Pastoral Letter to the ECOT Congregation – March 27, 2020

Dearest Brothers and Sisters,

We write from the Colorado High Country, situated in the mountain valley we all have come to love.  We, together with our faithful Vestry, talented staff, durable core of lay leaders and many who live here full-time, stand in place during this very challenging moment to anchor our shared congregational ministry to each other, our local community and to all of you.  As of this writing we are all well, and pray to God for your continued health, protection and safety from this virus and any other unwelcome invader!

We remind you that the people of God have been displaced throughout our shared journey down through the ages.  From famine, slavery and conquest God’s people endured exile, wilderness and captivity throughout the Hebrew Scriptures.  The fledgling Christian church endured Jerusalem’s destruction and intense persecutions as the Good News spread throughout the Roman Empire.  In fact, our Christian forebears worshipped for decades in caves, ports and homes before it was even legal to gather as believers!  Christian history is replete with multiple world wars, global pandemic, famine and enforced mass migration due to warfare, food scarcity or religious persecution.  As we face the very real and existential threat from COVID-19, the very toolbox we need to navigate these days is deeply embedded in our spiritual DNA.  Here’s our very provisional and evolving plan for Transfiguration’s ministry right now:

  1. Despite some fledging technical problems, we are forging ahead with posting a pre-recorded video worship every Sunday morning for the duration of this moment.  Due to current state restrictions and budget considerations we will be pre-recording Morning Prayer with sermon from home and posting to our Facebook and YouTube channels.
  2. We will not be gathering for Holy Week and the Easter Festival due to the state’s Stay at Home directive as well as the directive from the Office of the Bishop, a true sadness for anyone who is Christian.  We are preparing alternative ways to worship and pray at home for Holy Week and Easter Sunday, to be released early next week.  The Office of the Bishop will also offer video worship resources for our use.
  3. We will be shortly hosting Zoom platform bible studies for Monday and Wednesday Adult Bible study, and Tuesday Men’s B.I.T.E.  Please be advised if we can see and hear you unless you mute your video and audio, but we’d love to see your face and hear your voice.
  4. While we are similarly unable to physically staff the office, each staff member is working at or beyond normal capacity to support you during this time. No matter where you reside or where you are sheltered in place, we are deeply concerned about your spiritual, emotional, physical and behavioral health!  Please communicate with any of us for any reason.  Call, text or email us.  While we must be physically distanced, we need to be more spiritually connected than ever before!  We want to confront challenges of existential loneliness, anxiety, depression, confusion, anger, substance abuse and physical safety.  We want you to check in and tell us how you are.
  5. We are maintaining and updating regularly two website pages with resources for this time.  One page will contain resources such as state and county Public Orders as well as significant updates from the Office of the Bishop or from us.  Another page will contain Eagle County Public Health links, local links and information if you need help, or just ask any of us to assist you.
  6. We understand the overwhelming financial and logistical challenges this virus is visiting upon every parish household.  We are cognizant also of the stock market decline and local layoffs.  We have taken immediate steps to revise our 2020 Parish Budget to reduce operational expenses while maintaining our talented and experienced staff at the moment of our greatest need.  We have built contingency reserves over many years to help off-set any short-term income deficit, but obviously we must receive monthly income to continue functioning as a leadership congregation actively serving our entire community and also each of you.  We ask for your continued support at the level you can manage after taking good care of those you love.  We’ll figure out the rest as we go.

We understand this moment to transcend so much of the world we have inhabited for the last one hundred years.  Our concern is not politics, perception or convenience, but rather to lead a congregational family through a global pandemic affecting every part of our lives.  We sense our 2020 ministry theme Live Love to be even more profound given these challenges, and we dedicate ourselves in love to your service and support.  We love you very much and ask for your prayers, as you have our prayers every day.

With Blessings,

Father Brooks Keith                              Mother Emily Lukanich
Rector and Senior Pastor                     Vicar

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