March 12, 2020

As they say, what a difference a day makes!  With the current Eagle County COVID-19 virus confirmation count rising from 4 cases yesterday, March 11th, to 11 cases today, March 12th, Public Health and Environment Director Heath Harmon today issued a “Standing Public Health Order Related to Events.”  The order proscribes any county gathering of more than 50 participants, specifically detailing churches and congregational gathering in the “Events” definition of the Order.  Please read it here.  We do not know the duration of this Order but it remains in force until rescinded. Bishop Kym Lucas has also just published a pastoral letter asking all Colorado Episcopal congregations to suspend public worship beginning March 22nd but specifies mountain counties like Eagle County beginning this weekend.  Please read it here.  Church and state agree. Therefore, reluctantly, we must declare a Sabbath Sunday this Sunday, March 15th until at least March 29th and perhaps longer.  The goal is a simple one: to keep us socially distanced to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, thus preserving precious emergency medical beds for those most in need as we strive to flatten the infection curve of this invader and protect the most vulnerable amongst us.

Bishop Kym’s request covers all church gatherings so all weekly studies, Children’s Ministries and Youth Ministry activities, the Beaver Creek Tuesday eucharist, the Prayer Shawl group and end of the month Bingo will not meet the remainder of March and perhaps beyond.  Therefore, we will work harder to provide other means of enjoying our congregation in a suddenly more intensive Lenten season: sermons on our YouTube channel for the Sundays we cannot be together (available here), pastoral calls, my daily Lenten Reflections which I hope more of you might now include in your daily reading (available here), Lent Madness (available here), and various prayer resources we will be sending along.  We and our staff members stand ready to assist you, listen to you, and see you (from a 6 feet distance!) during this time, and we want to hear from you by voice, text and email please!  Our website features on-line giving options which we ask you to remember so we can continue to serve and be ready to return to full schedules quickly as soon as these restrictions lift.

We are and will be a congregation through this evolving health crisis.  Any of us can pick up or download a 1979 Book of Common Prayer and join the great throng of believers throughout the world who come to church through their prayers and not their feet.  The Prayer Book is a tremendous resource from which to draw much comfort as we now live love a different way.  Even now, especially now, take care, be safe, live love and may the Peace of the Lord be always with you!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

The Reverend Stuart Brooks Keith III               The Reverend Emily Lukanich
Rector and Senior Pastor                                    Vicar