandemic.
It is a good time to remember that we are still in Easter season, and that we are a people of hope and resurrection. Pray for our staff, who want to be together as much as you do. Call someone you love today, take a walk outside, and remember God’s many blessings on us all.