Rebooting the Parish in Phases
“Jesus said, ‘This is how it is with the kingdom of God: it is as if a man went to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once for the harvest has come.”
““To live is to change, and to change often is to become more perfect.”
The church is a living thing. It is easy to forget that fact. Right now, the church is experiencing profound change. Like a plant that has been re-potted, the church finds itself in a radically changed and changing world. Nearly five years ago, Pope Francis said that the church needed to realize that, “We are not living an era of change but a change of era.”
This insight from our Pope is clear today. Our pastoral and finance councils continue to pray and reflect on the next step we should take to continue the mission that Jesus has given us to make disciples of all nations (Mt. 28:19-20). We are all reflecting on the question, “What is God asking St. Thomas More to do today and in the months to come?” This moment is important. Please join us in prayer and reflection as we move forward. Share your prayerful insights with me and other parish leadership.
One of the insights our Bishop has given us is to move forward with bold faith and prudent safety, using a phased approach based deeply rooted in the reality of our current situation. Along with other parishes in the diocese we are preparing to enter Phase 2 soon.
Rebooting Phase 1
This past weekend we began Phase 1 of the St. Thomas More reboot of our sacramental life.We were offered the opportunity to encounter Jesus in Holy Communion Outside of Mass. We served about 100 people the Body of the Lord (see the May 28 Lincoln’s Log for what to expect during Phase 1). Things went very smoothly and we could easily serve more people if you are called to attend. Right now, the projections are that we will be in Phase 1 until June 14, one more weekend. We continue to have limited office staff and hours. The church remains open from 7:30 am to 4 pm.
Phase 2 is coming
As early as June 14, we may begin Phase 2 and will be celebrating Mass with extra precautions taken to mitigate the spread of COVID 19. These precautions include continued social distancing and the use of masks during the liturgy. Our singing will be limited and we will not have our choirs. We will be allowing 25% of the occupancy limit for our worship space (and may live stream to other rooms in the building to allow more people to attend). We are optimistic that we will not need to turn many people away. Right now we believe that we will be able to safely celebrate Mass with 219 people in attendance spaced throughout the worship space, the gathering space, and the fellowship hall. Stay tuned for further details. You can view the diocesan guidelines attached as well.
There is the chance that if the virus projections change, we could remain in phase 1 or return to it in the future if prudent safety dictates, but we hope we will continue through phase 2 towards a full, safe gathering of the community.
Along with our sacramental life, other elements of our parish life are rebooting. Stay tuned as we live into this new era and discover God’s call to form disciples in new ways.
Parish Pastoral Leader