Dear members of the Trinity community,
Happy Easter, everyone! I hope you were able to take strength from our Holy Week services and feel a sense of community, even though we were apart. And I hope you are feeling the joy and promise of the Easter season even during this strange and difficult time for all of us. I continue to miss you and pray that you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy.
I’m writing today to let you know that we have decided to extend the closure of Trinity’s offices and church buildings again, until June 1. While there are some signs of progress that the spread of the coronavirus is being contained, it has become clear that we will not be ready or able to reopen on May 4. Gov. Cuomo’s announcement yesterday extending the shutdown in New York State until May 15 confirms that’s the right decision.
The good news is that we are starting to think about, and plan for, our eventual return to our churches and office buildings. As you know, Gov. Cuomo and others are working on guidelines to “reopen” the economy, and we are paying close attention to those plans. There is much we don’t know yet – when gatherings will be permitted, and of how many people; what social-distancing measures might still be in place and for how long, for example.
What we do know is that we won’t be going back to “normal” anytime soon, and it’s best that we start preparing ourselves for that. While I would love nothing more than to throw open the doors of the church and invite everyone in, that is extremely unlikely. We may be required to limit the size of gatherings in the church for some period of time; we don’t know what sharing Eucharist will look like; we don’t know what activities will be possible or practical for the congregation to host. I’ve asked Mother Beth to work with our staff and congregational leaders to identify and address as many potential scenarios as we can, and as we develop plans, we’ll share them with you. But I will ask for your continued patience and understanding as we make our way through this uncharted territory. Our first priority is to protect the health and safety of all of you, while keeping our community together in prayer and worship.
The other good news is that our virtual gatherings are absolutely life-giving. While I know that attending online prayer and Bible study isn’t the same as being together, you all continue to find ways to worship creatively, be with one another, and deepen your faith. We will be a stronger, even more loving community for having supported one another during this tough time.
Alleluia, Christ is risen! Take hope and encouragement from our Easter story, take strength from one another, and take good care of yourselves and your loved ones. I miss and love you all, and wish you God’s peace.